Archives for April 2010

Two Bike Boulevards! Draft Released

Two Bike Boulevards! Draft Released

“The staff recommends that both Rio Grande Street and Nueces Street together, in the northwest district of the downtown, be designated as the Downtown Bicycle Boulevard with no traffic calming tools implemented on Nueces Street.”

Two streets, rather than one, could receive improvements to facilitate the mobility of bikes and cars.  City Staff heard the massive amount of discussion about Rio Grande being a better option.  According to the memo to Council (pdf), Rio Grande currently carries 24% less traffic than Nueces.

After the comments by Rob D’amico and the League of Bicycle Voters, it was easy to be discouraged that the eventual proposal would be too watered down.  Now, we have the actual proposal – thick with feedback from all stakeholders.  As someone that lives and works downtown Austin, and having read through the draft, I’m happy with the recommended improvements.  A few highlights:

Rio Grande:

  1. Parking in front of Wahoos would become “back in” angled parking
  2. New hike and bike bridge over Shoal Creek @ 4th Street
  3. Parking along Rio Grande remains largely unchanged
  4. An array of traffic circles, medians with speed cushions, speed cushions, and pedestrian curb-extensions

Nueces:

  1. Great Streets from 3rd to 7th on Nueces.
  2. Install sharrows from 7th to 13th
  3. Replace parking on one side of the street with enhance bicycle lanes.

The recommended speed limit through out the project is 25mph.  Slower is better, IMO, and hopefully the proposed round-a-bouts on Rio Grande will help improve traffic flow, compared to the stop signs currently there.

In summary, these recommendations are light touches.  This isn’t an expensive project.  This will not be a promenade, and it was never intended to be that way.

-Jude

Social Cycling In Downtown Austin

Kudos to these guys for last week’s successful fund raising campaign. Those funds will go towards rides like this. The first ride is called “Taste of Downtown” and will meet up this Saturday at 1:30 at BoConcept.

Austin on Two Wheels is teaming up with Keith Byrd from Social Cycling ATX to put on the Discover the City on Two Wheels Spring Urban Living Ride Series. We will be offering three exceptional social rides in April that highlight the best of what Austin has to offer: Taste of Downtown Tour, Pampered Pedal Ride, and Boggy Creek Farm Picnic Ride.

These rides are part of the test for a new concept bike store in Austin dedicated to the simple pleasure of riding with friends, not competition or workouts. In addition to these unique rides, we will have some great Dutch bikes and cargo bikes to test ride while you’re there. We’ll be giving away some gift certificates from cool local business to participants who help us with feedback on this project plus everyone who gives us feedback will be entered into a drawing for an Electra Amsterdam Royal 8 at the end of the series.

All rides will leave from our ride host BoConcept at 430 W 2nd St.

Shoal Creek Walk Moves Through Planning Commission

Rendering of Shoal Creek Walk

Schlosser Development’s Shoal Creek Walk concept, to be located where a large surface level parking lot currently exists, has agreed to include an affordable housing component (in addition to $2.3MM in green-scaping concessions) in order to receive the Planning Commission’s recommendation for a height variance to 350 ft.  The building is intended primarily as an office tower, but has included 90 residential units at the top.  Schlosser may pay a $3 per foot (for all area greater than 687,000 ft) fee in lieu of actually building the affordable dwellings.

Picture Of The Day

This amazing photo is by LoneStarMike at SkyscraperPage

ANC Gives Greenlight To Developers?

California builder OMG proposes parking/condo tower on West Lynn

In a rare move, it seems the Austin Neighborhood Council has blessed a new residential tower at West Lynn and 12th.  Sources indicate that the “Anawo” tower will replace Nau’s Enfield Drug store, and will be the first of it’s kind for Clarksville.  A spokesperson for the California based builder, OMG, says: “The neighbors are our partners.”

The proposed tower is part of a category of buildings often called “parking farms” because of the extreme parking density.  A site plan submitted to city staff indicates the 12 story tower will consist of 10 levels of parking garage capped with 2 levels of office condos.  “The entire structure is designed with mobility in mind – a parking ratio of one space for every one-hundred feet of office space is a testament to our commitment to include the feedback we received from stakeholders.  You’re going to be able to park your Prius next to your neighbor’s Prius next to their neighbor’s Prius, and so on.”

Anawo tower will require a variance to achieve the desired height of 120 feet, however ANC’s support is expected to find sympathetic ears on the City of Austin Planning Commission which will hear from OMG next Tuesday.

Demolition work on Nau’s could be complete by July.