Archives for June 2010

Wallspace With Permission – Austin’s Untapped Canvas

After last night’s public briefing on the boardwalk design, i rounded the corner at city hall and noticed a painted wall with the website “”. This morning I checked them out, and was delighted to discover what Placing Routes is about.

idea —> proposal —> permission —> realization

simply put, the business owner has a wall/space and the artist has an idea/concept. from there, a mural, a sculpture, a piece of art is born.

CASH mural at Wahoos. This awesome pic is from Austin Texas Daily Photo

Artists paired with buildings.  Have an artistic idea for a wall space?  Artist or building can bring an idea to the table.  Take permanence off the table, and you open up a world of opportunity, especially in downtown Austin.

A few years back, I helped to launch Wallspace Media, an advertising company that did this with projection.  We obtained permission to utilize wallspace, and did our thing.  You see this with graffiti artists, too, who developed the concept of “permission walls”.  Walk down E 5th, and across from Cafe Mundi you’ll see a massive amount of artwork on the back of an aging warehouse.  All done with permission.

As you walk around town, you’ll notice the potential for this.  Stark surfaces everywhere have the potential to bring vibrancy to the community, and energy to those who see it.

Boardwalk Public Briefing

There’s lots of discussion and unanswered questions about the proposed Boardwalk in Lady Bird Lake.  This is your chance to become more informed. June 22, 2010 – Parks and Recreation Board, in the Boards & Commissions Room (1011), City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St. beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Downtown Austin Open Houses

downtown Austin open house listings for Sunday, June 20th

  1. 710 Colorado St, Brown Building #3i 1bd/2ba $367,000 12-2pm [Urbanspace]
  2. 603 Davis St, The Shore condos #1603 2bd/2.5ba $640,000 11-2pm [Urbanspace]
  3. 54 Rainey St, Milago Condos PH #2 2bd/2ba $890,900 1-3pm [Urbanspace]
  4. 54 Rainey St, Milago Condos PH #5 2bd/2.5ba $499,900 1-3pm [Urbanspace]
  5. 800 W 5th St, Austin City Lofts #505, 2bd/2ba $530,000 2-4pm [AvenueOne]

When you’re done with the open houses, you can enjoy an afternoon on Lady Bird Lake by renting a canoe or kayak from at the Texas Rowing Center. Or, dine al fresco at Annie’s Cafe on Congress Ave for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Make sure to download my transactional report from May (registered members only) and discuss with a Realtor who lives and works in downtown Austin.




Part 2 of 2 Parts (click here to read Part 1 – The Overview of the project and its design)

1. It is not a “boardwalk”. Look closely. It is an elevated concrete human highway. 14-feet wide, 6-feet above the water, up to 70 feet out from shore. Built of concrete and steel. Out over the open waters of our beautiful and naturally pristine lake/river.

Existing LBL Trail in front of Hyatt Hotel

2. Cheaper alternatives exist. Either fully on land, closer to land, or a combination of both. With specifications that start with the minimum specs of the existing Trail: the Hyatt Regency segment, 5 to 6 feet wide, between the First Street and Congress Avenue bridges. This CAN be built across nearly the entire 1.2 mile stretch. For far less cost. However the necessary analysis and conceptual design work has never been done. The necessary conversations have never been had.

3. The “full project cost” could actually be over $20 million. Nearly $4.3 million has already been allocated toward consultants and design over the past two years out of existing city budgets of which $2.4 million has been spent or obligated to date. Plus the $16 million more now sought for construction. All for 1.2 miles of roadway. This road should be paved with gold.

Existing LBL Trail pedestrian crossing over Longhorn Dam

4. This project does not “complete” the trail gap. It will lead users east along the shoreline to the Longhorn Dam. That dam has a narrow and dangerous sidewalk crossing – where two strollers can barely pass each other over the Dam – alongside heavy traffic flow on Pleasant Valley Road. Clearly a “Pfluger-style” pedestrian bridge needs to be built parallel to the west side of the dam. A very expensive bridge. Then there is another “gap” on the North Shore around the former Holly Power Plant. Those segments? Not addressed.

5. The cleverly packaged and named “Boardwalk” is itself a hazardous solution for the need it is trying to fill and the improved safety it is attempting to yield. True, the existing sidewalk-based trail routing along Riverside Drive has a challenging crossing at IH-35 and some close proximity to road traffic. Interestingly, though, no ped-bike-vehicle accidents statistics have ever been produced. Folks know they must be very careful getting through there. But the 14-foot wide Boardwalk over-design intentionally promotes high-speed, two-abreast, bicycle traffic…in two directions…out over the open river waters…in direct conflict with pedestrians, strollers, wheelchairs, dog-walkers, and others who would also be on the same pathway. There is nowhere to jump out of the way of danger. There is no easy way to reach injured parties. There is no shade out in the open water.

Some folks have been asking how this project came to be?  Good question.  Please read on…

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