Archives for September 2013

Big Changes Coming to Guadalupe & Lavaca

Big Changes Coming to Guadalupe & Lavaca

There’s so much chatter about transportation projects that have varying degrees of reality, it’s hard to keep track sometimes.

One of those projects is coming online in the very near future and going to have big impacts on the downtown transportation grid.

Starting next year, the right most travel lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca will become the Transit Priority Lanes for the MetroRapid busses. Vehicles in these lanes will be restricted to transit vehicles and cars making right turns.

Notably, in addition to the new MetroRapid busses, all the bus transit will be diverted to those streets from Congress Avenue, which will pay dividends for drivers on Congress and also significantly improve the pedestrian environment – the latter that I predict will catalyze more sidewalk and pocket park cafes along Congress.

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Patio Perfect – How to Make The Most of Your Downtown Austin Condo’s Balcony Space

Patio Perfect – How to Make The Most of Your Downtown Austin Condo’s Balcony Space

I will admit, my patio here at The Shore Condos has not been top of mind lately.  With our condo facing west (read: pretty much useless from afternoon until the sun goes down), and the Austin summer heat being so crazy, I don’t actually spend much time out there.

Now, with fall coming up, I’m starting to give real thought on maximizing our outdoor space.

I envision Saturday mornings with fresh coffee and scones, reading the paper.  Or, fall evenings enjoying the view and a beer with friends.  Or, maybe, we put the patio to real use and do a small outdoor herb garden.  Or, maybe we can do ALL of these things!  So many choices, so little space!

To give you an idea of the space I’m trying to maximize: we are working with a 10 ft long, 4 ft deep patio space.  And some of that really can’t be used (about 3 ft x 4ft), because we have a door that swings outward into the patio.  So, really about 7 ft x 4 ft.

I’ve done some online research, and the advice for maximizing balcony space seems to generally be universal:

  1. Add seating that is scaled to the size of your patio.  A good example is the “Bryant Park Chair”.
  2. Keep items lightweight, mobile, and if possible, dual purpose (seating with storage, for instance).
  3. Use bold colors
  4. Make use of plants, but try to keep planting vertical.  The Great Outdoors on S. Congress is your friend!
  5. Avoid clutter
  6. Add an outdoor rug or other textile to cover exposed concrete.

Below are some pictures that have given me inspiration:




We’re really interested to see is how some you high-rise dwellers are decorating YOUR balconies!  I know that I can’t be the only one who is having or who has had this challenge.  I would LOVE to see some reader patios / balconies – feel free to post in the comments.

Public Art and Austin Floods

Public Art and Austin Floods

I recently wrote a little blurb on The People’s Gallery, a project that’s part of the Art in Public Places program by the City of Austin’s Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services department.  I’m a fan of the program, and think these types of City projects and programs help to make our city great!

That’s why I’d like to continue, from time to time, highlighting these little gems of public works in Downtown Austin. Today’s piece, I’m embarrassed to say, just came into my purview, even though I’m an almost daily runner of Lady Bird Lake’s 3 mile loop.

I happened to notice it the other day, and thought I’d share some shots of the work, particularly since they highlight some history of the lake and Austin.  The piece is done by Deborah Mersky and is called [Read more…]