Downtown Austin Car Share – Smart Car Pilot Program

How do you increase parking?  Shrink the cars, of course!

How do you increase parking? Shrink the cars, of course!

Daimler will partner with the City of Austin to operate a car-share pilot program, Mayor Will Wynn announced yesterday morning.

From the Statesman:

“The city will set aside urban-core parking spaces for 200 of Daimler’s “Smart” cars. Rather than paying for the spaces, Daimler will let city employees use the cars for a number of hours that’s equal to the monetary value of the spaces. (That amount hasn’t been determined yet; it will be negotiated over the next few weeks, city officials said.)…The program will start in October and run for six months. Daimler will pay for fuel, maintenance and insurance during that time, said the city’s transportation director, Robert Spillar.”

The car share program is a proven model in many cities, and the Smart Car program specifically is already smashing success in Germany.  Austin mayoral city council candidate Chris Riley is responsible for Austin Car Share – a small but well utilized car share program in Downtown Austin.

Thanks to Austin Contrarian for picking up on this story.





Austin Medical School Courtesy of Carole Strayhorn?

Here is an intriguing idea courtesy of Carole Strayhorn!

1) Build a medical school, 2) enhance the medical/bio-tech industry in Austin, 3) create jobs, 4) create revenue for the city.

“This Council Spent $2.3 Billion for Biomass Energy in Nacogdoches. For less than half that cost, we could build this medical school, create $1.5 billion a year in revenue, and create 14,400 permanent jobs.”

If built in close proximity to Brackenridge, which I assume it would be, this could bring much needed life to the northeastern quadrant of downtown Austin.

Refreshingly, this makes good sense.

[link]





A Vision For Austin Rail

Imagine you work in Austin, but you live in San Antonio.  Rather than enduring Interstate 35 each morning, in a more perfect world you would have a rail system that drops you off into a downtown terminal.  Imagine if our city leaders could design a “Grand Central” of Austin.  This short homemade video makes Austin appear to be an international city.  It’s incredible to see the city come into view.

These days CapMetro can’t seem to tie its own shoes.  I do hear Amtrak is getting stimulus money, though.

link [via skyscraperpage]





DAP phase II approved!

Great news!  According to our knowledgeable members of DANA, the vote passed 7 – 0 this morning.  Laura Morrison moved to postpone the vote but there was no 2nd.

Just in from the ABJ

“The Austin City Council approved a a professional services agreement with San Francisco-based Roma Design Group for planning services to complete the Downtown Austin Plan.”





City Council to Vote on Phase Two of Downtown Austin Plan

On today’s city council agenda, item #4 is a vote to fund phase two of the Downtown Austin Plan.  The city and downtown Austin stakeholders have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and money to design a downtown befitting a world class city.

Laura Morrison, Lee Leffingwell, and Mike Martinez are expected to align themselves against downtown.  After all, if you study the Statesman you’ll realize that it’s en vogue to hate on downtown.  Though, these council members will vote against downtown under the guise of fiscal responsibility.

Dont’ be fooled!

Politically they are posturing themselves to support a comprehensive plan for the city.  Something that could take years, will certainly require more expensive consultants, and just as easily could be thrown out as they seem to want to do with the Downtown Austin Plan.  The City’s shelves are thick with research studies and improvement plans which have never been implemented.

I hope I’m wrong.  We should know by lunchtime how each council member voted.





Waller Creek Tunnel – council approves budget for engineering review

Waller Creek Tunnel project inches forward.  According to the ABJ, “Austin City Council approved an agreement with Austin-based H.R. Gray to provide engineering services for the Waller Creek Tunnel project.  The contract amount is up to $300,000.  H.R. Gray will conduct an engineering review of the Waller Creek Tunnel project’s design and construction plans.”

Baby steps.





Bill Spelman

The light is shining bright on Downtown Austin, at least as much as city council place 5 is concerned.  Bill Spelman is running, unopposed, for Austin city council place 5.  Spelman, professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, is also the chair of the Waller Creek Citizens Advisory Committee and an advocate for the Waller Creek Tunnel Project.

Perhaps even more relevant to Downtown Austin’s interests is Spelman’s curriculum vitae includes research in criminal justice, police operations, prison policy, and urban economic development.

Go Bill!





DANA elects new leadership

DANA elects new leadership

DANA Urban Core Happy Hour

Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association DANA

If you live in Downtown Austin, or have an interest in its growth, then you should consider joining DANA.   The Downtown Austin Neighborhood Assocition recently transitioned its leadership team.  Outgoing President Marshall Jones remains on the board, while Jamie LaGarde takes his new role as President.  Marshall has been President of DANA for the past two years.  This is a tireless and, often, thankless job.  Of course, these positions are volunteer without pay.  Marshall always had the ability to approach political challenges with grace and class.  I can comforatbly speak for all DANA members when I thank him for his commitment to making DANA the knowledgeable, influential, and social organization it is today.  With over 1,000 members and growing, Marshall and the presidents that preceded him can be proud of what they’ve created.

Leaving the board is Jim Furrow and Michael McGill, though each will remain active DANA members, and you can expect they will continue to be vocal stakeholders in the Downtown community.

Welcome the new DANA Board:

Jamie LaGarde – President (Austin City Lofts)
Roger Cauvin – Vice President (Plaza Lofts)
Randy Hammelman – Treasurer
Lindsay Wiebrand – Secretary (Gables West)
Larry Schooler (404 Rio Grande)
Bill McCann (360)
Greg Anderson (360)
Josh Allen
Will Steakley (360)
Jude Galligan *your’s truly* (Sabine on 5th)
Marshall Jones (Five Fifty 5)
David Weaver (Plaza Lofts)
Shayama Golden (Railyard)





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