WCCAC was just emailed a site plan for the I-35 Makeover. You’ll recall this project has been lingering for years, but was formally approved and funded this past April. We knew the parking layout would change, and now we have a better idea of what to expect.
Is this simply putting lipstick on a pig? Yes, and it’s about time. Any improvement that helps encourage the pedestrian connection between East Austin and downtown Austin is a worthy endeavor.
Ryan Cox says
How depressing. What an utter and stupid waste of resources. How about using those hundreds of thousands of dollars on something useful? I agree that place is like a giant deadzone, and it’s hideously ugly and unpleasant, but honestly, short of completely dismembering I-35, anything else is going to be purely cosmetic. I-35 will be Austin’s albatross until the city council finally decides to re-route it around the city, and then, at the very least, rip down that god-awful upper deck. I know that’s never gonna happen, because it’ll cost billions, and because it’s Austin, but a boy can dream. I do, however, really like the idea of making the best of a terrible situation and making a food-cart destination out of it. That might work.
Fred Schmidt says
Not only is this supposed to be functionally better, but it’s also designed to be NICE. If you want to see this little passageway used big time, just check it out next SXSW. I was amazed by the explosive growth in SXSW parties and events on the Eastside — for blocks and blocks, wide and deep. Literally thousands of people were streaming back and forth through this E6th pipeline. I think the trailer-food court idea could be insanely powerful if properly permitted, aggregated, presented and publicized as an actual destination (model the food area on SoCo or at ACL Fest).
Kevin Miller says
This will be a nice stop-gap until that awful apocalyptic day, years from now, when Austin finally gets its own version of the Big Dig. (I might just leave Austin for a decade until that’s done.)
The plants, lights and new parking arrangement look great. How about locating a business under there–like a bike shop or rentals, some trailer snow cone or food place, or even putting a segway tour place there? Without some new presence, I don’t see how it will change. Timed lights for pedestrian crossings at 6th, 7th and 8th would be nice too–maybe that’s already part of the plan.
Jude Galligan says
Great point, Andy. Make this a destination trailer-food-style, and you’ve got instant connectivity between east and downtown Austin.
However, it’s my understanding that the ministry food service that’s provided every weekend is technically illegal (something to do with TxDOT right of way). Please correct me if I’m wrong about this.
I think this is fantastic. We need more of this joining of East and West Austin. This is a great place to start since there is already so much on East-East 6th and 7th that you can walk to.
I think while an obvious improvement, the fact that it is under a freeway and parking will always be detriments to this area. Really overly done powerful lighting would help as well.
I guess every downtown needs a seedy place to buy drugs and find transient hookers to take home and dismember. ( at least ours just got a make-over!)
Jude Galligan says