Stories by Ryan Thornton

Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Council seeks $5 million for park facilities and trails

As it heads into next week’s budget hearings, City Council is searching for ways to add millions in programs and services to a proposed budget that is already nudging up against the 3.5 percent property tax increase cap Council committed…

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Council talks six-month delay for bulk of police budget reform

As City Council struggles to comprehend what it would mean to cut approximately $100 million from the Austin Police Department’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21, Council members are floating a temporary fix: approve half of the department’s budget during next…

Monday, August 3, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

City to loosen enforcement on food donation charities

Covid-19 has increased food insecurity across Travis County while creating further operational complications for local food banks, soup kitchens and other charitable feeding organizations. To help meet the rising demand, the city is looking to remove some of its structural…

Thursday, July 30, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Council advances St. Johns site redevelopment

After over a decade of holding on to the vacant St. Johns site in Northeast Austin, City Council has moved to rezone and open bids for redeveloping the 19-acre property into a mixed-use, mixed-income residential neighborhood and community space.The property…

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Council, Capital Metro settle on Project Connect investment with anti-displacement measures

City Council and the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors have landed on an 8.75-cent tax rate election as the best tool to fund the bulk of the Project Connect mass transit system as well as a variety of…

Monday, July 27, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Council members consider merits of separate safe mobility bond

Responding to a concerted push from local mobility advocates, City Council has opened up the discussion about placing active mobility funds on the November ballot alongside the $7 billion-$10 billion public transit system Project Connect.Five weeks ago, a coalition of…

Thursday, July 23, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro offers alternative investment timeline for Project Connect vision

Since June 10, when City Council endorsed the $10 billion Project Connect system, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been considering which of the transit components is most essential for an initial investment to place before voters in November.“Every city,…

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro board OKs MetroBike partnership for bus-oriented bike system

The city’s B-cycle program is set for expansion and rebranding this fall with the rollout of MetroBike, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s concept for an integrated bike-share and public transit system.The Capital Metro Board of Directors approved the MetroBike co-management…

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro to link transit trips with personal payment accounts

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority ticket-based fare system is due for an upgrade. Currently it lacks the flexibility to offer benefits like fare capping while encouraging more points of contact between customers and bus operators than contactless account-based ticketing can…

Monday, July 20, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro to bring fleet electrification experts on board

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority has purchased 12 electric buses this fiscal year, half of which have been delivered to the electric bus yard under construction at the North Operations facility. With the other six scheduled to arrive in the…

Thursday, July 16, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro committee favors contract outfitting transit vehicles with modern surveillance systems

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Operations, Planning and Safety Committee voted Wednesday in favor of a nearly $3 million contract with Luminator Technology Group to install real-time video recording systems on the 272 vehicles not yet using the surveillance system.“The…

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Austin Transportation announces plans for three new Healthy Streets for safe active mobility

Over the next two weeks, the Austin Transportation Department will set up sawhorses and signage for three new Healthy Streets corridors for the second batch of the program, adding to the city’s five existing street segments for socially distanced active…

Friday, July 10, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

City prepares ordinances to tap brakes on reopening and slow virus spread

City Council approved two ordinances Thursday intended to bring local businesses into compliance with regulations near to Phase 1 of Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening plan.“We can’t take the foot off the gas – we are not clear of this yet,”…

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

TxDOT anticipates ‘meaningful alternatives’ to I-35 expansion in upcoming public input process

Despite the sharp drop in local traffic, renewed interest in teleworking policies, and major upsets to transportation revenue streams, the Texas Department of Transportation has no intention of rethinking the need for a $6.6 billion expansion of Interstate 35 through…

Thursday, July 2, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Austin Public Health addresses testing equity with walk-up friendly mobile testing sites

Around 11,000 Covid-19 tests were conducted by Austin Public Health, Austin Regional Clinic and CommUnityCare last week, but demand is rising fast and drive-thru testing sites are being overwhelmed.To manage the situation, Austin Public Health is now directing testing resources…

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

City offered free DNA analysis of remains exhumed in Oakwood Cemetery chapel project

Years of analysis have revealed little information about the human remains of 36 bodies discovered buried beneath the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel in November 2016. Now a potential academic partnership between the Parks and Recreation Department and a biological anthropologist at the…

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Without rapid behavior change, city heads for stage 5 shutdown

After a record number of Covid-19 cases reported over the weekend, the city is urging residents to comply with requirements for social distancing, personal hygiene and wearing masks over the July 4 weekend in an effort to avoid pushing the…

Friday, June 26, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Austin Transportation promises more community engagement with new Healthy Streets

The Austin Transportation Department is reviewing six new Healthy Streets candidates for the program’s second batch of streets open for safe, socially distanced bicycling, walking and rolling.Since the program’s rollout, the department’s Director Robert Spillar said the Healthy Streets team…

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro prepares a budget for recession, another for quick recovery

With the economy in recession and regional unemployment high, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority is preparing to keep spending flat next fiscal year, equal to this fiscal year’s $403.7 million budget, in the event that revenue sources don’t see a…

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

City departments propose centralized trash cleanup effort to keep creeks clean

The city has taken a first look at trash in creeks and identified illegal dumping, littering, large public events and homeless encampments as the four primary sources of trash ending up in city waterways.In a cross-departmental background report posted last…

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