Stories by Ryan Thornton

Thursday, March 21, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Debate over rezone gets in the way of voluntary annexation deal

A decision by the Zoning and Platting Commission Tuesday to push a zoning case hearing back to April could jeopardize an opportunity for the city to annex a 42-acre lot south of FM 2222. The heavily wooded property, east of…

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Higher fines for bikes and scooters raise questions of equity at UTC

Now that the Austin Transportation Department has decided to take extra time to consider feedback on three of its dockless mobility policy proposals, City Council will only be considering the department’s proposed changes to Chapter 12-2 of the city code,…

Thursday, March 14, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Indigent defense work group gets new chance to find common ground

Yielding to the expertise of Amanda Woog, chair of Travis County’s indigent legal services work group, the Commissioners Court swiftly appointed two private defense attorneys to the group during its voting session Tuesday afternoon. Local attorneys Paul Quinzi and Michael…

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

County ready to consider options for designated behavioral health authority

After bouncing the idea around for several months, Travis County is ready to start exploring options to dedicate a local behavioral health authority as an overlay to its existing local mental health authority under Integral Care. The local behavioral health…

Monday, March 11, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City to consider franchise model for dockless mobility

Austin Transportation has been steadily slowing the stream of dockless units coming into the city and is now considering a 50 percent cut to the number of dockless mobility operators licensed to deploy their scooters and bikes. In a presentation…

Friday, March 8, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

ASMP caught between pedestrian safety and need for speed

The city is promoting an everyone-wins approach to mobility in which maintaining, expanding and even adding car lanes is considered compatible with dramatically increasing use of other transportation modes per capita and cutting the number of annual traffic deaths and…

Thursday, March 7, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Eckhardt delivers State of the County address

Like the Wonder Woman mug of tea sitting on the podium before her, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt says Travis County is filled to the brim. With an unprecedented number of infrastructure projects in line for construction, a contentious array of…

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

County indigent defense grant still on the table

Austin is currently the largest city in the country with no traditional public defender office. Travis County wants to change that, but efforts so far have been unraveled by personal and political disagreements within the Indigent Legal Services work group,…

Monday, March 4, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City electric water heating restrictions not plugged in to affordability, climate reality

The Joint Sustainability Committee is asking the city to reconsider an outdated prohibition on electric water heating as part of the upcoming code rewrite process. The committee passed a resolution Feb. 27 claiming the prohibition is a barrier to affordability…

Friday, March 1, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

ASMP roadway project strikes a nerve

The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan is already causing a stir in the community since being released Feb. 22. After a two-year process that allowed residents to comment on potential corridor projects, a handful of community members feel ignored by the…

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Sendero misses enrollment target but breaks even

After Central Health’s board of managers gave up on Sendero Health Plans with a vote to disband the health maintenance organization on Sept. 12, 2018, a final effort to leverage more federal dollars has managed to save the nonprofit from…

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

New downtown rail station to break ground early April

After carving away the excess from Downtown Station plans in January, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a construction contract of $36,865,160 to Austin-based firm Jay-Reese Contractors Inc. at its Feb. 25 meeting. Jay-Reese was one of three firms to respond…

Monday, February 25, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

ASMP is here to guide the multimodal path to 2039

The city of Austin is inviting public comment as the final draft of the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan makes its way to various city boards and commissions beginning this week and continuing through March. The full document was made available…

Friday, February 22, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Bicycle Advisory Council says UT plan should not preclude safety now

In light of a preventable tragedy resulting in 39-year-old Anthony John Diaz losing his life from being run over by a Capital Metro bus while riding a bicycle on Monday, Jan. 28, the Bicycle Advisory Council is recommending that the…

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

In search of the best ‘yes’ for indigent defense

In the search of a best path forward, Travis County is at risk of losing momentum toward better indigent defense if the various interested parties can’t find a middle ground. The county’s Indigent Legal Services work group has composed a…

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Legislature traditions keeping revenue caps at bay, for now

Travis County has a lot to lose if the Texas Legislature decides to discard tradition for the sake of passing the four property tax relief bills that have been filed this session. After Sen. Paul Bettencourt’s Senate Bill 2 was…

Friday, February 15, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Affordability may mean dealing honestly with trash

Austin’s growth is putting a strain on the city’s waste collection service provider, Austin Resource Recovery, as it struggles to keep costs down for customers. Results of the Residential Solid Waste Affordability Study, presented to the Zero Waste Advisory Committee…

Thursday, February 14, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

CAMPO tries to update 2040 plan, is held back by process

Without concrete policies in place, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization could quickly fall short of its goal to incorporate transportation demand management into its 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt presented an amendment of the 2040…

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Del Valle PID moves forward, but county is not done negotiating

The petition to create the Velocity Crossing Public Improvement District in Del Valle was unanimously approved by the Travis County Commissioners Court Tuesday morning after its third and final public hearing. As the county’s first commercial PID, the development has…

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Adler succeeds Conley as CAMPO chair

In accordance with its bylaws, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization unanimously approved Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s succession to chair of the Transportation Policy Board at the board’s meeting Monday evening. The previous chair, Will Conley, announced his plan to…

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