Stories by Ryan Thornton

Friday, June 7, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

No decision on Butler Pitch & Putt contract

With Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison both absent for a vote at Thursday’s meeting, City Council has postponed approving a contract of up to 20 years for Pecan Grove Golf Partners for managing Austin’s nearly 70-year-old Butler…

Friday, June 7, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

County Transportation Blueprint: So many projects, so few dollars

Between the city’s ambitious new mobility plan and the region’s transportation vision into 2040, Travis County is now working on prioritizing its own transportation goals for the next 30 years.The Commissioners Court approved a draft of the Transportation Blueprint in…

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council to postpone vote on camping, panhandling ordinance

As the city puts more resources into shelters and programs to assist those without a place to live, City Council is also considering modifying three often-counterproductive city policies that target homeless people. The policies prohibit camping in public areas, sitting…

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Public Safety Commission backs adoption of international wildfire code

The Public Safety Commission is again recommending tighter wildfire protection standards for structures built between the city’s wildlands and urban center.On Monday the commission endorsed adoption of a Wildland-Urban Interface Code that would expand ember protection and structure hardening regulations…

Monday, June 3, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Austin Transportation releases yearly report

The Austin Transportation Department released its annual report for 2018 on Friday, featuring a month-by-month breakdown of its major accomplishments from last year as well as an overview of its $52 million in operating budget spending.The report highlights five major…

Friday, May 31, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

UT meets with advocates, talks bike safety on San Jacinto

Representatives of the University of Texas are promising ongoing discussions of safety and mobility improvements to its section of San Jacinto Boulevard, where 39-year-old Tony Diaz was recently killed while riding a bicycle.Director of Sustainability Jim Walker and President Gregory…

Thursday, May 30, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Parks board critiques Butler Pitch & Putt solicitation, recommends change of hands

The Parks and Recreation Board yielded to the authority of city procedure Tuesday when it passed a recommendation for Council to approve an agreement with Pecan Grove Golf Partners to take over the management of Butler Park Pitch & Putt…

Friday, May 24, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

City no longer the ‘wild, wild west’ of scooters

Imprudent scooter users could now face fines of up to $40 for breaking the city’s new rules of conduct for micro-mobility devices (scooters, skateboards, etc.).Though they decided to postpone two of the Austin Transportation Department’s three proposed micro-mobility ordinances, City…

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Neighborhood health center in race against displacement

Austin Public Health wants to build a new neighborhood public health center adjacent to Dove Springs District Park in District 2, but some City Council members are concerned the $12.4 million neighborhood center won’t be ready in time to have…

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

B-cycle prepares for shift in leadership

In the wake of steady ridership losses and multiplying competitors, Elliott McFadden, executive director of the public bike-share system Austin B-cycle, has decided to step away from the bike rental program.McFadden notified B-cycle’s board of directors in mid-April that he…

Friday, May 17, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Austin Energy says Decker employees will be prepared for transition

Belated plans to decommission two aging steam turbines at Decker Creek Power Station have brought into question the futures of the estimated 39 employees who will be out of work when the last steam unit shuts down in late 2021.In…

Thursday, May 16, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

APD makes case for increased tow fee

The Austin Police Department says the city tow rate is due for an update. According to the department’s calculations, the current fee has fallen behind market rates and should be adjusted as soon as possible.While the city’s police tow rate…

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council asks city staff for ideas on local Green New Deal, EVs

City Council unanimously approved its own Green New Deal resolution last week in response to the devastating consequences of the climate crisis, from record temperatures to the historic flooding seen in Austin and Central Texas over the last decade.Council Member…

Friday, May 10, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council passes affordable housing density bonus program

In keeping with its previous support of Council Member Greg Casar’s proposed density bonus program, City Council unanimously approved the Affordability Unlocked bonus program Thursday evening, an ordinance amending city code by loosening site restrictions and promoting construction of more…

Thursday, May 9, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Code rewrite leaves little room for small area planning pilot

City Council will not be taking action Thursday on a resolution intended to direct City Manager Spencer Cronk to initiate a pilot small area planning project on North Lamar Boulevard between Tech Ridge Transit Center and U.S. Highway 183.Although the…

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

CAMPO dedicates money for I-35 expansion

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy Board clarified its priorities Monday evening by approving a resolution allocating $500 million of its Category 2 and 7 10-year budgets to the Texas Department of Transportation for highway congestion relief projects.The…

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Growing up: Council wrestles with competing water and housing needs

Between an invasion of zebra mussels, an extended boil-water notice due to continued flooding and the concerning results of the Atlas 14 regional rainfall study, city water problems have crowded to the surface in the months since the last land…

Friday, May 3, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Council directs city staff on code rewrite

Austin City Council has spoken: It wants a new Land Development Code and map to look at and consider for adoption this year, ready to pass on first reading in October.Council voted during a special session Thursday afternoon to direct…

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

ARCH prepares to improve results by serving fewer clients

As of April 1, the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless is moving forward with a renewed 18-month contract with Front Steps Inc. to redesign its services to have better focus on individual clients and improve efficiency.Vella Karman, manager of…

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Yard Bar evades muzzle on live music

Customers at Yard Bar, a Burnet Road restaurant, will continue enjoying outdoor live music with their dinner and drinks for years to come, thanks to City Council’s rejection of an appeal of the restaurant’s relatively strict outdoor music venue permit…

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