Stories by Ryan Thornton

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Housing committee talks scaling rental assistance program

The city’s Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants, or RENT program, which was announced last month, will be distributing $1.26 million in direct payments to landlords by Friday, May 15. The one-time relief will cover rent payments for at least…

Friday, May 8, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Council approves Healthy Streets program to ease crowding on sidewalks, trails

The coronavirus pandemic has alleviated Austin’s chronic traffic congestion and brought another issue into the foreground: the immediate need for space to walk, bicycle, use a wheelchair or push a stroller at a safe distance from others and from car…

Thursday, May 7, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro adds new light rail line to Project Connect recommendation

An update to regional population estimates has prompted the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority to make a major change to its proposal for Project Connect.In a memo posted Wednesday, CEO Randy Clarke and Assistant City Manager Gina Fiandaca said the more…

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Idled restaurants may serve as low-income neighborhood groceries during pandemic

Austin Public Health is proposing a “micro food-distribution” program to bring fresh produce and select packaged foods into low-income neighborhoods that have limited access to groceries.The two-month program aims to prevent crowding in grocery stores while lowering the burden and…

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

CAMPO adopts a plan without a plan

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Board adopted a planning document Monday afternoon that falls far short of the expectations of community members and many regional leaders alike.The 2045 Regional Transportation Plan is intended to supersede the existing…

Monday, May 4, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Safe Routes to School infrastructure reports posted for each Council district

Austin Public Works has released its final Safe Routes to School reports and project recommendations totaling over $825 million in improvements to make it safe and easy for children and families to walk or bicycle to and from school.Austin’s Safe…

Friday, May 1, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Texas Transportation Commission ties billions of dollars to I-35 central project

The Texas Transportation Commission amended its 2020 Unified Transportation Program on Thursday morning, throwing in $3.4 billion for the $6.6 billion central piece of the Interstate 35 Capital Express project that would expand the interstate between U.S. Highway 290 East…

Thursday, April 30, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

CTRMA cuts expenses to deal with drop in toll system transactions

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is slashing expenses across the board and deferring several initiatives and projects in order to keep spending on track with a 60 percent decrease in systemwide toll transactions resulting from local stay-at-home orders.Executive Director…

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Community calls for ‘slow streets’ to take pressure off city parks and trails

Streets are closing to car traffic in cities from Salt Lake and Kansas City to Boston and Berlin to give people on foot and bicycle more room to get outdoors while keeping their distance from others during the Covid-19 health…

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

I-35 expansion divides public opinion during economic downturn

The Texas Transportation Commission will vote Thursday to advance the state’s multibillion-dollar Capital Express Interstate 35 project despite the economic turmoil of Covid-19 and public concerns over the project’s financial viability.“Given the current economic situation and the collapse in the…

Friday, April 24, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

‘Pork chop’ included in updated list of quarter-cent fund projects

District 4’s “pork chop,” a controversial traffic island at the intersection of Morrow Street and North Lamar Boulevard, is finally slated for removal after City Council adopted an updated list of projects approved for Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s quarter-cent fund…

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Council to address transit-related displacement in anticipation of Project Connect

Amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority has indefinitely deferred $7.7 million in capital projects and another $11.9 million in operating projects, yet work on Project Connect, the region’s first mass transit system, may soon continue.City…

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

CAMPO commits $633 million to I-35 without a final list of cut projects

In the last week alone, hundreds of people from across the six-county region have contacted the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization requesting more time and analysis before it decides on the list of projects to defer in order to free…

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

City aims to fast-track displacement prevention program as Covid-19 destabilizes residents

The Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department is attempting to accelerate progress on the first effort of its Displacement Prevention programs as more households find themselves unable to pay monthly rent or home mortgages due to Covid-19.Erica Leak, policy and…

Friday, April 10, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

City declares broad equity goals for pretrial services

In the middle of a pandemic that has led to a sharp decrease in the Travis County Jail population, Austin City Council plans to leverage its influence to keep the jail population low by reserving use of pretrial detention for…

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Judicial Committee members call for efficient quick release process at county jail

On any given day, the majority of individuals held in the Travis County Jail have not yet had a trial or been convicted of the crime that landed them there, yet they cannot afford to pay the bondsman’s fee or…

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

CAMPO mulls project cuts to free up dollars for I-35

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will hold a special called meeting Monday, April 13, to consider cutting $600 million from planned transportation projects across the six-county region to help the Texas Department of Transportation reconstruct the central segment of…

Friday, April 3, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

Federal relief package includes $104 million for public transit in Austin

The Federal Transit Administration has announced $25 billion in recovery funds for public transportation systems across the nation, including $104 million to help keep the city of Austin’s transit system afloat.“We know that many of our nation’s public transportation systems…

Thursday, April 2, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

County considers asking CAMPO for delayed Regional Transportation Plan adoption

Plummeting oil prices and sales tax revenue have prompted the Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources Department to request a delay in the scheduled adoption of the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan.Scheleen Walker, long-range planning manager with the department, says a delay…

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

County to pause construction on some inessential public works projects

Travis County plans to pause construction on some of its public works projects to slow the spread of the coronavirus over the coming weeks.As a general rule, residential and commercial construction has been put on hold since the county’s Stay…

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