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Stories by Ryan Thornton

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Court makes move toward public defender’s office

No final decision has been made on the creation of a Travis County public defender’s office, but the Commissioners Court demonstrated firm support for the idea in Tuesday morning’s voting session.Gathering momentum after a rocky start, the court finalized a…

Friday, January 4, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Eckhardt welcomes wave of political momentum in Travis County

For years, when County Judge Sarah Eckhardt would try to talk to the community about the justice system, someone would quickly change the subject to transportation or other unrelated issues. Although it accounts for 50 percent of the overall county…

Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Travillion pushes for streamlined processes, services for the underserved

When Commissioner Jeff Travillion joined the Travis County Commissioners Court in 2017, he brought with him a rigorous attention to governmental process.“When I came here I said, ‘I don’t want to know that it runs; pull the hood up and…

Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Shea stays busy accepting what can’t be changed, fighting for what can

On June 24, 1988, this sentence appeared on the front page of The New York Times: “Higher temperatures can now be attributed to a long-expected global warming trend linked to pollution, a space agency scientist reported today.” The scientist was…

Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

Commissioner Daugherty still working to pave the road ahead

Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty is not in the business of telling Travis County residents what they should want or need. Instead, both on the dais and in conversation, the Precinct 3 commissioner, businessman and longtime Austin resident resists the…

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

County weighs its jail diversion strategies

A lot has happened since the Commissioners Court last saw the Travis County Justice Planning Department’s asset map of strategies for jail diversion on July 31. Fortunately, in terms of keeping people out of jail and connected to their communities,…

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

CapMetro approves Project Connect vision plan

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s long-term vision plan was adopted by the agency’s board of directors Monday afternoon. As per Project Connect program manager Dave Couch, the map – an array of intersecting and parallel lines of various colors and…

Monday, December 17, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

State transportation performance goals suggest lack of government solutions

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Board caught a glimpse of a potentially bleak future in Texas transportation during a routine procedure at the board’s Monday evening meeting.In line with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century…

Thursday, December 13, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

County delays decision on criminal district attorney’s office

The Travis County Commissioners Court is considering a merger of the County and District Attorney’s offices into a criminal district attorney office that may considerably lower the number of jail bookings for misdemeanor offenses.County Attorney David Escamilla and District Attorney…

Friday, December 7, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Scooters: Committee calls for clear rules

The number of dockless scooter operators wanting a share of the Austin market continues to rise. This week, Austin welcomed the latest entrant, Lyft, with permits for 1,500 authorized units, pushing the total number of authorized scooters (not the number…

Thursday, December 6, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro votes kids ride free, forever

Looking at the 120,000 annual service hours added with Cap Remap this summer or at the major upcoming investments between Project Connect and a fully electric bus fleet, we might expect Capital Metro to be squeezing every possible penny out…

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Between storms and traffic, Travis County tries to stay afloat

A growing influx of vehicles to Travis County paired with the effects of the climate crisis has the county struggling to provide the infrastructure needed to simultaneously absorb the effects of both. At the same time, the recent Atlas 14…

Friday, November 30, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

City cracks down on Lime scooters

In the same week that Parks and Recreation announced a controversial pilot program allowing electric bikes and scooters on several of the city’s most popular trails, the Austin Transportation Department has temporarily subtracted 1,000 scooters from the number of Lime’s…

Thursday, November 29, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Weeks before Project Connect vote, city talks community engagement

The Dec. 17 Capital Metro Board of Directors vote on the Project Connect vision plan is quickly approaching. Austin residents are being asked by the transportation agency and City Council representatives to take the time this holiday season to attend…

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

County finalizes Indigent Legal Services work group

On Oct. 16, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission presented a report to the Commissioners Court in which it recommended the creation of a public defender office in Travis County along with numerous specific suggestions concerning the ideal composition of the…

Monday, November 26, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Solving regional affordability problems will require addressing transportation costs

Decreasing affordability in Austin and the surrounding area is primarily tied to a shortage of housing options coupled with rising property taxes. But the region’s lack of transportation options is the source of another significant, though less recognized, financial burden…

Friday, November 16, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Capital Metro board in favor of free rides for K-12

On Wednesday, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority board members expressed an interest in making free rides for K-12 students a permanent feature.On June 8, the day after Capital Metro overhauled its service network with the controversial redesign known as Cap Remap, it…

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Multifamily affordable housing breaks western Travis County development pattern

As the overwhelming support for Proposition A at last week’s election indicates, Austin-area residents want affordable housing as much as they need it. This fact is especially apparent following Travis County Commissioners Court’s support on Tuesday morning of a dense…

Friday, November 9, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Movability aims to keep cutting traffic with 2019 Mobility Challenge

Several local businesses were honored for successful participation in the 2018 Mobility Challenge Thursday morning during the Mayor’s Mobility Leadership Breakfast. The Mobility Challenge, now in its fourth year, has received mobility commitments from 60 local organizations representing over 100,000…

Thursday, November 8, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Travis County Transportation Blueprint begins final phase of public engagement

The Travis County Commissioners Court has unanimously approved the draft of the county’s Transportation Blueprint, with two changes. It now moves forward into the final stage of public engagement from November through January 2019, with any last modifications to be…

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