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skittlebrau

Austin City Government - Circus of the Insane

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2 hours ago, swraith said:

City Council and City government employees are who the non voting citizens of CoA deserve. 

This post, and the one before it, are both very true. The general populace needs to be way more engaged and vote so that the NIMBYs and the like don't keep electing folks like the ones we have now.

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I am no longer a resident. I am still fighting city hall all the time. It's slightly less infuriating now that I don't pay their wages. 

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I still don't think hiring an artist to try and tackle the water engineering problem got enough attention, either on the board or in the media.  The absurdity of it should have immediately caused all the members to be impeached.  I still can't believe it happened.  

There are other cities who more corrupt leadership, but I doubt there is any other than more incompetent or clueless.

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30 minutes ago, Neonmoon said:

I would love Austin to get light rail. Need it badly

Is there a snowballs chance in hell?

I believe they're mode agnostic at this point. Part of it will result in rail.

I've met the new Cap Metro guy in a couple informal settings and he seems really energetic and like someone that can get stuff done. Hopefully the bureaucracy doesn't choke that out of him.

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At one stage do we reach the tipping point when driverless vehicles appear to be inevitable rendering the efficiency and need for light rail and more roadways obsolete? 

Surely we’re getting close, right?

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48 minutes ago, Chet Steadman said:

At one stage do we reach the tipping point when driverless vehicles appear to be inevitable rendering the efficiency and need for light rail and more roadways obsolete? 

Surely we’re getting close, right?

Driverless cars still clog roadways. The point of public transit is they move a lot of people with a small footprint.

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Cap Metro will likely ask council to put a measure on the Nov 18 ballot that will help fund the engineering and design work of the system with an eye on a 2020 bond for funding. Good news there is we’ll find out quickly if the city is serious about mass transit instead of waiting 2.5 more years for an ensorsement.

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4 minutes ago, Pasken said:

Driverless cars still clog roadways. The point of public transit is they move a lot of people with a small footprint.

Can't you eliminate the accordion motion down the highway with driver less cars, though?  If all the cars around each other are in unison with one another you wouldn't have the gas, brake, gas, brake that you have in human driven transportation

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2 hours ago, gurt said:

Can't you eliminate the accordion motion down the highway with driver less cars, though?  If all the cars around each other are in unison with one another you wouldn't have the gas, brake, gas, brake that you have in human driven transportation

There will still be stoplights and stop signs to stop at. There is only so much pavement and when everyone is trying to use that pavement all at the same time (rush hour) there is no way to avoid congestion and keep all of the cars moving at all times.

This notion that driverless cars are going to be some panacea that solves all traffic problems is asinine.

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Naming the South Congress corridor as the Brown Line seems appropriate


Somewhat hopeful that it drives development down south south congress though. I suppose it’s only a matter of time. And I think they’re putting a Super HEB at Slaughter/Congress

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And it's already a clusterfuck there. Next time I need to go north, I'll just loop around all that mess via Mountain City/Kyle/Uhland Tri-Cities area.

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On 3/29/2018 at 1:44 PM, Pasken said:

Cap Metro will likely ask council to put a measure on the Nov 18 ballot that will help fund the engineering and design work of the system with an eye on a 2020 bond for funding. Good news there is we’ll find out quickly if the city is serious about mass transit instead of waiting 2.5 more years for an ensorsement.

I wouldn’t want to be part of any funding request on the ballot alongside the shit show city bond that is going to be presented. Unless Council scales the BEATF proposal way back.

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The city has been on a real hot streak of fucking up projects lately. More bond packages? Shit yeah! Keep the fuck up train rolling!!

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17 hours ago, Steel Shank said:

The city has been on a real hot streak of fucking up projects lately. More bond packages? Shit yeah! Keep the fuck up train rolling!!


Which projects? They caught the tunnel fuckups pretty early on and have spent most of the last few years trying to get fixes in. There was a boring statesman article that explained the timeline better than initial reports. They should appoint an independent review to see what more the city could have done. The fuckup on the Capitol View Corridor is obviously a big slight. 


Library could should been better but the final product is pretty great. I believe they've had people look into the problems here and it dealt with underestimating costs but I might be forgetting. 

 

18 hours ago, skittlebrau said:

I wouldn’t want to be part of any funding request on the ballot alongside the shit show city bond that is going to be presented. Unless Council scales the BEATF proposal way back.

Adler needs to announce what the roadmap is because 2018 bond spending could impact what we have in 2020 to spend on transit. Cesar and Pio both want to almost double the amount to spend on Affordable Housing which the city isn't even sure it can spend in that time period. That's a risky move considering we had a housing bond fail a few years ago at a time where almost all bonds passed. I think the city came back with a cheaper bond the following year that passed.

 

I'm guessing they will combine the Cap Metro Project Connect money with the other transportation projects which I think will be safe considering this vote does not authorize any actual construction of ROW loss. I think the Facility Bond could get a lot of negative attention with the inclusion of the new DAC and if they increase funding to the Mexican American center. 

 

There is also the question of it Code Next will go on the ballot and what impact pissed off voters could have on the other proposal. A group has submitted a petition for voters to vote on it but that isn't allowed in state law. Council shouldn't authorize it which will be a lot of ammo for Laura Morrison's mayoral run.

 

Also, we have a new and competent challenger in District 1 to Ora Houston: Natasha Harper Madison. My god I hope she wins. 

 

 

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Good points. My main argument against this proposal is that it hamstrings us in terms of future proposals.

 

Got an email from a friend who’s filing against Troxy tomorrow looking for an endorsement. She’s one of the few I like.

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51 minutes ago, Pasken said:


Which projects? They caught the tunnel fuckups pretty early on and have spent most of the last few years trying to get fixes in. There was a boring statesman article that explained the timeline better than initial reports. They should appoint an independent review to see what more the city could have done. The fuckup on the Capitol View Corridor is obviously a big slight. 


Library could should been better but the final product is pretty great. I believe they've had people look into the problems here and it dealt with underestimating costs but I might be forgetting. 

 

Adler needs to announce what the roadmap is because 2018 bond spending could impact what we have in 2020 to spend on transit. Cesar and Pio both want to almost double the amount to spend on Affordable Housing which the city isn't even sure it can spend in that time period. That's a risky move considering we had a housing bond fail a few years ago at a time where almost all bonds passed. I think the city came back with a cheaper bond the following year that passed.

 

I'm guessing they will combine the Cap Metro Project Connect money with the other transportation projects which I think will be safe considering this vote does not authorize any actual construction of ROW loss. I think the Facility Bond could get a lot of negative attention with the inclusion of the new DAC and if they increase funding to the Mexican American center. 

 

There is also the question of it Code Next will go on the ballot and what impact pissed off voters could have on the other proposal. A group has submitted a petition for voters to vote on it but that isn't allowed in state law. Council shouldn't authorize it which will be a lot of ammo for Laura Morrison's mayoral run.

 

Also, we have a new and competent challenger in District 1 to Ora Houston: Natasha Harper Madison. My god I hope she wins. 

 

 

Well then we have no reason whatsoever to worry about future projects being way over budget, behind schedule or completed in such a way as to not fully perform their original function. All that shit is behind us.

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11 minutes ago, Steel Shank said:

Well then we have no reason whatsoever to worry about future projects being way over budget, behind schedule or completed in such a way as to not fully perform their original function. All that shit is behind us.

I mean you can't just stop improving a city. You have to learn and do better.

 

18 minutes ago, skittlebrau said:

Good points. My main argument against this proposal is that it hamstrings us in terms of future proposals.

 

Got an email from a friend who’s filing against Troxy tomorrow looking for an endorsement. She’s one of the few I like.

Anyone but the Save Our Springs guy. That company has delayed badly needed transit projects years by frivolous lawsuits.

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4 hours ago, Pasken said:

Which projects?

Well, we have a new central library that is free for all to use.  Come downtown, stay all day if you wish...   if you park your car there over 12 hours you'll pay $30 to get it out of the garage.The  library has a 37 foot clock that looks like local birds.   The clock does not actually tell you the time.  It just looks like a clock.  Not actually a clock.  You can sit down a read a book if you can handle the creak creak creak creak sound of the Escher-like stairs that fill the lobby.

Or ... you can drive over to Book People , eight blocks from the library, park for free and buy a book for less than a day's work of parking at the library.

When the library opened, I asked how you could sign up to use the big room downstairs, it's really nice.  The woman in charge said I could sign up now for a rental fee of something like $1200 for a few hours.  I said "hey, this is supposed to be a free library" and she said "well, City of Austin departments and other non-profits can rent it for half-price!".  So, we built a library for all to use, and the city can rent it from themselves for half price!  Great, a nice meeting space for CoA groups that is mostly not affordable for outsiders.

I know I'm nit-picking a particular project but in a town that talks about affordability, the new library seems to have the absolute best of everything, built at taxpayer expense and appears to have been built at maximum cost on a really valuable piece of land.  it is made more difficult to access by charging for parking.   I voted for the library when it was on the ballot, but after seeing the cost of what was included in the building and paying for parking at "our" library,  I am hesitant to vote for similar projects in the future.

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That's an interesting perspective. Most of the reviews of the library I've heard are very positive. My kids absolutely love it, and the whole Seaholm District. It's a far cry better than sitting at Book People.

I don't like the way it was funded, but that's on the Advisory Task Force for that bond. They were told how much it was going to cost, and decided to vote for a lesser number because the city was somehow going to magically do it on the cheap. They should have just voted for the bigger number.

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That's an interesting perspective. Most of the reviews of the library I've heard are very positive. My kids absolutely love it, and the whole Seaholm District. It's a far cry better than sitting at Book People.
I don't like the way it was funded, but that's on the Advisory Task Force for that bond. They were told how much it was going to cost, and decided to vote for a lesser number because the city was somehow going to magically do it on the cheap. They should have just voted for the bigger number.



It’s a nice library. It also cost way way way too much.

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41 minutes ago, Gardner Barnes said:

 

 


It’s a nice library. It also cost way way way too much.

 

 

Don't worry. They are working right now on how to not fuck up the next one they'll want in 7-8 years. Everything will go just swell!!

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On 3/29/2018 at 1:44 PM, Pasken said:

Cap Metro will likely ask council to put a measure on the Nov 18 ballot that will help fund the engineering and design work of the system with an eye on a 2020 bond for funding. Good news there is we’ll find out quickly if the city is serious about mass transit instead of waiting 2.5 more years for an ensorsement.

Why doesn't Cap Metro fund their own projects? They have their own taxing and bonding authority, unlike many local transit agencies. The CoA has multiple billions in unfunded mobility needs even before shouldering Cap Metro's load.  Why should the city have to take responsibility for this?

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6 hours ago, Pasken said:

 

Adler needs to announce what the roadmap is because 2018 bond spending could impact what we have in 2020 to spend on transit. Cesar and Pio both want to almost double the amount to spend on Affordable Housing which the city isn't even sure it can spend in that time period. That's a risky move considering we had a housing bond fail a few years ago at a time where almost all bonds passed. I think the city came back with a cheaper bond the following year that passed.

 

Doubling the affordable housing bond will guarantee its failure.  The real solution on housing is a supply increase via proper zoning reform.  Is that Code Next? Not really...

 

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Just now, Godzillatron said:

 

Reposting with the quote correctly posted, because I'm an idiot.

Doubling the affordable housing bond will guarantee its failure.  The real solution on housing is a supply increase via proper zoning reform.  Is that Code Next? Not really...

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1 hour ago, Godzillatron said:

Why doesn't Cap Metro fund their own projects? They have their own taxing and bonding authority, unlike many local transit agencies. The CoA has multiple billions in unfunded mobility needs even before shouldering Cap Metro's load.  Why should the city have to take responsibility for this?

 

They do fund their own projects and will be allocating their own savings to go along with what they will ask from COA for the design. They can't fund everything by themselves and they are disadvantaged when it comes to funding compared to transit agencies in other states that collect more in sales tax. So yes, this are asking money from Austin to help pay for the design of a transit system that is going in Austin.

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Why doesn't Cap Metro fund their own projects? They have their own taxing and bonding authority, unlike many local transit agencies. The CoA has multiple billions in unfunded mobility needs even before shouldering Cap Metro's load.  Why should the city have to take responsibility for this?
I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

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On 3/29/2018 at 12:46 PM, skittlebrau said:

I've met the new Cap Metro guy in a couple informal settings and he seems really energetic and like someone that can get stuff done. Hopefully the bureaucracy doesn't choke that out of him.

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22 hours ago, Texas Jeff said:

Well, we have a new central library that is free for all to use.  Come downtown, stay all day if you wish...   if you park your car there over 12 hours you'll pay $30 to get it out of the garage.The  library has a 37 foot clock that looks like local birds.   The clock does not actually tell you the time.  It just looks like a clock.  Not actually a clock.  You can sit down a read a book if you can handle the creak creak creak creak sound of the Escher-like stairs that fill the lobby.

Or ... you can drive over to Book People , eight blocks from the library, park for free and buy a book for less than a day's work of parking at the library.

When the library opened, I asked how you could sign up to use the big room downstairs, it's really nice.  The woman in charge said I could sign up now for a rental fee of something like $1200 for a few hours.  I said "hey, this is supposed to be a free library" and she said "well, City of Austin departments and other non-profits can rent it for half-price!".  So, we built a library for all to use, and the city can rent it from themselves for half price!  Great, a nice meeting space for CoA groups that is mostly not affordable for outsiders.

I know I'm nit-picking a particular project but in a town that talks about affordability, the new library seems to have the absolute best of everything, built at taxpayer expense and appears to have been built at maximum cost on a really valuable piece of land.  it is made more difficult to access by charging for parking.   I voted for the library when it was on the ballot, but after seeing the cost of what was included in the building and paying for parking at "our" library,  I am hesitant to vote for similar projects in the future.

Pasken is like a DB, short memory

how about 14.5 million because someone though anyone would commute downtown from South Austin......10 people 14.5 million

 

 

"Itweeted out just after sunrise Friday that I was hanging out at the new Barton Creek bike bridge in Southwest Austin to see how many cyclists and others might be using the $14.5 million edifice. I noted that in the half-hour or so I was there, I had seen one commuting cyclist cross the 1,045-foot span over the creek gorge.

Not surprisingly, the qualifiers quickly started appearing in my feed. Well, you’re doing your count on a Friday, clearly a light commuting day. Don’t you know the kids are out of school? The high is supposed to be 100 degrees for the afternoon return trip, so naturally few people are biking. And, of course, “too soon” to make judgments (or even make a count), given that the bridge opened June 14. Come back in a year, I was advised.

Which I pledge to do, the Lord and the American-Statesman willing.

But here’s the deal: In three hours hanging out at the bridge from 6:15 to 9:15 a.m., in balmy mid-70s temperatures with a refreshing breeze, I saw just eight northbound commuters on bikes and one guy headed south to work (he said). I also saw three people on bikes just out for exercise, as they yelled back when I asked. And John Baxendale.

Baxendale, an administrator in the University of Texas chemistry department, commutes 25 miles from Lakeway by bike most days (I kid you not) and had gone miles out of his way just to take a gander at the new bridge. So he doesn’t count as a Southwest Austin cyclist for whom the bridge (and its shorter mates spanning Loop 360 about a half-mile to the north) might be a commute solution. More of a bike tourist, as it were.

“I just wanted to check it out,” he told me, having heard for 20 years that the project was in the works and then, over a five-year period, under construction. He noted that cycling outside of Central Austin on busy suburban streets is “about half leap of faith, half denial.” Then he got back on his bike and returned to the fray.

Just for the record, I also saw six walkers, two joggers, two small dogs and, jarringly, a pickup and a front-end loader creeping across the 14-foot-wide bridge. Crews are still doing some punch list stuff on the bridge.

The point is, I saw on average one commuting cyclist every 20 minutes, or three per hour. Even if that number was off by a factor of 10 because of the heat and the other factors, that would mean all that money was spent to help about 100 people. You have to ask: Was it worth it?"

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ChickenSandwich said:

Pasken is like a DB, short memory

how about 14.5 million because someone though anyone would commute downtown from South Austin......10 people 14.5 million

 

You mean the bridge that allowed a 3rd lane to be added for cars on that section of Mopac? Getting rid of choke points on highways should be a good thing. I would say that Ben Wear did that count very soon after the bridge opened and it takes time for people to become aware or that the entire corridor still needs pedestrian upgrades but I don't care. Really the only thing that should matter is it freed up space from mopac and added lanes to it to get rid of that awful choke point. That's worth the 7.5 million that COA paid which was joined by money from Txdot and the feds.

 

I like the library and I'm glad I voted for it. I think the city is better for it. However, they need to bet better at finishing projects on time.

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^^este.  and making the left lane not be an exit only lane.  it's been a while since I regularly made the south mopac commute, but it was baffling that you could not simply get into a lane and drive straight if you wanted to go from downtown to slaughter.  (not suggesting using the left lane for mindless commuting in moving traffic)

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https://www.statesman.com/news/local/austin-meter-readers-made-reads-causing-fall-water-bill-spikes/pIe3Md70NPCKldiK8GUVUL/

Quote

Two former Austin water meter readers made up readings along their routes in late summer, causing thousands of residents’ bills to spike from August to September, city officials said Tuesday.

Kerry Overton, deputy general manager of Austin Energy, which handles billing for both water and electric utilities, said two Corix employees apparently made up reads during the final month Corix worked for Austin. “What they put in as meter reads could not have happened during the time frame,” Overton said.

 

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17 hours ago, Celery Man said:

^^este.  and making the left lane not be an exit only lane.  it's been a while since I regularly made the south mopac commute, but it was baffling that you could not simply get into a lane and drive straight if you wanted to go from downtown to slaughter.  (not suggesting using the left lane for mindless commuting in moving traffic)

It's fucking maddening when that lane is still somehow backed up by the exiting traffic, despite the light on 360 being removed so there's nowhere for the exiting traffic to get hung up.

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Man what assholes. Hope the city can squeeze some money out of the company.  COA started requiring readers to take photos of the meters to prevent this in the future.

3 minutes ago, DanRydell said:

It's fucking maddening when that lane is still somehow backed up by the exiting traffic, despite the light on 360 being removed so there's nowhere for the exiting traffic to get hung up.

Where are cars getting backed up at then?

Edited by Pasken

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2 minutes ago, Pasken said:

Man what assholes. Hope the city can squeeze some money out of the company.  COA started requiring readers to take photos of the meters to prevent this in the future.

Where are cars getting backed up at then?

No clue. I've assumed it's one of those domino effects from one dumbass braking because of the curve and causing a traffic jam.

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Just now, DanRydell said:

No clue. I've assumed it's one of those domino effects from one dumbass braking because of the curve and causing a traffic jam.

 

Hmm. Well IIRC the plans for Mopac south would add a 2nd exit lane for 360 so maybe that will help get cars off the highway. It would be a thing where lane 1 is a must exist and lane 2 could either exit to 360 or keep going on mopac south and then there would be 2 straight only lanes.

Also, people from the frontage road would take a ramp over the mainlanes and enter mopac on the left side so you won't car cars entering mopac on the right and crossing 3 lanes of traffic to get to the 360 exit lane.

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34 minutes ago, DanRydell said:

No clue. I've assumed it's one of those domino effects from one dumbass braking because of the curve and causing a traffic jam.

i think part of it is natural hesitation of a blind curve. it's not really a blind curve, but it is the same dynamic that happens on IH 35 at the riverside bend. once the first person hits the brakes, everyone is fucked

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It's fucking maddening when that lane is still somehow backed up by the exiting traffic, despite the light on 360 being removed so there's nowhere for the exiting traffic to get hung up.
They took out that stupid fucking light where 360 crosses over Barton Creek at the bottom of the hill?

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They took out that stupid fucking light where 360 crosses over Barton Creek at the bottom of the hill?


Northbound traffic still has a light for the southbound left turn lane into that office park but they took out the light on the southbound side a little while back.

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47 minutes ago, DanRydell said:

 


Northbound traffic still has a light for the southbound left turn lane into that office park but they took out the light on the southbound side a little while back.

 

Cool. That's a step in the right direction.

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