Audrey McGlinchy

City Hall Reporter

Audrey McGlinchy is the City Hall reporter at KUT, covering the Austin City Council and the policies they discuss. She comes to Texas from Brooklyn, where she tried her hand at publishing, public relations and nannying. Audrey holds English and journalism degrees from Wesleyan University and the City University of New York. She got her start in journalism as an intern at KUT Radio during a summer break from graduate school. While completing her master's degree in New York City, she interned at the New York Times Magazine and Guernica Magazine.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

With the promise of rain, Upper Onion Creek resident Ken Jacob says neighbors of his can be found with their eyes to the creek and the internet – where rain gauge levels are updated. So it’s essential to someone like Jacob, who serves on the city’s Flood Mitigation Task Force, that the city continue to discuss flood mitigation.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

Standing atop the same stage where men and women perform bawdy pranks as part of adult entertainment-themed Bingo every Tuesday at the Alamo Drafthouse’s Highball, local tech leader Joe Liemandt added another ride-hailing company to the list of those scrambling to fill the roads in the absence of Uber and Lyft.

This one is called RideAustin, and it’s a bit different than the others.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

Former full-time Uber and Lyft driver Kurt Wagenman showed up to Austin’s first transportation network company (TNC) driver fair on Tuesday with a misleading email in his inbox.


Jorge Sanhueza Lyon/KUT

UPDATE: After our story was originally published, we heard from several members of Flood Mitigation Task Force, who disputed the assertions made by some task force members, including the group’s chairman, who said the final report lacked prioritization.

An executive summary of the report, not available at Monday’s meeting of the Council's Public Utilities committee, whittles down the nearly 200 recommendations into 19 high priority ones. Topping that list is the creation of a city-wide policy that prioritizes life, safety and property when it comes to flooding. The task force recommends that the city then consider this when making upcoming budget decisions.

In conversations with other members of the task force, some took issue with chairman Matt Reinstra’s presentation of the report to the Public Utilities Committee. At that time, he did not present the executive summary to council members because it had not yet been finalized by the task force.

“Many of the things he mentioned as recommendations were very minor things that were in there,” said task force member Ken Jacob. “We’re trying to come forward and say this is important. This is something you, the council, needs to pay attention to and the city needs to pay attention to because it’s a big issue.”

Jacob also cautioned against considering too heavily the report’s note that, at the city’s current rate of improvements, it would cost $2 to $4 billion to address local flooding issues.

“The numbers are just estimates [staff] were able to pull out there,” said Jacob. “And they’re going to have to do more work on that to finalize it.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Nearly a year after floodwaters wrecked businesses and homes in Austin over Memorial Day, members of the city’s Public Utilities Committee heard a rundown of a report from the city’s Flood Mitigation Task Force.

It’s a 89-page document bursting with nearly 200 recommendations for city staff – among them, suggestions to replace aging storm drainage systems and enhancing public outreach by the city’s Watershed Protection Department. According to the report, the total cost of these recommendations ranges from $2 billion to $4 billion.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Last year, 102 people died on Austin’s roads. All this week, we’ve been looking at the plan in our series – the Road to Zero.

While we’ve heard the stories of victims and loved ones, we haven’t heard from those who respond to these deaths – in the minutes and days after. KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy spoke with three members of the Austin Police Department about their work and the toll it takes.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Andrew Nierengarten used to make most of his income driving for Uber and Lyft. But since the two companies exited Austin Monday, he’s been working for another ride-hailing app: Get Me. And he says since the failure of Proposition 1, passengers assume he has been fingerprinted.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

This story is part of our series, The Road to Zerowhich explores traffic deaths and injuries in Austin and the city's plan to prevent them.

She had already started cooking the eggs and bacon.

Deborah Tatum, 49, was reaching for a can of biscuits when she learned her son was dead. Her daughter rushed into the kitchen, telling her a police officer was on the phone.


KUT News

The Austin Transportation Department will consider untangling the city’s franchise model of taxi companies in an attempt to “address equity” between for-hire drivers in the city. The news comes after the failure of Proposition 1 on Saturday and the exit of ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft two days later.

The proposed changes would usher in an open market system for cabs, bringing them more in line with the way ride-hailing companies operate in the city. Historically the city has capped the number of cabs in the city – keeping that number of operating vehicles at just over 900.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

This is the first story in our series, The Road to Zero, which explores traffic deaths and injuries in Austin and the city's plan to prevent them.

One hundred and two people died on Austin’s roads in 2015 - the most ever recorded. More than 20 have met a similar fate so far this year. Nearly every death involved a car. Yet, in a city where 93 percent of households own a car, Francis Reilly does not. Reilly works in the city's planning office.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Unbeknownst to some, the City of Austin has licensed five ride-hailing companies for operation. In case you haven’t opened your mailbox or clicked on your TV recently, two of those companies, Uber and Lyft, are currently embroiled in a public vote over what regulations the companies should be subject to.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The City of Austin’s Vision Zero plan continued its final parade through boards and commissions Monday with a visit to the Public Safety Commission. And while some commissioners were dissatisfied with the 94-page document, others had little to say.

“About the only thing I can say is the pictures are pretty,” said Commissioner Mike Levy to open the discussion. “It was as if it basically has nothing to do with what the task force did.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

When she’s not driving for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, Sara Kaminsky works as a personal trainer. In fact, I exited her Toyota Corolla with a brochure for Shakeology, a weight loss program that helped Kaminsky shed more than 100 pounds over two years.

I confessed that I needed to get in shape. “I could help you with that,” said Kaminsky. But mostly she helped me with a free ride Thursday morning to my nearest polling station, at Maplewood Elementary School.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr. / KUT

At the City of Austin’s budget season opener Wednesday, council members heard again of Austin’s two cities: the city’s widening economic divisions amidst claims that the city is “an economic star.”

“This is extraordinary growth,” economic consultant Jon Hockenyos told council members as he pointed out a 4.6 percent increase in jobs last year, plus an anticipated 7 to 8 percent gain in personal income in the coming year. “It is hard to imagine any other community that has consistently grown in the aggregate that the Austin metro area has.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

In both sides of the tug of war over what rules should govern ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft in Austin, everyone seems to agree that having more transportation options is a potential antidote for DWIs.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The drone idles on a small runway at the Austin Radio Control Association, just east of the city. It’s got a grey body and a white nose, across which someone has painted a sinister smile. The controls are tested, and then the small aircraft takes off.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Austin City Council members may have been overly optimistic that a 9-year-old’s karaoke machine could carry their comments to reporters. Nonetheless, they pushed on.

Armed both with a “singing machine” borrowed from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo’s daughter and with printed versions of the two currently competing ride-hailing ordinances, five council members gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Eduardo Gutierrez picked me up in his Ford Crown Victoria. I knew the make of his car and his license plate, plus I had an idea of what he looked like. But no sticker or emblem on Gutierrez’s car alerted me to the fact that he is an Uber driver. In this respect, according to city code, he and the company are outside the law.

When asked if Gutierrez was offered a decal, he said no.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Austin voters will head to the polls on Saturday, May 7 to vote for or against Proposition 1. How did we get here? In December, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance that, over time, requires Uber and Lyft drivers to undergo fingerprint-based background checks, among other things. The companies have said they cannot operate under these mandates.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Amidst talk of the potential plusses of a swollen Austin Convention Center, some council members Monday heard for the first time publicly about a recent consultant review of the Travis County Expo Center.


Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The department charged with policing overgrown grass, short-term rentals and illegally discarded junk fails to follow a consistent protocol for overseeing violations and does not enforce violations with equal fervor on city-owned property, reads a report by the City of Austin auditor. In a review of 306 code complaints, the auditor took issue with 77 percent of them.


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