Terrence Henry

Senior Reporter, StateImpact Texas

Terrence Henry is a Senior Reporter at KUT and StateImpact Texas. He has worked as an editor, writer and web producer for The Washington Post and The Atlantic. He has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Brigham Young University.

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin has seen a staggering rise in traffic fatalities this year. There have already been more road deaths so far in 2015 than there were during all of last year, and about half of these fatal crashes involve alcohol or intoxication.

To understand more about how the Austin Police Department is going after drunk drivers, I spent a night following an officer on his DWI enforcement unit during his patrol.

It was a long night. 

Terrence Henry/KUT News

Many of us will experience trauma at some point in our lives, and some of us will get Post-Traumatic Stress Order, or PTSD.

It’s not unique to military veterans. It affects 8 million adults in the U.S. every year. Recent research by Mark Powers, an associate professor at the Institute for Mental Health Research at the University of Texas at Austin, shows how running could make PTSD treatment more efficient and tolerable for patients.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Starting this week, one of Austin’s most successful transportation programs will be more accessible to low-income Austinites. The B-cycle bike share program started a year and half ago. There’s been more than a quarter of a million bike trips on the system since, traveling more than 700,000 miles. Now, the company’s rolling out three new stations and new membership levels designed to include low-income residents.

There’s several membership options for the bike share system – locals can buy an annual one for $80 that gives them unlimited free trips under thirty minutes every year. And starting this week, any Austin resident making $25,000 or less a year can sign up for a membership that only costs $5 annually. 

KUT News

It’s been over a year since the ride-on-demand companies Uber and Lyft began operating in Austin. But it hasn’t yet been a full year yet since the companies were legally allowed to operate in Austin by the city under a pilot program. Extending that agreement could make for a bumpy road now that Uber has filed suit against the City of Austin and Texas Attorney General.


Starting today, all of Austin's P. Terry's Hamburgers drive-thru only locations will allow walk-up access, according to owner Patrick Terry. 

After Austinite (and transit advocate) Jace Deloney pointed out on Twitter that a friend of his on foot had been turned away from the P. Terry's drive-thru on South Congress and Ben White, the company said Thursday it wouldn't be safe to allow walk-up access at their drive-thru only locations. Deloney pointed out a section of the city's municipal code that says drive-thru only businesses "must provide safe and convenient access for pedestrians to the drive-through facility."

Jacob Villanueva/Texas Tribune

It's long been known that one of the greatest predictors of wealth and prosperity is what kind of family you're born into. But what hasn't been as clear is whether it's genetic or environmental factors determining these outcomes. A new paper co-authored by a UT researcher dives into the ongoing debate on nature versus nurture and how it affects wealth in a child’s future.

Researchers have known for a long time that having rich parents is the biggest predictor of whether a kid will grow up to be wealthy, too. They just weren’t exactly sure why.


With all of the cranes and construction going on downtown, you might not have noticed one of the biggest projects of them all.

Austin will soon be home to the largest urban creek renewal project in the country’s history. Waller Creek, which winds through downtown and connects to Lady Bird Lake, is set to be transformed into a chain of parks, part of a long-term revitalization project. [See more project details here.]

KUT spoke with Peter Mullan, CEO of the Waller Creek Conservancy, to learn more about the project and how the public can get involved in the planning.

Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

This year, the city allowed hundreds of thousands of new car trips when it legalized the ride service companies Lyft and Uber.

But, while these companies may be filling in a gap in transportation options, are they making traffic better or worse in Austin? And does the demand for ride services mean higher prices here than elsewhere in the country? 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin's roads are busier than ever, and there’s more than just cars and trucks on them. As more and more Austinites choose bikes to get around, where exactly are they allowed to ride?

It can be a little confusing knowing where it’s okay to ride your bike. For instance, you’re not supposed to ride on the sidewalk in parts of downtown Austin. But when it comes to the road? Well, a bike is welcome pretty much everywhere. It’s right there in the Texas Transportation Code.

Terrence Henry/KUT

Austin’s well-known as the Live Music Capital of the World, but it’s also becoming known as a place that’s running out of room. There's one neighborhood in town where old-time residents are probably going to be moved out in order to make way for new development. And it’s ruffling some feathers.

We're talking, of course, about monk parakeets. In particular, the two hundred of them that live at the University of Texas at Austin Whitaker Intramural Fields, in Central Austin on Guadalupe. Head there at dusk, and you'll see not just soccer or lacrosse scrimmages, but you'll see hundreds, if not thousands, of birds. 

And the most colorful and charismatic of them are the monk parakeets. But soon they're likely going to have to move out of their longtime home. 


Central Texas is under attack. No, not Jade Helm, or even the summer swarms of mosquitoes. We’re talking about an invasive species. Zebra Mussels? Nope. Fire ants? Try again. We're talking about an even more supposed "invasive" species: Californians.

They arrive with their telltale license plates, often heading straight to In-N-Out Burger and Trader Joe's. As Austin continues to grow at a rapid pace, plenty of anecdotal blame has fallen on people moving here from California. Except … they’re not?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin’s roads are more dangerous than ever. The rate of fatal car crashes is nearly double what it’s been in previous years. It’s only July, and soon the city will have more traffic fatalities so far this year than we did during all of last year. These statistics alone paint a grim picture of road safety in Austin. 

But there's also a human face and voice behind each of these numbers. People like Tina-Michelle Pittsley, the victim of a near-fatal crash in Austin. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

If you’ve ever had a house or business project held up by the city’s convoluted permitting process, there may be hope for improvements ahead.

Today the city released an action plan in response to an outside review (done by California-based Zucker Systems) of its planning departments. That review found Austin’s code and regulations lacking, well below the standard set by other cities.

MoPac Improvement Project

Big changes lie ahead for the MoPac Expressway as a toll lane is added in each direction. And those changes will affect drivers before the new lanes are ready. Here's what you'll need to know so you don’t miss your exit.

The MoPac Improvement project has reached the point where workers need to start digging for an underpass entrance and exit to and from downtown. That means drivers heading southbound on the highway will need to be ready for some significant changes to exits that start Monday.

Terrence Henry/KUT

While plenty of people are moving to Austin for the jobs, the outdoors and the lifestyle, the city is still missing something pretty important: sidewalks. Austin has only half of the sidewalks it's supposed to, and it will be a long time before it can fill in those gaps.

We've put together this explainer on Austin's sidewalk situation.

Wait, did I hear that right? Austin is missing half of its sidewalks?

Yes — there are a little more than 2,200 miles of sidewalks absent in the city, roughly half of the sidewalks the city is supposed to have. And many sidewalks are not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities (ADA) act. 

At the current rate of city funding, how long will it take to fully build out Austin’s sidewalks?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The drenching rains that have fallen on Austin this year have provided sizable benefits: Reservoirs are recovering, lawns are green, and this summer will be cooler as a result. (Maybe a little more humid, too.)

But there are, of course, downsides to the rain, most notably the serious damage to lives and property from flooding. Austin’s infrastructure is taking a hit, too, and you don’t have to go far to find it. It’s right underneath you. 

Yes, we’re talking about potholes. Those holes in the road form thanks to two things: water and traffic, both of which Austin has plenty of lately.

Terrence Henry/KUT

After a tragic shooting at a historical black church in Charleston, South Carolina this month, there’s been a growing national conversation on whether or not to display or sell symbols of the Confederacy.

National retailers Walmart, Amazon and eBay have all announced they will stop selling Confederate battle flag merchandise. Here in Austin, while some stores are also ending sales of Confederate flags and merchandise, others say they will continue to sell the products. 

"Took mine down, and they're out of here," says Ed Hall, owner of The Quonset Hut, a military surplus store just north of the University of Texas at Austin campus. 


Remember the ‘Dillo? No, not the legendary music venue The Armadillo. We’re talking about Austin’s free trolley system that shut down in 2009. There were several routes that took people around downtown for free, starting in the eighties, until they went away a few years ago. 

Now, the ‘Dillo is making a comeback.

Kind of.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr for KUT News

Austin has seen a rise in traffic fatalities this year, with nearly double the number of deaths so far in 2015 as occurred during the same period last year. Many of the crashes have involved impaired driving, and the Austin Police Department is stepping up their enforcement in response.

For the last 17 years, the Austin Police Department has used a dedicated DWI enforcement team of a dozen police officers to go after drunk drivers. They help patrol officers respond to DWI arrests and do blood alcohol tests, but the department hasn’t staffed the unit seven days a week. 

Right now, the unit only works Tuesday through Saturday, even though DWI fatality crashes occur every night of the week, especially on Sundays. Of the nearly fifty traffic fatalities so far this year, 18 occurred on Sunday and Monday. 


There are a couple of new trends in Austin transportation that will change the pace, and on some streets the direction, of traffic.

In an effort to make downtown streets safer and more attractive to Austinites on foot or on bike, the city has been converting certain one-way streets downtown into two-way streets. And the city is also working on some upgrades to traffic signal systems, with a goal of alleviating some of the red light frustrations drivers face downtown.