Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

There’s a relatively new neighborhood in Northeast Austin with new homes and new businesses. Someday there may even be a school there. It’s built on land that used to be Austin’s airport – named after a city council member from the 1920s.

Those facts are clear.

What's not so clear is how to properly say the neighborhood’s name.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The Austin City Council has approved the ballot language for the city-wide election to be held in May on regulating ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The language asks voters if they wish to repeal regulations that prohibit fingerprinting requirements for drivers, require distinctive emblems on vehicles, and prohibit drivers from loading and unloading passengers in travel lanes.

Austin History Center, PICA 03597

If you’ve ever lived – or even spent a weekend – in Austin, you know we’ve got a thing about street names – namely, mispronouncing them. There’s GWAD-a-loop. BURN-it, MAY-ner and MAN-chack, or Manchaca.

While there have been plenty of debates on pronunciation, there’s a larger debate on who or what exactly the Austin street’s namesake is – whether it’s a memorial to a San Antonio-born Texas revolutionary or a Bayou in Louisiana.

Sean C. Murphy / JOEY PARSONS HTTP://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/JOEYPARSONS / Matt Largey

For the third installment of ATXplained, we're looking back a bit to explain the history of some of Austin's most recognizable locales. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

There have been plenty of critics of the work the Austin City Council’s done over the past year. Tuesday night, Austin Mayor Steve Adler delivered his second State of the City Address – offering a defense of their work.

The Mayor was cautious in summing up the past year’s achievements.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

A few weeks ago we asked you to tell us what you want to know about Austin. It’s a project we’re calling ATXplained. You sent in dozens of questions you wanted us to investigate. We narrowed it down to one by letting the public vote at KUT.org. The story those voters chose is about traffic light synchronization, and when all of Austin’s lights will be synchronized.

KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy looked into it.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT News

Austin Mayor Steve Adler delivers his State of the City address Tuesday evening. Titled “Great Cities Do Big Things,” it’s the second annual address of Adler’s term as mayor. He delivered his first in April of 2015, after the city's new 10-1 council had been active for about 100 days.

Tuesday night's State of the City starts at 7:00 at the Zach Theatre on South Lamar. You can watch a live stream at the city's website here.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

Austin voters will decide on a petition-driven ordinance drawn up by ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. 

The Austin City Council rejected the ordinance on an 8-2 vote (Council Member Don Zimmerman abstained), which means the ordinance will go to a public referendum on May 7.

The election will cost the city an estimated $500,000 to $800,000.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Given that it’s in a government building, the painting that hangs outside Mayor Steve Adler’s office is a bizarre choice. It’s a portrait of a cat – its head crowned in what looks like a steel headdress, with an ornate keyhole at its center. Behind the cat’s head, canoes full of sushi float atop a body of water. Chopsticks stand in for paddles. If nothing else is clear – and little is – the cat wields enormous power over these pieces of sushi. The canoes carrying them appear to be rowing toward it in an act of obedience.


Screenshot via YouTube

In May, Austin voters will decide the future of ride-hailers Uber and Lyft, putting to rest an escalating debate about how the city should regulate these businesses. 

But the city has seen this fight before – 100 years ago.

Mike Blizzard via Twitter

When you Google image search Rachel Kania and Tori Moreland, you'll find each of them in similarly staged photos, each wearing a collared shirt and pearls, each standing in front of what looks to be a tall wooden fence – as if they're keeping someone out, but in a friendly way, like a genial neighbor would.

The Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor: The cost of a large expansion of U.S. Highway 183 in Northwest Austin officially nearly tripled on Monday night.

At its monthly meeting, the Transportation Policy Board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to amend its long-range plan to increase the price of the 183 North Mobility Project from $225.7 million to $650 million.

UPDATE: After seven days of voting, we have a winner for the next round of ATXplained. We're already hard at work getting the answer to the winning question, so stay tuned!

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

It’s been just over a year since the City of Austin’s hands-free ordinance went into effect and, in 2015, Austin Police officers cited more than 5,000 drivers in Austin for using devices while behind the wheel.

While that number may seem steep to some, it’s just the start, as APD plans to diversify enforcement efforts and work to integrate hand-held enforcement efforts into the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Lyft via youtube

From the Austin Monitor: Mayor Steve Adler on Sunday revealed that he has been working with a representative of Lyft, one of the transportation network companies that has been backing an initiative on the May 7 ballot to prevent the city from enforcing mandatory fingerprinting for TNC drivers. Adler said he has been discussing with attorney Michael Whellan, who represents Lyft, the idea of entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the TNCs.

Mike Blizzard via Twitter

Updated: Feb. 9, 2:00 p.m. According to the City of Austin's website, the Austin4All PAC filed its treasurer appointment form Monday.

An effort to remove Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen may have hit a bump. On Friday, a local attorney filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission against the political action committee (PAC) organizing the recall.


Photo Illustration: Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

It appears more likely voters will decide the future of regulations for ride-hailing companies in Austin.

Next week the Austin City Council will decide whether to adopt rules written by Uber and Lyft, or put them to a public vote. A petition by Ridesharing Works for Austin calling for those rules was certified Tuesday by the city clerk. The rules do not include fingerprint background checks for drivers – as some council members would like to see.

Mike Blizzard via Twitter

The Austin Monitor reports: While the city clerk still has not received a promised petition seeking the recall of Council Member Ann Kitchen, the Texas Ethics Commission has received four complaints filed against the group behind the alleged effort.

Austin attorney Fred Lewis filed the four complaints on Friday morning. They name Austin4All PAC, Rachel Kania, Tori Moreland, and Joe Basel as respective respondents.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

Antonio Mancinas, 68, leans against a tree in his front yard. He lives in a house with his wife at the end of Sam Rayburn Drive in the Rundberg neighborhood. Despite having spent roughly a quarter of a century on the street, he thinks back just a few years.

“Just imagine,” he says. “We were always afraid. It was dangerous, never knowing when there was going to be a shootout.”


April King via Wikipedia

Another Groundhog Day has come and gone and, despite the predictable smattering of Bill Murray-related memes, there’s not much solace in the promise of an early spring in a state like Texas. The state has its own version of the holiday based right here in Central Texas and, as one Waco writer put, “the groundhog knows no more about the weather than a man who has only been in Texas two days.”

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