downtown

City Hall Hustle
4:58 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

City Hall Hustle: What’s Up With Downtown Parking?

A detail of a city map designating the Central Business District, aka downtown.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Hustle on the perils of parking

In a few days, downtown Austin will be overrun with crowds for South by Southwest – so why is the city practically doing away with downtown parking requirements?

“Many cities are reducing or eliminating their parking requirements as a means of reducing congestion,” argued Chris Riley, the Austin City Council’s resident transportation wonk. Coincidentally, he's the prime proponent of a measure deep-sixing most parking requirements downtown.

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Austin City Council
4:11 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

One-Way or Another, Parking, Bike Lanes Coming to Rainey Street

Mobility improvements to the Rainey district are coming, along with an option to make the street one-way.
City of Austin

Transportation and Public Works officials briefed the Austin City Council today on proposed renovations to Rainey Street, the popular entertainment district plagued with more than its fair share of parking and transportation problems.

Officials said converting Rainey Street to a one-way street could add metered parking spaces, two bike lanes, and increased accessibility for those with disabilities, but also presented another, less drastic, proposal that would keep the street a two-way. 

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Downtown
10:05 am
Fri January 25, 2013

The 'Most Beautiful Buildings' You’ve Never Noticed: The Seaholm Intake Structures

These buildings on the waterfront used to channel water to Seaholm Power Plant. Now the city is looking for advice on what to do with them.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

When it comes to Austin architecture, the Seaholm Power Plant is about as iconic as it gets.

But absent its art deco signage and smokestacks, there’s another component of Seaholm that’s less celebrated but even more unique: the intake structures perched directly over Lady Bird Lake, which used to deliver cooling water to the power plant and a since-demolished water plant nearby.

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Crime
11:49 am
Thu January 10, 2013

TABC Yanks Liquor Licenses at Yassine Bars

The revocation of liquor licenses for several shuttered bars downtown means new nightclubs can open in their wake.
flickr.com/tiemposdelruido

In the wake of an ongoing drug and money laundering scandal, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has canceled the liquor licenses of nine downtown clubs operated by the Yassine family.

As KUT News previously reported, the clubs have been closed since March of last year, when the Yassine brothers were arrested on federal drug, weapon and money laundering charges.

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Real Estate
1:15 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Average Cost for a New Condo in Downtown Austin: $1 Million

Old and the new: The Austonian towers over an alleyway in downtown Austin.
flickr.com/atmtx

If you need more proof of a changing Austin, try this: average prices for a new “luxury” condominium downtown passed $1 million for the first time last year.

That’s according to Charles Heimsath, whose company, Capitol Market Research, compiled the numbers.  He says prices are high because supply is limited to only four buildings – the Four Seasons Residences, the Austonian, the W Residences, and the Spring Condominium tower– with no new ones under construction.

Heimsath says there are no downtown condo projects currently under construction, because it’s hard for developers to borrow money.

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Downtown
9:36 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Downtown's New Post Office Opens Today

The post office at Fifth Street and Guadalupe in happier days.
Wikimedia Commons user WhisperToMe, http://bit.ly/ZUddgq

Austin's new downtown post office is opening today at 823 Congress Ave.

The new 7,118-square-foot postal facility will provide full postal retail services and house PO boxes for postal customers with ZIP codes 78767 and 78768. The hours of operation will remain the same: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed on Saturday and Sunday.

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Austin
2:25 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

The Surprising Reason Austin Chose an Artificial Tree for the Texas State Capitol

Crowds marvel at the tree outside the Texas State Capitol during the 2012 Sing-Along and Holiday Stroll.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT Austin

You can’t miss the Christmas tree outside the Texas State Capitol this year. Standing 45 feet tall, it’s adorned with 137,000 LED lights, and synched to seasonal music.

It’s also, in a break with tradition, artificial.

Each holiday, the Downtown Austin Alliance is tasked with trimming the tree just outside the Capitol gates. 

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Downtown
11:45 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Photos: Inside Downtown Austin’s New Federal Courthouse

The Jury Assembly room features natural light and colorful artwork.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A new United States Courthouse for the Western District of Texas opened in downtown Austin this week.

The decidedly modern space, designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, is a departure from the stodgy, unimaginative architecture associated with government buildings. The 230,000 square foot building is stark, clean and geometric on the outside. Inside, wood tones warm the courtrooms, natural light works its way into common areas, and a stunning piece of artwork inside the entryway provides more color.

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Downtown
2:48 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

How Downtown Austin Lost Two Parking Spaces - And Gained a 'Parklet'

Patrons utilize the new street patio installed on Congress Avenue.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

609 Congress Ave. has its two parking spots occupied – and you can circle the block all you want, but you won’t get a space there.

That’s because the two spots in front of the Royal Blue Grocery have been converted into a street patio. With the city’s blessing, Royal Blue has converted the spots as part of a pilot program testing the feasibility of future conversions.

The idea behind the street patio is to make the city more pedestrian-friendly and less auto-centric. “The two parking spaces at 609 Congress are estimated to have housed about five cars per day total,” reads a release from the office of Chris Riley, the Austin City Council’s resident urban design wonk. “If this ‘street patio’ performs as successfully as the ones in other cities have, that space will be opened up to hundreds of people to use each day.”

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Formula 1
8:24 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Map: F1-Related Street Closures (Update)


View Formula 1 Closures for Nov. 15 in a larger map

Update: The city has partnered with the University of Texas to allow Centennial Park to be a shuttle pick-up and drop off location. As a result, UT says there may be heavy traffic in the area bound by the perimeter of Trinity Street, MLK Boulevard, I-35 and East 15th Street.

"R" Permit holders for the Trinity Garage will need to relocate for the weekend. "F" and "S" permit holders are not required to relocate, but the University has suggested it. "F" and "S" permit holders may park free of charge at any of university garage, with the exception of the Conference Center Garage (CCG) and Manor Garage (MAG). For more information, check out UT's Formula One parking guide.

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Mexican American Cultural Center
11:28 am
Tue November 13, 2012

What Do You Want to See Next to the MACC? (Updated)

The city wants to find a use for the empty lot that will benefit the cultural center.
flickr.com/mirsasha

Update: The first of two community meetings on what to do with land next to the Mexican American Cultural Center is occurring tonight. Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department “is seeking community input to develop a range of options” for the parcel neighboring the center. The meeting is at the Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St., at 6:30 p.m.

Original Post (Nov. 2, 11:11 a.m.): The Mexican American Cultural Center is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” with a family-friendly event tomorrow.

But sugar skulls aren't the only attraction. The public is also invited to use the event to share input on what should happen to the lot next to the cultural center.

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Crime
6:49 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Are There Juggalo Gangs in Austin? (Update)

An anonymous cop says that Juggalo gangs may be responsible for a rise in crime downtown.
clockwise from left; FBI, Ohio Attorney General's Office

Update: A commenter below and others on social media have noted Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo was asked about the FOX 7 story on KLBJ 93.7's "Dudley and Bob Show" this morning. Some believe he disputed the report on Juggalo gang members in Austin.

KUT News spoke with Chief Acevedo this afternoon. He says he does not dispute the content of FOX 7's reporting.

Original Post (12:47 p.m.): Has the dark carnival spread to Austin?

An anonymous Austin Police detective is saying that Juggalo gangs – fans of rap crew the Insane Clown Posse engaged in criminal activity – may be responsible for an increase in downtown crime.

FOX 7 News reports:

“The crimes associated with Juggalos include assaults, thefts and drug use.

‘They're doing a lot of pocket checks where they use force to take something from somebody. Or they'll come up [and] pick someone's pocket,’ the detective said.

The victims, officers say, are downtown patrons who have had too much to drink. The homeless have also been targeted.”

For those not in the know, Insane Clown Posse is a Detroit-based rap group that has slowly amassed one of the most devoted fanbases in underground music.

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Transportation
3:55 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

The City Hopes These Signs and Kiosks Will Help You Navigate Downtown Austin

Design plans also include signs displaying parking garage capacity.
MERJE, via the City of Austin

The Austin City Council hopes to make downtown Austin easier to get around.

The city's Planning and Development Review Department presented progress on the Downtown Austin Wayfinding System this morning. Under this plan, inconsistent and vague signs downtown would become more uniform and detailed. Gateways into downtown (like the passage under I-35 on Seventh Street) would also get a facelift.

In addition to increased signage, the design firm the city has contracted with – Pennsylvania-based MERJE – has created signs that are in step with international logos for parking, transportation, information and more, with an Austin flair. 

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Police
1:29 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

No Charges for Driver Shot at by Police While Fleeing Sixth Street

A screen shot from an amateur video capturing the aftermath of the incident on Sixth Street.
YouTube

Austin police say no charges will be filed against a driver who police fired on on Sixth Street over the weekend.

As KUT News previously reported, shortly after 2 a.m. early Sunday morning an Austin police officer opened fire on a car that the officer said was driving straight at him after hitting two bystanders.

YNN Austin quoted police chief Art Acevedo’s description of the scene: "This person, for unknown reasons, decided to rapidly accelerate to the extent that she left acceleration skid mark on the pavement … And not only drove toward civilian victims – and struck civilian victims – but also drove toward the officer and refused to stop until shots rang out."

But this afternoon, police announced no charges would be filed against the unnamed motorist, whom they described as fleeing the scene quickly out of concern for her safety.

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Austin
9:23 am
Fri October 12, 2012

City Holds On to Rainey St. Land Near Cultural Center

Due to council action, the Mexican American Cultural Center won't have to contend with a nearby parking garage.
flickr.com/mirsasha

The Austin City Council voted late last night to remove a plot of land next to the Mexican American Cultural Center from consideration for sale or development. Instead, the City Manager will develop options for using the land for parks and recreation.

MACC officials asked the council not to sell the land for development because they feared it would limit the visibility of the center and impede its plans for future expansion. MACC Advisory Board Chair Juan Oyervides told KUT News earlier this week the board had expressed interest in the land earlier this year, and “were shocked to suddenly see a For Sale sign [on the property].”

The council will discuss by December what will ultimately happen to the land. Council also approved a broader resolution “directing the City Manager to develop a review process for potential real estate sales of City-owned land.”

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