On Thursday evening, Austin City Council will consider adopting the East Riverside Corridor (ERC) Regulating Plan, a set of design regulations that will shape future development along Riverside Drive east of Interstate 35. Erika Leak, principal planner, says the council will discuss the plan at or after 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Significant redevelopment has already begun along the corridor, which the City of Austin envisions as a more pedestrian-friendly, mixed-income district of homes and businesses. If the regulations pass, future development would conform with new codes that would determine building heights and placement and encourage shaded public areas and alternatives to getting around by car, such as walking, cycling and transit. Read an Oct. 31 blog post to learn more about the ERC Regulating Plan.
East Riverside Drive figures prominently in the city’s plans for a comprehensive transit network that is expected to include an urban rail line. Austinites have not yet voted on urban rail, but Project Connect, a partnership between the City of Austin and area transportation agencies, began holding public meetings in February about a regional transportation plan that would incorporate urban rail, commuter rail, regional rail, rapid bus lines and express toll lanes. The city’s proposed design for the ERC includes an urban rail line and several transit plazas along East Riverside Drive.
A rail election is not expected until 2014, according to a Feb. 23 Austin American-Statesman article.
City Council Meeting
March 7, 2013
Austin City Hall
301 W. Second Street
Contact: Erica Leak, City of Austin Planning and Development Review Department, 974-2856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: Austin City Council has twice given preliminary approval to the regulating plan, at their March 7 and April 25 meetings, reaching a compromise with owners of drive-through restaurants, which initially were banned by the new rules because of conflicts with the walkable district the city has in mind. Under the current agreement, existing drive-throughs will be allowed to remain even if they are extensively remodeled.
The plan still needs final approval before it can take effect, and the last reading is scheduled for the May 9 City Council meeting.