Oct. 7 Is National Night Out

Mark your calendars for National Night Out, an annual event that promotes neighbors knowing neighbors and working together to prevent crime. This year the Burleson Heights and Burleson Parker neighborhoods will celebrate on Oct. 7.

Turn on your porch lights, bring a flashlight and join your neighbors for an outdoor celebration in your area. Officer Gabriel Guillen, our Austin Police Department District Representative, has been invited to attend both events, and some District 3 City Council candidates might also drop by.

Burleson Heights: Meeting and light snacks, 6-8:30 p.m., 2809 Ware Road
Burleson-Parker: Potluck supper, 6-9 p.m., 3201 Laguna Drive

For more information on the celebrations and to stay in touch with your neighbors, join the message board for your area.

To learn more about crime prevention, attend one of the Austin Police Department’s monthly Commander’s Forums. The next forum for our area, Region 3, will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Austin Police Department East Substation, 812 Springdale Road.

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Todd Lane construction begins

A major improvement project on Todd Lane got its start on Sept. 15, and will transform a heavily traveled narrow road into a wider, safer street designed to handle automobile, bus, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Southbound traffic is being detoured onto Woodward Street during construction, which is expected to last a year and a half.

The City of Austin is widening Todd Lane and adding bike lanes, sidewalks and a roundabout.

The City of Austin is widening Todd Lane and adding bike lanes, sidewalks, a roundabout, safer crosswalks and better drainage.

The project will widen Todd Lane to three lanes, including a center turn lane, plus 6-foot-wide bicycle lanes separated from other traffic by 2-foot-wide buffers. New 10-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides of the road will provide much-needed pedestrian access, which will also include four crosswalks that will alert drivers with flashing hybrid beacons when someone needs to cross the street. The number of bus stops will double from two to four. (See how construction will affect bus routes at the Capital Metro service alert page.)

Construction also will add two biofiltration ponds and seven rain gardens landscaped with native plants. Most water will be captured on-site and allowed to seep into the ground, but heavy overflow will go into a new storm drain. The drainage improvements will take the place of the shallow ditch that previously carried water off the curbless road.

“Traditionally, drainage on country roads is provided by bar ditches,” said project manager Clay Harris of the City of Austin Public Works Department. “We’re not in the country anymore.”

The final piece of the project will be the city’s largest roundabout, Harris said. Located at the four-way intersection of Todd Lane, St. Elmo Road and Pleasant Valley Road, the 120-foot-wide traffic circle has been designed to handle traffic from several kinds of users, including truck traffic at this confluence of industrial parks, office parks and residential neighborhoods.

Construction will take place in several phases. Phase 1, on the west side of Todd Lane, will last until summer 2015. Phase 2, on the east side of the road, will take another six months. Phase 3 will then build the roundabout at St. Elmo Road.

The project got off to a slow start, delayed by the relocation of utilities by AT&T, Harris says. He first described the project in a Burleson Heights Neighborhood Association meeting in August 2013. Learn more about the project and meeting in the Aug. 15, 2013, Hurly-Burly post. More details are at the city’s list of Public Works projects.

Originally, one lane of southbound Burleson Road had been closed at the Ben White Boulevard (Texas 71) intersection to prepare drivers for the road closure and detour during the 18-month project. However, at the neighborhood’s request, Harris and the Transportation Department agreed to keep all three lanes of Burleson open. The left lane will head straight in preparation for a left turn under the overpass, the center lane will go straight or right, and the right lane will turn right, allowing drivers to head west toward downtown and the Todd Lane detour via Woodward Street.

Contact: Clay Harris, project manager, Clay.Harris@AustinTexas.gov or (512) 974-7895

Update: The city reopened the third lane at the Burleson-Ben White intersection on Oct. 14. 

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City Council, mayoral candidate forums coming up

Under the new single-member district plan, the Burleson Heights and Burleson-Parker neighborhoods are in District 3, which includes parts of South, East and Southeast Austin. (Click to enlarge.)

Under the new single-member district plan, the Burleson Heights and Burleson-Parker neighborhoods are in District 3, which includes parts of South, East and Southeast Austin. (Click to enlarge.)

Austinites will have the opportunity to get to know their City Council and mayoral candidates better in the coming weeks in several series of debates.

Coming up first is Ballot Boxing, a series of candidate forums sponsored by The Austin Chronicle, The Austin Monitor, KUT News, KXAN and Univision. The forums are free and open to the public, and will stream online. See the schedule for all 11 forums, held Sept. 8-Oct. 15.
Ballot Boxing District 3 candidate forum
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 15
Where: The North Door, 502 Brushy St.
RSVP: The Hall Monitor
Listen: Listen to KUT’s audio of the District 3 forum, or watch KXAN’s video.
Update: The Austin Chronicle shared highlights of the forum, including where the candidates stand on urban rail and urban farms.

Several nonprofit and environmentalist groups, including Public Citizen and Sierra Club, are hosting candidate forums relating to Austin Energy. Candidates will be asked questions about energy sources, affordability, and governance of the city-owned utility. The events are open to the public. See a schedule for all six forums, held Sept. 12-29.
Districts 2 & 3 candidate forum — energy issues
When: 6 p.m. Sept. 19
Where: Austin JATC Electrical Training Center, 4000 Caven Road
More information: See the event’s Facebook page.

The City of Austin and the League of Women Voters are also hosting a series of candidate forums this month. The events are open to the public and will be broadcast and streamed online. See the schedule for all 11 forums, held Sept. 4-Oct. 1.
District 3 candidate forum
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30
Where: Montopolis Recreation Center, 1200 Montopolis Drive
More information: See details at the city’s 10-One website.
Listen: Watch the forum on ATXN (formerly Chanel 6), listen on KAZI 88.7 FM, or watch live or archived online.

The same organizations will hold forums for candidates for mayor. See the following links for more information.
Ballot Boxing mayoral forum: 7 p.m. Oct. 15
Energy mayoral forum: 7 p.m. Sept. 29
City/League of Women Voters mayoral forum: 6 p.m. Oct. 1

The South Austin Civic Club is hosting a forum led by South Austin high school students, who will interview City Council District 2, 3, 5 and 8 candidates. Celebrity judges grade the panelists, awarding a trophy to the winning school. The public is welcome.
South Austin Civic Club Student-Candidate Forum
When: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 22
Where: Covington Middle School, 3700 Convict Hill Road

Learn more about the election and the District 3 City Council candidates in the Aug. 28 blog post in the Hurly-Burly or a Sept. 23 profile in the Austin American-Statesman. Look for the League’s Voters Guide in the Oct. 20 issue of the Austin American-Statesman or at the League of Women Voters’ website.

If you know of additional candidate forums, you can submit the information to the Hurly-Burly using the Contact Form.

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Survey will help city prioritize projects in our neighborhoods

In 2006, area residents helped decide what our neighborhood would be like in the future by working with the city on the East Riverside/Oltorf Combined (EROC) Neighborhood Plan.

Now the city would like your help prioritizing the projects that were recommended during that process. Projects include watershed protection; park and trail projects; traffic studies and signs; pedestrian and cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks; code amendments and enforcement; and changes to development and zoning rules.

You can review the list of projects in the Parker Lane section of EROC (see map), which includes the Burleson Heights and Burleson-Parker neighborhoods. Then take the Neighborhood Plan Prioritization Survey to help determine the five capital improvement projects and five noncapital improvement projects that are most important for the city to tackle over the next few years.

For more information, contact Jackie Chuter, senior planner, at (512) 974-2613 or jackie.chuter@austintexas.gov; or Malcolm Yeatts of the EROC Contact Team at myeatts@austin.rr.com.

Additional information on the neighborhood planning areas is available at the city’s Planning and Development Review website.

The deadline to complete the survey is Sept. 22.

Posted in City projects, Cycling, Parks and recreation, Traffic, Transportation, Water quality | Leave a comment

Meet your City Council candidates tonight

Burleson Heights is hosting an informal meeting with the candidates for the newly created District 3 City Council seat.

Under the 10-1 plan approved by Austin voters in 2012, Austin will be divided into 10 districts, each represented by one City Cοuncil member elected by residents in that district. The City Council will no longer be elected by Austinites at large.

Use the links at left to find your district or see a map of the new City Council districts.

Use the links at left to find your district, see a map of the new City Council districts and learn more about city government.

Burleson Heights and the Burleson-Parker neighborhoods are in District 3, which includes parts of East, South and Southeast Austin. View a PDF of the district map, or enter your address in the city portal to find out which district you’re in. You can learn more about the  Austin City Council and the new 10-1 districting plan from the City of Austin websites.

Following the Nov. 4 election, the new City Council will take office on Jan. 1, 2015.

So far six of the 12 candidates have confirmed that they will attend. Candidates who have qualified for the ballot include:

  • Susana Almanza, director of the nonprofit People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources
  • Mario Cantu, EMT/paramedic
  • Julian Fernandez, musician
  • Chris Hoerster, student
  • Shaun Ireland, intergovernmental affairs director of a natural resources business
  • Fred McGhee, archaeologist/author/professor
  • Kent Phillips, pharmacy technician
  • Jose Quintero, project foreman
  • Eric Rangel, special projects coordinator at Texas Department of Transportation
  • Sabino “Pio” Renteria, retired customer service representative for IBM
  • Ricardo Turullols-Bonilla, high school science teacher
  • Jose Valera, attorney and restaurant owner

The event will be held outdoors, and residents are welcome to drop by and visit. Water will be available, but you may also bring other drinks or snacks.

City Council candidates meeting
When: 6:30 p.m. tonight, Aug. 28
Where: 2809 Ware Road

Update: The Austin American-Statesman profiled the 12 District 3 candidates in a Sept. 23 article.

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Bulk collection next week

Coming up the week of July 28, the Austin Resource Recovery department will collect items that are too big to fit in trash and recycling bins.

Every six months, the city collects items that are too bulky to fit into trash and recycling bins.

Every six months, the city collects items that are too bulky to fit into trash and recycling bins.

Place items for pickup at the curb by 6:30 a.m. on Monday, divided into separate piles for metal items, nonmetal items, mattresses and tires. Be sure to remove nails from lumber, gas and oil from barbecue grills and lawnmowers, and doors from appliances.

You also have other options for disposing of used appliances and metal:

  • Drop them off at the city’s Resource Recovery Center, located just south of the neighborhood at 3810 Todd Lane.
  • Sell them for scrap metal at a metal recycling center such as nearby CMC Commercial Metals, 710 Industrial Blvd.
  • Receive $50 to recycle functioning refrigerators and freezers through Austin Energy, which will pick up qualifying appliances and mail you a check within six weeks.

See the city’s bulk collection website for a list of what city crews can and can’t pick up.

Do you have an item that doesn’t fit the categories for trash, recycling or bulk collection? Visit the city’s What do I do with … page to find ways to dispose of or find a better use for it.

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Google Fiber permits hint at first “fiberhoods”

It’s been more than a year since Google Inc. announced plans to bring Google Fiber to Austin, leading neighborhoods to wonder which would be the first to get the ultra-fast broadband service.

City-issued permits offer clues about where the neighborhoods that might get Google Fiber when the service is available late this year.

City-issued permits offer clues about which neighborhoods  might get Google Fiber first.

But ever since the company allowed potential customers to request service in their ZIP codes, it’s been silent on which areas have had enough demand to make the cut as the first “fiberhoods.”

Now a review of city permits offers some clues to who might be first to get the 1-gigabit Internet service. Read the Austin American-Statesman’s report about how parts of South and Southeast Austin have the most permits to install fiber-optic cable, and see an interactive map showing which streets have permits.

The Austin American-Statesman compiled a map showing the concentration of permits to install fiber-optic cable in South and Southeast Austin.

The Austin American-Statesman’s map shows the concentration of permits in South and Southeast Austin.

The permits could come as good news for residents along several Burleson Heights-area streets — including Burleson Road, Oltorf Street, Santa Monica Drive and Pleasant Valley Road — but they don’t come as a complete surprise.

For about six months, residents who have talked with fiber installers taking measurements along utility poles have been told that this area is likely to be among the first or second in town to get Google Fiber. The service will probably be available in the first fiberhoods by late this year, according to the Statesman story.

What have you heard? You can use the “Leave a comment” link below to let your neighbors know.

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