As the Texas Department of Transportation looks for ideas for the future of I-35, one vision is being proposed that could drastically alter Central Austin.
The so-called “Cut & Cap” plan, which was proposed by urban designer and architect Sinclair Black, would submerge I-35 underground from River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, and cover the highway with an urban boulevard and a park.
Black has estimated the cost of the project at about $550 million.
This morning, the Austin City Council met to debate the worthiness of approving an economic impact analysis for the “Cut & Cap” plan. This Thursday, the Council will vote on a resolution that would study the plan’s financial viability.
Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, had this to say about the potential design:
“Cities across the country are engaging in innovative approaches to the design and use of their aging highway infrastructure and seeing them as opportunities for new boulevards and parks. As a result, neighborhoods have been stitched back together, noise and smog have been reduced, and real estate values have increased. TXDoT is currently considering various mobility scenarios that increase our transportation capacity and the city is interested in maximizing the options under consideration to include new approaches.”
For more information on the proposed “Cut & Cap” plan you can visit Sinclair Black’s Reconnect Austin site here, and watch a video below.
They liked what they saw: Today, the council unanimously voted to approve the design plan developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with little argument.
Some council members expressed concern about how much control council would have over the project since the Waller Creek Conservancy, a non-profit formed to raise money for the park project, will pay for some of it.
“My big concern is that it allows corporate naming. I, for one, can’t support anything that would allow half of Waterloo Park to be named ‘McDonald’s Park,” said council member Laura Morrison.
But, the developers eased their concerns by reminding the council that if they named the park after McDonald’s someone in Austin would “surely take their heads.”
This step forward for the Waller Creek development is a big one, but as developers and council members reminded the audience at Austin City Hall: “This is going to be a long process.”
Austin Energy is turning to the wind to power the city’s future.
Austin City Council members will look at a contract today that increases the amount of renewable energy purchased by Austin Energy to 35 percent from 25 percent.
The planned purchase would be close to $400 million worth of wind energy for the next 25 years. Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark said this happening mostly because of good pricing from the producers.
“What we try to do is take advantage of opportunities, and the wind contracts we are taking to council represent very good opportunities,” Clark said. “The pricing is very competitive with any other type of generation available in Texas.”
The wind energy would come from about 100 turbines on the southern Texas coast and will not require Austin Energy to invest any additional money into their maintenance.
Texas Music Matters host David Brown Interviews The Baptist Generals’ front man Chris Flemons. The feature was produced by Hady Mawajdeh for the May 17, 2013 broadcast.
It all started a few years back when Derek was dealing the heartbreak of a failed engagement. His sister and her husband convinced him to participate in a performance art piece, and soon after, the three moved to Austin. The band’s current lineup was rounded out by multi-instrumentalist and San Antonio native Mars Wright and bassist Ryker Brown.
Borrisokane’s first EP Disaster Face earned the group praise from the Austin press for “creating a strong atmosphere through use of space and cavernous sounds.” Their newest EP, Murdering Teeth, is sure to do the same thanks in part to a new sound that is filled with surf guitar hooks, reverb, and brightly layered keyboards.
Murdering Teeth was released digitally on May 14th, and Borrisokane is having their EP release party this Friday, May 17th at 8 PM with fellow Austin bands Black Books and Tiger Waves at the famous Scottish Rite Theater.