Austin housing, traffic to be discussed by City Council

The Grove at Shoal Creek rendering (The Grove Photo)
The Grove at Shoal Creek rendering (The Grove Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The highly debated issues of a mobility bond and a central Austin planned unit development are up for council discussion Thursday.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the top issues:

Mobility Bond

At Thursday’s meeting, the public has the opportunity to weigh in on a mobility bond as council members work to develop ballot language and project lists ahead of an Aug. 22 deadline. The mayor is pushing for “smart corridor” plans that include traffic improvements on South and North Lamar Boulevard, Airport Boulevard, Riverside Drive, Burnet Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Guadalupe Street and FM 969.

The plans aim to move more people, faster and more safely, within the same amount of space. Examples of improvements include adding turn lanes so drivers aren’t stuck waiting for another to turn, creating protected bike paths to separate cyclists from traffic, creating bus pullouts to allow traffic to flow when buses stop and installing smart traffic lights that can be timed remotely. If voters approve the bond come November, it would cost those living in a home worth $250,000 an additional $5 a month.

Indigent Defendants, Austin Municipal Court – Passed

This resolution aims to ensure indigent defendants in municipal court will not be jailed for failing to pay fines they cannot afford. The city manager and presiding judge would be directed to draft guidelines to determining how many hours of community service would potentially create an necessary hardship for defendants.The guidelines would factor in the person’s age, responsibility for dependents, physical impairment and weekly work volume.

“The Grove at Shoal Creek” PUD – Postponed to Sept. 22 at the request of the neighborhood

Months of controversy over the makeup of a 75-acre planned unit development know as “The Grove at Shoal Creek” is expected to land before the full council, with a public hearing scheduled Thursday. Debates have largely centered around the need for more affordable housing and parkland, traffic concerns, and the overall magnitude of the project within the given space.

The PUD will include various types of homes, including affordable housing, along with retail and parkland on land the state used to own. After six hours of testimony last month at a special called Zoning and Platting Commission meeting, members voted 6-4 to recommend council approve zoning changes for The Grove.

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