K2, I-35 underpass lighting on Austin City Council agenda

Homeless camp located under the 8th Street bridge at Waller Creek in downtown Austin. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
Homeless camp located under the 8th Street bridge at Waller Creek in downtown Austin. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Among Thursday’s agenda items, Austin City Council is set to take on health and safety concerns tied to the homeless, as well as a housing plan that hopes to help people stay in their homes.

IH-35 Underpass Lighting project
This item calls for the execution of a construction contract for the project. The two parking lots under the Interstate 35 overpass between East Sixth and East Eighth Streets are federally owned lots, but fall under the city’s control through an interlocal agreement. According to the agenda, the transportation department, in cooperation with Texas Department of Transportation, received approval to use parking lot revenues for underpass lighting along the IH-35 corridor. The goal is to improve driver safety along underpasses at Holly Street, Cesar Chavez Street, Fourth, Sixth,Seventh,Eighth, and Fifteenth Streets. While the item is not time sensitive, city staff indicates a delay could impact driver safety.

K2 resolution supporting efforts “to address the urgent public health situation”
This resolution formally supports the city’s ongoing efforts to develop a public safety plan in response to the public health/public safety situation Austin is experiencing due to K2/Spice. The resolution lays out support of a public health education campaign regarding the dangers of the drug and those similar to it, and asks the city manager to identify what other resources may be necessary to address the urgent issue. Last week, the Austin Police Department announced it was increasing patrols around the ARCH downtown, to target dealers selling the drug overwhelmingly to the homeless population.

Austin Strategic Housing Plan
Council will consider an ordinance to adopt the Austin Strategic Housing Plan as an element of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. Council members have presented resolutions to be considered though, in regards to the city’s first plan of its kind. One has to do with procedures for implementing affordable housing goals within the plan. The other, relates to preserving and creating affordable housing along certain corridors.

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