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by Adam Hammons, Tuesday, September 26th 2017, CBS Austin (KEYE)

"A West Austin neighborhood is fighting to slow down traffic on their own street, and they’re working on their own to get the city’s attention.

There is just one street to get in and out of the Lost Creek neighborhood. Lost Creek Boulevard spans from Loop 360 to Barton Creek Blvd. Homeowners say that street has become dangerous.

“Now we have turned into something akin to a highway,” homeowner Sandy Kerr said.

Kerr lives off Lost Creek, and says speed has become a major problem over the years. Years ago, a teenager rolled over and crashed on the edge of her yard. One teen was killed.
That crash is why she planted a palm tree in the spot where the car went into the yard.

“When you see someone die in your front yard, it makes you creative,” Kerr said. “I just didn’t want to have that happen again.”

Recently, phone apps have brought even more cars on the street. That’s because at times the road can be used as a cut-through to get around traffic on Bee Cave or Loop 360.
That traffic doesn’t include just cars.

“These are vehicles that have no business in a neighborhood,” Kerr said.
Commercial trucks also rumble through the neighborhood. Kerr said they shake her house and she’s seen several 18 wheelers she believes have no business with homeowners in the area.

“I think it’s a big issue, I think it’s a big safety issue for the neighborhood,” Paul Schumann with the Lost Creek Civic Organization said.
Schumann has been working with the City of Austin on ways to slow down traffic. The Transportation Department said it’s been talking with homeowners and is working on a speed mitigation solution.

Schumann also wants to point out how big of a problem is trucks going through the neighborhood. That’s why he’s asked all homeowners to help out.
“I sort of enlisted the neighborhood,” Schumann said.

He’s asked everyone to report if they see a commercial truck on Lost Creek Boulevard. If any look like they have no business in the area, then homeowners can go online, fill out a couple questions and even submit a picture.

Schumann said he’s doing this partly because he doesn’t think the city is going fast enough.

“Trying to get their focus on it is always an issue,” Schumann said.

“We’re hoping that this will give them an incentive to show that we’re really interested in it and here’s what we’ve observed maybe we can convince them to do the study legitimately,” Schumann said.

Schumann would like a sign installed that says no truck traffic.

ATD says the speed mitigation program does not include ways to stop truck traffic. They’re just looking at installing speed bumps or other ways to slow traffic.
Kerr said she will help count truck traffic. She says it adds to a problem she knows all too well.

“If it happened just once it might be a freak accident, but if it has happened time after time after time, then something needs to be done,” Kerr said."

http://cbsaustin.com/news/local/west-austin-neighborhood-fighting-back-to-stop-cut-through-traffic

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Lost Creek Wildfire Simulation

Meeting Announcement

Date: October 5, 2017

Time: 7 pm 

Where: Lost Creek Limited District Building, 1305 Quaker Ridge, Austin, TX 78746

Topic:  Wildfire Simulation with a Simtable,  Logan Scherschel, WUI Specialist, Texas A&M Forest Service

To join the LCCO web site, click here.

New Tech to Help AFD Prepare for Future Wildfires
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by Jorge Rodas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite the recent rain, most of west Austin is just a notch below being listed as a very high risk of wildfires.

“In a summer like this summer, the wildfire risk is still high,” said Keri Hines of Texas A&M Forest Service.

Hines’ agency has several Simtables, a high tech tool that allows them to map out wildfire simulations and develop strategies to fight them. With a large sand box and interactive projector overhead, the table simulates the area’s landscape using real-world data.

“The Simtable has really changed the game for training and for mitigation,” she said.

You can adjust wind direction and speed, then ignite a simulated fire. Simtable then projects an image of the fire spreading. Fire agencies use that simulation to create strategies for battling wildfires or look at previous wildfires to review how departments attacked the flames.
“The way that it can project wildfires and their progression just really drives home why we should be prepared,” said Hines.

The Austin City Council recently approved using grant money to purchase Simtable for the Austin Fire Department, but there is no clear timeline for exactly when the department will get it.

To view video, click here.

Simtable Wildfire Simulation Video from Texas A&M Forest Service
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Simtable’s unique training uses interactive agent-based fire modeling, bringing sand table exercises to life in your own high risk areas allowing mitigation and fuels planning in a truly interactive experience.

Texas A&M Video

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Speak Up Austin

You're invited to participate in a new Project

We have exciting news: The FY 2017-18 Public Engagement Report is now available online!

Thanks to Austin residents like you, this year we have received community feedback on City services and residents’ budget priorities through a multitude of venues. This feedback is documented in detail in the Public Engagement Report and includes:

  • Results from the 2016 Austin Community Survey,
  • Results from the Budget Priority Survey,
  • Summaries of 17 Boards and Commissions meetings,
  • Complete Austin Budget Simulator 2.0 data for both Citywide and District-Level results, and
  • Public comments from Austin Budget Simulator 2.0 participants.

 

To read the full report, please visit the Budget Engagement webpage atwww.austintexas.gov/budget  

 

There’s still time to provide feedback on next year’s budget. The City Council currently is considering the proposed budget, found at https://www.austintexas.gov/financeonline/finance/financial_docs.cfm?ws=1&pg=1. The public is invited to provide feedback at two upcoming City Council meetings at City Hall:

  • 4 p.m. Aug. 17
  • 4 p.m. Aug. 31

 

Thank you for taking the time to help us create a budget that works for you!

 

Join Us! Austin Budget Simulator 2.0 - Results Now Available in FY 2017-18 Public Engagement Report


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Lost Creek Blvd.: Security and Safety

Meeting Announcement

Date: August 3, 2017

Time: 7 pm 

Where: Lost Creek Limited District Building, 1305 Quaker Ridge, Austin, TX 78746

Topics:  Lost Creek Blvd.: Security & Safety - Mario Porras, Traffic Calming Program, Anna Martin, Area Engineer for Lost Creek, and Laura Dierenfield, Active Transportation and Street Design Division

Other topics to be discussed are: Civic Priorities Survey, Financial Report, Marshall Tract, CodeNEXT and upcoming programs.

To join the LCCO web site, click here.

Lost Creek Blvd.

In the recent survey of civic priorities, respondents most mentioned topic not covered by existing LCCO plans was Safety & Security. Lost Creek Blvd. was cited as a specific concern.

The last traffic data I have on Lost Creek Blvd. was taken in the summer of 2013, not during the school year when traffic is considerably heavier.  Traffic count and speed was measured at two points along the boulevard - Mauna Kea and between Arronimink and Wilson Heights - over a 24 hour period. At Arronimink and Wilson Heights, 26% of the daily traffic of 8,573 exceeded 35 mph, and at Mauna Kea, 14% of the daily traffic of 2,335 exceeded 35 mph (3 cars were clocked at speeds between 65 and 70 mph).

The comparison of average annual traffic counts for intersections with Loop 360 is shown in the graphic below. In 2005, Lost Creek Blvd. has the  second highest traffic at the intersection.

Residents of Lost Creek feel that the traffic on the boulevard is much higher than indicated by these old data, and that people are driving faster. 

The advent of GPS enabled driving assistants is directing more traffic through Lost Creek. The boulevard was never intended to be a thoroughfare.  This behavior is clearly observable.

Not only is the through traffic composed of cars, but delivery and repair  trucks as well. I personally have observed two instances of tanker trucks carrying flammable liquids through the neighborhood.

There are two EISD elementary schools across Loop 360 from the boulevard. Creating a safe passage for kids is a concern of residents as well.  Sidewalks are not completed over Loop 360 and to the schools, and the boulevard does not have a complete set of sidewalks along it on both sides.

To complicate matters, the boulevard is listed as one of Austin's bicycle paths (map below). The boulevard is not marked for bicycles, nor is parking defined.

At the intersection of Lost Creek Blvd. and Barton Creek, there are additional problems. This area has become an unofficial access to Austin's Barton Creek Wilderness Area. The low water bridge is the only access for EMS, police and firefighters vehicles. The City does not own any land around this unofficial access point. The land is owned by individuals and the Lost Creek Limited District. Parking limits access to the trails by emergency vehicles, creates a nuisance for neighbors and facilitates poor behavior by visitors.

In case of a wildfire threatening Lost Creek, the boulevard is the primary way for evacuation. And, it is the only way for emergency vehicles to serve Lost Creek.

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Austin Bicycle Map
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New Smart Phone App for LCCO
The Lost Creek Civic Organization (LCCO) has an app for smart phones. This app makes it easy for you to stay aware of the external issues affecting Lost Creek. The app provides listings of new entries in the LCCO web site (www.lostcreekcivicorganization.org) in six categories - News (blog), CodeNEXT, Marshall Tract, Education, Loop 360, Wildfire and Imagine Austin. It also provides news from the Austin Police and Fire Departments, as well as a calendar of events in Lost Creek. I ask that all Lost Creek non-profit, non-political organizations provide me with their meeting schedules for placement on the calendar. You can access this app on your smart phone through this web address or use of the QR Code shown below:  http://theapp.mobi/lcco9 I'm also trying a Chat feature that allows users online to chat with one another. Let me know if this is useful to you.
QR Code for Smart Phone App
LCCO Is Funded by Contributions
LCCO does not charge membership fees. It is an all volunteer organization with funding of operational expenses through donations. Please click button below to contribute any amount you wish.

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Some Thoughts on Affordability

I'm in favor of a data driven definition and analysis of affordable housing. It's clear we have a serious problem when half the households can't afford an average priced home in Austin. Out of curiosity I did an analysis of home sales 79704. I know that this is oversimplifying the issues, but the only real predictors of lower home prices was the age of the home and its size. And, through CodeNEXT and market forces, we are busily destroying the base of "somewhat affordable" homes.

(By the way, one of the tools I used in this analysis was Watson Analytics, a free data analysis tool from IBM. It takes some knowledge to use the tool but makes analytics more broadly accessible.)

I am not in favor of a strong focus on subsidies. To me this does nothing to change the causes of the issue.

I am in favor of exploring new concepts of a home, the use of new technologies to reduce the cost of building a home, the examination of design rules that disproportionately add more cost that societal value, and the permitting of micro homes.

I am in favor of helping the bottom 50% of our households make more money through education, training, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

I am in favor of incentivising the development of enterprises that create jobs suited to the skills and abilities of the lower 50%.

I am in favor of building communities that understand and practice activities that create community wealth.

Attached are copies of my analysis and my comments on the Code Prescription on affordability.

Household%20Affordabilty%20Code%20Prescription.pdf

Analysis%20of%2078704%20Data.pdf

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Growth Watch

From Imagine Austin

Austin’s booming growth and development activity draw interest from all over. Here is a series of interactive heat maps chronicling residential growth and development activity in Austin over the last five years, 2010 through 2014. The indicators used to monitor residential development activity in Austin include the number of residential units built, and the number of residential demolitions, remodels, and additions carried out over the five year time frame. 

Some highlights from the last five years of residential development activity include: 

  1. Residential growth is mainly concentrated in the urban core and the peripheral subdivisions. 
  2. The pace of development activity continues to pick up. 2011 was the low point, but the residential unit supply has increased every year since 2011. In 2014, Austin added more than 4 times the number of units added in 2011.
  3. The multifamily share of the overall unit supply has surpassed the single family share, although single family and multifamily units still constitute the major portion of the overall supply. Duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, and accessory dwelling units account for a much lesser portion. 
  4. Another interesting fact that can be seen from this analysis is the rise of the Urban Core, as inner city neighborhoods continue to feed growing demand for residential units.
  5. Demolitions, and remodels and additions are concentrated mainly in the Urban Core, but have started spreading outside it gradually, depending on the age of housing stock. 

To read more about the methodology used to create this analysis, please contactSurbhi Bakshi

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Residents Rally in Anticipation of Annexation

Rachel Rice, Westlake Picayune, September 10, 2015

The Lost Creek Civic Organization assembled for their first official meeting Sept. 3, making it their first order of business to educate themselves on how to wrangle with the city of Austin.

In anticipation of the impending annexation of Lost Creek, approximately 20 residents assembled for the LCCO meeting led by Paul Schumann. As their guest speaker, they brought Jeff Jack, an architect with a longtime history in dealings with the city from both sides of the dais.

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Task Force on Community Engagement

Purpose

Provide a report to Council with a description of existing City community engagement tools, innovative techniques and technologies used across the country; identification of best practices; and recommendations for enhancing existing resources, including fiscal implications. See Resolution 20150129-023

Meetings

The Task Force on Community Engagement will meet every other week on Thursday from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. The meetings will take place at the Street-Jones Building (1000 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX) in room 400A, unless noted otherwise on the meeting agenda.

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The ANC held a general meeting on August 26, 2015. A copy of the agenda, resolutions and two interesting documents can be read by clicking here.

The two resolutions passed are very important. One relates to the zoning of charter schools. Right now a charter school can just buy land in a neighborhood and place a school there regardless of the present zoning of the land. This resolution asks the City Council to close that loop hole. The second resolution has to do with the transparency of the CodeNEXT  new land development code. It asks that the code come with disposition and derivation tables. These will allow a reader of the code to see where all the elements of the old code  ended up and where all the elements of the new code came from.

Jim Duncan gave a great presentation entitled "Tale of Two Cities: Austin and Seattle (Part 1). He discussed how similar the two cites were in the past, but how they diverged on their development philosophies. Austin has done a better job of economic development, but Seattle has done a better job on all the other aspects of development.

"Austin is the most economically segregated city in the country — and other Texas cities rank close behind. A new report found that four of the top 10 most economically segregated large metro areas (those with populations more than one million) in the U.S. are in the Lone Star State. Following Austin are San Antonio at No. 3, Houston at No. 4, and Dallas at No. 7."  Austin Culture Map

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