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Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 8:21 PM
_Matt _Matt is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 329
Ehhhh. As much as I would like to see the taller building, I think the The Towers of Town Lake residents have a point. Just hear me out... I can see how traffic could be an issue.

If we increase density in this part of Austin, it makes shoppers such a short distance away from urban neighborhood destinations that people will walk there instead of driving (like the proposed 12,000 sqft grocery store). If people start walking to get groceries, then that will be one less reason to drive around in their car. You know, driving, the way people are supposed to get around in Austin, like we did 20 years ago. This density sets a dangerous precedence and I don't think these big-city Dallas developers have respect for my rose-colored version of 1990s Austin.

For example, can you imagine the sidewalk traffic problems that would result if people started walking instead of driving? If you've ever waited for hours in pedestrian traffic while authorities clear the trail after a stroller roll-over on the Butler Trail around Town Lake, then you know my pain. (BTW, why can't we just force strollers use Caesar Chavez sidewalk bypass around the lake to reduce traffic, right?!).

But friends, you have to look at the big picture. If ALL of these California condo high rises get built then how will our children grow up in the same Austin I did?

Imagine a future where people live tightly clustered in small, walkable neighborhoods. People might walk to bus and rail stations, actually making public transportation economically viable, supported by regular ridership.

Can you imagine the repercussions of people commuting via bus or rail to work instead of their car--the environmental impacts alone will crush our fragile asphalt ecosystems--our pot-hole salamanders and curb spiders are already endangered-vulnerable species. Our neighborhood experts have determined that if their numbers go any lower, then the entire central Texas ecosystem is in danger of collapse.

But the real fear is not what could happen above the streets, but below. If public transportation becomes popular, then buses and rail cars will fill up with passengers and become more heavily loaded. We know what that means: more weight from tires and rails compressing our fragile limestone aquifers. The last thing we want to do is squeeze water out of our aquifers under the weight of efficiently loaded mass transit vehicles.

We're already in a drought, people. I'm not sure Edwards aquifer can handle the impact of a transportation system designed with sustainability in mind.

So my friends on the forum, while we all appreciate tall buildings like Domain 2 and Domain 3, it's important that we don't disregard the often overlooked side effects of skyscraper construction like foot-traffic jams or aquifer squeezing. Next time you are driven to face-palm or roll your eyes out of despair for those with a keen appreciation for the pot-hole salamander, take a moment and consider the carefully articulated arguments made by our NIMBY brethren. That is all, and have a good weekend.
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