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Old Posted Oct 24, 2009, 4:25 AM
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Arrow Waller Creek Flood Tunnel Update Thread

Quote:
DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT
Waller plan envisions a more inviting downtown creek

Tunnel project willl stabilize flood-prone creek, open up creekside land to development.

By Sarah Coppola

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Waller Creek is an unwelcoming place. Trash litters the flood-prone waters. Homeless people take shelter beneath the low bridges. And most buildings near the creek face coldly away from it.

...
http://www.statesman.com/news/conten...024waller.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2009, 5:05 PM
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I was at the meeting Saturday morning. Very interesting stuff. They had a few renderings of a future downtown with every block filled in with example buildings, based on the height they could be given view corridor limits. I'll have to see if I can find those online.

The comments on the article, discounting the usual idiotic drivel, almost all point out the homeless problem on the east side of downtown. We brought that up at the meeting, too, but they didn't seem to have much in the way of answers. It's the huge elephant in the room. You cannot make a "world-class destination" when all the homeless services are just a block or 2 away.

Having said that, personally I don't think it's really that bad. Of course I may be used to it, having lived in that area for 18 months now, but evidently it's a huge deal for a lot of people.
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Old Posted Oct 25, 2009, 6:03 PM
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Some people think seeing any homeless person is a "big problem". I have seen homeless people in every city that I have ever visited and in most cases it is not as big of a public issue as some make it out to be. I haven't noticed it being that big of an issue downtown but since I don't work/live there maybe I haven't been exposed to it as much as some.

In spite of all the efforts to reduce homelessness you will never to able to fully eradicate it because there is a segment of that population that prefers it. All you can do is address those that want help.
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Old Posted Oct 25, 2009, 10:38 PM
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I don't know about you but I don't like the weekend homeless concerts under the highway or the trash they leave behind.
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  #5  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2009, 3:14 AM
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The Homeless are a HUGH problem in downtown. All of downtown. But the areas around 6th/7th and Red River, including much of Waller can be scary. Between the homeless and the drug dealers around, oh, lets say 5th and Sabine... it is can be challenging just to park and walk without being approached.

So I would agree that a plan to make the creek work has to include a plan to deal with the street population in the area as well.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2009, 4:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedogok View Post
Some people think seeing any homeless person is a "big problem". I have seen homeless people in every city that I have ever visited and in most cases it is not as big of a public issue as some make it out to be. I haven't noticed it being that big of an issue downtown but since I don't work/live there maybe I haven't been exposed to it as much as some.

In spite of all the efforts to reduce homelessness you will never to able to fully eradicate it because there is a segment of that population that prefers it. All you can do is address those that want help.
I couldn't agree with you more. In NYC you see the poor homeless sleeping on top of vent grates on the sidewalks in the winter trying to keep warm and you just walk on by going about your business. In Washington DC the homeless are on the park benches sleeping near almost all the major attractions and I've even seen them wading in the fountains to retrieve the coins people toss in. It is what it is.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2009, 2:37 AM
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I'm shure you could probably find homeless people down on the San Antonio Riverwalk I haven't been there in years so I don't know.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2009, 4:36 AM
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Down in the creek is where the issues are. Right now it's pretty nasty, or at least was. My dad, my brother and I and friends used to go "creeking" or "screening" down there. My dad made a square frame with 2x4s and covered it with some wire to make a screen. We would then go down into the creek and hit the holes in the creek. There are these places in the creek bed where the water flows over and drops all kinds of stuff. Coins, jewelery, and old trinkets. Besides tons of modern money (change), we also found gold rings, silver coins, gold chains, old buttons (civil war), and other old stuff. I found a Club House Saloon token, and then a few days later was offered $200 for it. We also collected old bricks that had washed in there. These were old bricks that used to pave the streets in downtown. We reused them and paved our driveway with them, built a patio and walkways in the yard. That was 15 years ago. Anyway, we also saw plenty of homeless people down there. There was the garbage, but then there was also human feces along the shore and one time I remember seeing a guy bathing in the creek.

Of course, none of the homeless people ever really bothered us, and they easily could have. It was often times just my dad and me (I was a young teenager). Other times it was my dad and I, my brother and a friend of my dad. I remember seeing plenty of them sleeping under the bridges along the creeks.

Also with every major rain came floods and trash and debris washed into the creek and would also erode away the soil, sidewalks, trees and even huge concrete barriers. So if they could control the floods, I could see a huge benefit down there. Of course, I'm kind of torn on this though, because if they do it, it'll mean no more creeking since it'll always be full of water.
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  #9  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2009, 4:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedogok View Post
Some people think seeing any homeless person is a "big problem". I have seen homeless people in every city that I have ever visited and in most cases it is not as big of a public issue as some make it out to be. I haven't noticed it being that big of an issue downtown but since I don't work/live there maybe I haven't been exposed to it as much as some.

In spite of all the efforts to reduce homelessness you will never to able to fully eradicate it because there is a segment of that population that prefers it. All you can do is address those that want help.
I won't debate that some people get squirrelly about seeing ANY homelessness - continued public awareness is the only way to make progress in that way. I also agree that it's impossible to completely eradicate it as there will always be folks who prefer living that way. Of course not all homeless are deviant, lazy bums. Many of them have serious mental and psychological problems and are literally "alone". However, that area of town can be particularly squalid and unseemly. It's almost a "district" similar to the Tenderloin in SF (but on a smaller scale).

I'm generally tolerant of homeless people and occasionally will help someone out if they are respectful, but I really dislike walking around that section of the city as it's nearly impossible not to be approached repeatedly. I've been all over the country and spent time in most major cities, so I'm not new to any of this but I'll admit to feeling a bit uncomfortable (more annoyed, actually) in that area, especially at night. It's a critical mass thing.

Yes, of course there are homeless in every city (and much worse than Austin) but to think that the city of Austin could transform that area into a beautiful, walkable, public space without some careful consideration over the location of the shelter is frankly, naive. Even now, the location of that shelter is dubious: placing a shelter full of folks, many with alcohol and drug addictions DIRECTLY ADJACENT to the most crowded, popular party strip in the city.

Very stupid indeed.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2009, 5:54 PM
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Most successful urban areas have maintained livability despite annoying, obnoxious, and dangerous bums - because they were so livable before (they achieved critical mass). Some, though, like San Francisco, teeter on the edge of failure even given that critical mass.

We don't have critical mass here, at least not now. It's really important that Joe Suburbanite not be hassled by bums while downtown so that when his CEO talks about moving their company down there, his very FIRST response isn't about how awful the street environment is thanks to all the bums.

Note I keep using the 'b' word. That's what it is; ignore the apologists for the homeless; and NEVER listen to jerks like Richard Troxell; the homeless-by-no-fault-of-their-own aren't the ones hassling you for money. The people who just lost a job and are trying to get by are in the shelters getting fed; the guys on the street are taking your money and putting it directly into alcohol and drugs. Yes, they could be addicted. No, that doesn't make it any more excusable to be public nuisances (or worse).

A few months ago, I had to shepherd my 5-year-old around such a creature at Toy Joy, for f*ck's sake. The whole time some clueless naive do-gooders on the neighborhood lists kept going on about how noble the 'travellers' are. GMAFB.
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  #11  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2009, 6:26 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Note I keep using the 'b' word. That's what it is; ignore the apologists for the homeless; and NEVER listen to jerks like Richard Troxell; the homeless-by-no-fault-of-their-own aren't the ones hassling you for money. The people who just lost a job and are trying to get by are in the shelters getting fed; the guys on the street are taking your money and putting it directly into alcohol and drugs. Yes, they could be addicted. No, that doesn't make it any more excusable to be public nuisances (or worse).

A few months ago, I had to shepherd my 5-year-old around such a creature at Toy Joy, for f*ck's sake. The whole time some clueless naive do-gooders on the neighborhood lists kept going on about how noble the 'travellers' are. GMAFB.
Well, I get what you are saying and for the most part agree. The reason I'm hesitant about labeling all of them "bums" is because of the ones with serious mental and/or psychological disorders. I've known some people like that and it's incredibly sad and frustrating when they stop taking their meds (which is part of the disorder) and take off, eventually ending up on the streets. But then again to be fair, most folks like that aren't actually asking for anything, they're just out there being unstable and possibly dangerous.

As for the parking lot panhandlers - nothing infuriates me more than getting cornered as I'm entering/exiting a store or getting out of/into my car. It puts me in a downright uncharitable mood and should be discouraged by the city.

And again, for the Waller Creek Project: I would like someone to explain to me how they could possibly sell that idea to the public and/or investors with the shelter (and its .5 mile ring of fire) a block away.
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  #12  
Old Posted Nov 17, 2009, 5:00 AM
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Quote:
Friday, November 13, 2009
City buys lot for Waller Creek tunnel construction staging area
Austin Business Journal - by Jacob Dirr Staff Writer

Austin city officials are negotiating to buy a half-block parking lot in the Waller Creek corridor.

...
http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin...l?surround=lfn
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Old Posted Nov 17, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Kevin, why haven't you subscribed to my feed, yet?

This is a snippet of my waller update from last week.

"1) We learned that the City is negotiating the purchase of three contiguous lots located along southbound frontage road and bounded by 4th and 5th Streets. This area hosts the east bank of Waller Creek between 4th and 5th and is currently used as a surface parking lot. The land acquisition will be purchased with funds from the Waller Creek Tunnel Project, and will likely become a temporary staging ground for the construction of the tunnel. Ironically [to me at least] these lots are not on FEMA’s 100 year flood maps, and therefore wouldn’t directly benefit from the tunnel improvements designed to remove land from the 100 year flood plain. The lots are encumbered by Capitol View Corridors, though. You can see the lots under “Kuykendall Addn”."

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Old Posted Nov 17, 2009, 8:35 PM
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Kevin, why haven't you subscribed to my feed, yet?
I read it every once in a while. How do I go about subscribing to it - besides just visiting the site regularly? By the way, you have a really nice website going there. I read the article about the sidewalk cafes sometimes taking up too much space and bellhops and valet and maitre d' podiums really hogging up space. I definitely agree about that last one. One place where this especially happens is at Gueros on South Congress. With all the foot traffic through there, dining tables, waiters with food, the podium and the fact the sidewalks are way too narrow through there, it can be almost impossible to get through there sometimes.
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Old Posted Nov 17, 2009, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
I read it every once in a while. How do I go about subscribing to it - besides just visiting the site regularly? By the way, you have a really nice website going there. I read the article about the sidewalk cafes sometimes taking up too much space and bellhops and valet and maitre d' podiums really hogging up space. I definitely agree about that last one. One place where this especially happens is at Gueros on South Congress. With all the foot traffic through there, dining tables, waiters with food, the podium and the fact the sidewalks are way too narrow through there, it can be almost impossible to get through there sometimes.
This is how you subscribe via RSS - real time.
This is how to subscribe via a single daily email.

Thanks! I'm a member of the Waller Creek Citizens Advisory Committee. Yes, it's definitely a tight squeeze at Gueros, but I cut them slack because that building existed long before the Great Streets program was enacted.
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Old Posted Nov 18, 2009, 12:23 AM
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Cool, thanks. I've subscribed.
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2010, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Friday, February 5, 2010, 2:13pm CST | Modified: Friday, February 5, 2010, 2:18pm
City approves eminent domain for Waller Creek Tunnel Project
Austin Business Journal


Austin city officials Thursday approved eminent domain proceedings for a parking lot between Forth and Fifth streets that is needed for a redevelopment project.

"The city doesn't really have the option to sit and wait until something is figured out. It cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a month if it is delayed."

He said construction will move forward in early 2011 and wrap up in 2014.

...
http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin...1/daily60.html
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Old Posted Feb 6, 2010, 7:55 PM
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Thanks, Scottolini. The city has been struggling with this property for a few months. Since this is going to become a staging area, this will become an eyesore for the next 4-5 years and a pain in the ass for the Hilton Garden and Sabine; conversely, once the creek is done, they stand to benefit the most.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 12:03 AM
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Quote:

Waller Creek envisioned as premier destination

By Mary Tuma Friday, 12 February 2010


The Waller Creek District Master Plan, an idea that has persisted for decades, is finally progressing toward reality through an ongoing collaboration among citizens, city staff, elected officials and an urban design group.

The $127 million tunnel project, composed of 12 sub projects, is expected to be complete in July 2014. The project is funded by a 2007 city council–approved 20-year Tax Increment Financing Zone. Contributions will come from both the city and Travis County.

The first sub project involves improvements to the Lady Bird Lake trail bridge. That will begin this summer or early fall. Team leaders are in the process of finalizing design and obtaining the necessary local, state and federal permits for all 12 projects.

...
http://impactnews.com/central-austin...er-destination






Rendering of inlet structure and pond at the 10-acre Waterloo Park.
Courtesy City of Austin
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  #20  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 2:37 AM
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notice the "faultline" identified on the section (second drawing). I have never seen that on a drawing! Wow! What a reminder!
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