Trail of Lights 2017, a racial gerrymandering case and 6 other things to know this week in Central Austin, Nov. 6-10

The Austin Trail of Lights will run Dec. 9-23.

The Austin Trail of Lights will run Dec. 9-23.

Here is your weekly look at upcoming events and the most talked-about stories in Central Austin heading into this week.


1. Austin-area motorists favoring southbound MoPac express lane during morning commute
Data released this week from the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority shows more drivers are choosing to use the new southbound MoPac express lane during the morning commute.





2. Lamar Smith retiring from Congress 
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, is retiring from Congress, two sources close to the congressman told The Texas Tribune on Nov. 2. Smith confirmed the decision in a conference call later in the day.





3. State Rep. Paul Workman advocates for voter participation on November ballot's constitutional amendments
The November ballot includes a few local bond elections that seem to be driving people to the polls, Travis County election officials said. However, the ballot also includes an entire section of state constitutional amendments that are often skipped over by voters.





4. Trail of Lights 2017 will feature new displays, local musicians
The 53rd annual Austin Trail of Lights will feature new modernized displays, interaction environments, famous Austin food trucks, local musical talents and merchants.





5. Just 2 weeks before Capital Metro's board will vote on bus route changes, residents plead for retaining service
Nearly 2.5 hours of public testimony on Nov. 1 brought forth concerns from residents throughout Austin over potentially losing their Capital Metro bus service.





6. Former music venue La Zona Rosa set for rebirth on Fourth Street
A storied Austin music venue is reopening after it was shut down a few years ago.





7. Aiming to correct 'sins of the past,' Austin regulates building in the flood plain
Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast, but Troy Kimmel, a meteorologist and University of Texas severe weather professor, said although it is 165 miles inland from Houston, Austin was "lucky" to come out unscathed.





8. Stretching across 6 counties in Central Texas, U.S. House District 35 awaits Supreme Court ruling
As recently as 1990, one member of the U.S. House represented all of Travis County. Today, the county is divided into five U.S. House districts. The city of Austin, which extends into Hays and Williamson counties, comprises a sixth district.