City Council approves measures on downtown parking, alley use

Austin City Council approved two measures March 21 regarding downtown parking requirements and alleys. Council approved on second reading an ordinance amending city code pertaining to off-street parking and loading requirements as well as a resolution for staff to conduct a study to consider alternative uses for the city's alleys.

One issue of contention of the ordinance amending off-street parking and loading requirements pertained to handicapped parking requirements for businesses. Councilwoman Laura Morrison amended the ordinance to make off-street handicapped parking required for a business that is using a building of 6,000 square feet or more, rather than the 12,000 square feet the ordinance designated.

Councilman Chris Riley said he had some concern about that provision from the feedback he has heard from the community.

"We have heard concerns from owners of smaller, existing buildings downtown that they are simply unable to provide parking on-site because the buildings were not originally built with parking," Riley said. "If they are required to provide accessible parking in connection with uses greater than 6,000 square feet, there will simply be no additional use at all. The building will not get that larger use."

Morrison said there still is the opportunity for those businesses to provide the additional disabled parking on-street rather than off-street.

"I think that's a nice way to try and balance the priorities we're trying to balance," Morrison said.

The issue of alleys was a common theme between both items. Council also approved City Manager Marc Ott to provide options and a timeline for a downtown alley master plan by June 20. Councilwoman Kathie Tovo said she would like to look at the alleys as means to create "more public, more pedestrian, more bicycle-friendly activities" for the public.

"In some cities, they're looking at ways to close down the alleys and make it a green space," Tovo said.

One point of contention between council members over the alleys was whether loading and unloading should be a permissible use in the alleys. Tovo said allowing that use would limit the more creative options she was hoping to explore with the alleys, but Riley said the intention of the alleys was to provide loading and unloading access, and he wanted to make sure the alleys still could be used for that purpose.

"[Alleys] serve a very valuable purpose of being able to ensure we have a convenient place for loading and unloading," he said. "The result is we wind up with fewer places where we're required to do those sorts of things on the street, where they can pose real problems for all kinds of traffic: vehicular, pedestrians and bicycle."



The Broadmoor Campus is proposed to have a new MetroRail station. (Rendering courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust)
City to work with Capital Metro on financing new Broadmoor and McKalla Place rail stations as development boom looms

Austin City Council expects the new Austin FC stadium and massive mixed-use development planned for McKalla Place and the Broadmoor Campus to result in heightened demand for public transit.

Ricardo Lowe, a research associate at the Institute of Urban Research Policy and Analysis at the University of Texas, asks a question at an Austin ISD community meeting Nov. 12 held at Eastside Memorial High School. Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper
As community engagement meetings wrap up, AISD trustees set to vote on four school closures Nov. 18

The AISD Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on four elementary school closures at its Nov. 18 meeting.

Austin's Rainey Street District has become one of the most popular entertainment districts in the city.
Rainey Street fund rises from ashes to preserve Mexican-American heritage in booming district

The Mexican-American heritage inside the Rainey Street District has been waning for years as development continues to heighten.

The Atlas 14 rainfall study found Austin to be at a much higher flood risk than previously understood.
Acknowledging expanded risk, Austin moves to prohibit additional density in city’s flood-prone areas

A recent federal flood risk study found Austin's flood risk to be significantly higher than previously understood.

The 10,000-seat Moody Center at The University of Texas is scheduled to open in 2022. (Rendering courtesy Gensler)
Groundbreaking for Moody Center at The University of Texas set for Dec. 3

The UT Board of Regents gave final approval Nov. 14 to a $38.5 million project to realign Red River Street around the new basketball arena.

The city of Austin authorized the purchase of a Rodeway Inn at 2711 S. I-35 on Nov. 14. The city plans to convert the property into a homeless shelter. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
City Council green lights $8 million Rodeway Inn plan for homeless shelter transition, vows to address crime in the area

South Austin neighbors raised concerns that criminal activity in the area will put homeless individuals who enter the shelter at risk.

Lady Bird Lake at Congress Avenue in Austin. Since late July, parts of the lake have been off limits due to high concentrations of toxic "blue-green" algae. (Courtesy Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)
Toxic algae blooms are becoming more common, scientists say

Months have passed, but the capital city still has signs up warning of ongoing dangerous conditions in Lady Bird Lake.

Community members examine updated zoning maps at land development code town hall in October.
Land development code rewrite heads to City Council for final approval, marking home stretch of nearly 7-year process

Austin's long-awaited land development code rewrite is heading to City Council for final approval.

Crews work on updating a section of I-35 in Central Texas (Courtesy TxDOT)
Central Texas transportation agencies investing millions in I-35 for new lanes, intersection improvements aimed at aiding mobility

About 20 miles of I-35 through Central Texas will see an infusion of $400 million in state and federal funding to add one to two additional lanes in an effort to improve mobility.

Permanent supportive housing facility opens in East Austin

Terrace at Oak Springs, a facility that will provide permanent supportive housing to 50 people who were …

Lucien, Stirling and Gray moves to North Central Austin

Financial advisory group Lucien, Stirling and Gray relocated Oct. 31 from its former location at 4005 …

Red's Porch closes last remaining location

Red’s Porch closed Oct. 10 due to failing to pay rent according to a notice posted by the landlord, …

Back to top