Curious what Austinites are reading this week? Take a look at what you might have missed from Community Impact’s coverage areas in Austin from Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

1. Travis County’s $509M bond aims to improve roads and parks, acquire parkland to protect

Travis County’s largest bond package in history will appear on the ballot Nov. 7.

The $509 million bond is focused on making roads more pedestrian friendly, constructing miles of new trails along two creeks, adding new sports complexes for kids and buying up parcels of land to protect green space.

Read the full story by Reporter Katy McAfee.

2. Dozens relocated from North, South Austin encampments through city shelter program

Dozens of people experiencing homelessness were moved from two Austin parks into bridge shelter through the city's encampment management program, Austin Public Health officials announced Nov. 1.

According to city officials, 43 people have been relocated from encampments in Barwood Park near I-35 in North Central Austin and the Tom Donovan Nature Trail at Williamson Creek Greenbelt in South Austin. Those residents were moved into two of the city's bridge shelters and offered housing resources, while the former encampment sites are now being cleaned up and monitored.

The two processes took place through Austin's Housing-Focused Encampment Assistance Link, or HEAL, initiative that has now relocated more than 660 people from over a dozen encampments across the city since 2021. Of those, more than 200 have ended up moving into housing so far.

Read more from Reporter Ben Thompson.

3. ‘They gutted it': Austin officials prepare for state-imposed parkland dedication cuts

Austin officials are readying for the replacement of longstanding local parkland dedication practices—trade-offs of money or green space to pace the city park system's growth with new development—to comply with new state legislation approved this year.

House Bill 1526, authored by state Reps. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, and Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, updates parkland dedication in large Texas cities by adjusting the amount of land or fees that can be asked of developers.

Harris and Swanson represent rural and suburban legislative districts in eastern Texas that are home to cities with tens of thousands of residents, while HB 1526 affects only cities with populations greater than 800,000, including Austin. The new law's changes stem from the belief of some "interested parties" that civic parkland dedication is hampering new housing development, according to a state legislative analysis.

Here’s the full story by Reporter Ben Thompson.

4. Austin MetroBike program to go fully electric in 2024

Austin leaders announced they will expand the city’s bike rental program, MetroBike, after receiving an $11.3 million grant from the Texas Department of Transportation on Oct. 26.

The funding is part of a larger $345 million infusion approved by the Texas Transportation Commission for bicycle and pedestrian mobility improvements throughout the state.

Read the full story by Reporter Katy McAfee.

5. Self-driving car company Cruise pauses operations in Austin

Officials with General Motors’ Cruise announced late Oct. 26 that all operations of autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, will be paused nationally until further notice.

Company officials stated the decision was not related to any new incidents on the road and the vehicles will only be operated under supervision.

“We think it’s the right thing to do during a period when we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to risk,” said Yariel Diaz, Cruise senior manager of government affairs, in a statement.

Read more from Reporter Elle Bent.