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#51 2011-05-24 09:43:00

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I would insist with transforming car parking space into bike parking space.

The questions I proposed above were:

A. Parking space requirements for businesses work against density goals and it is an important obstacle for small businesses in the central Austin area. Considering that in the space used to park a single car it is possible to park easily (Choose your number, I say 15) regular bicycles, would you modify the current parking space requirements to favor bicycling parking instead of the car-centric position of today's regulations.

B. Do you think that the CoA should attempt to diminish the amount of space used for car parking at public shools in Austin?

They do not need to have that wording. But I do think it would be useful to ask and/or promote the conversion.
Every car lot in central Austin steals space from use for people and it is probably the most idiotic use there is for any inch of land.

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#52 2011-05-24 15:02:18

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,210
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Sorry, bizikletari, I forgot about your questions.  I'll add (A), but I don't understand (B).  Why exactly do we want that?

timdiller, the City might have renamed the bike lanes on Shoal Creek precisely so they can claim that they *don't* allow cars to park in the bike lanes, because they're not really bike lanes.  Let's not fall for it.

The reasons I focus on Shoal Creeek in particular are that:

(1) It's been the quintessential bike corridor in Austin for years.
(2) There's an easy alternative (parking on just one side of the street, and car-free bike lanes on both sides).
(3) City staff endorsed that plan.
(4) Council specifically ruled on this roadway (and voted to condone parking in both bike lanes).
(5) Council's endorsement of cars parking in bike lanes was over the objections of both its own city staff as well as bicyclists.
(6) If we let this stand, we've allowed the City to set the precedent that it's okay to marginalize us.

There's more in the links.

I agree that other areas are also problems, but Shoal Creek is a marker.  If we fix that, it will be easier to fix the others.  Conversely, if we roll over, we can't expect to get other bike lanes in Austin fixed.

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#53 2011-05-24 16:13:12

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

MichaelBluejay wrote:

I don't understand (B).  Why exactly do we want that?

If you have ever seen the size of the parking lot at Austin High or at Cassis Elementary, you may feel that all that impervious surface should be changed into something more sensible; from a park to a larger library.
Almost anything would make more sense than all that parking to teach teenagers it is a good thing to drive their cars to school.

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#54 2011-05-24 17:40:07

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Posts: 1,210
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Well, the question as you phrased it doesn't ask about whether parking should be converted into park space or libraries, just about whether we should reduce the amount of parking, without any explanation or suggestion.  And of course, adding amenities to schools would require money, and Austin schools are strapped for cash right now like never before.  So I can't feel this is among the most important and plausible things we can ask, but I'd like to hear what everyone else thinks about this.  Thoughts?

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#55 2011-05-24 20:15:42

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I agree that it may not be a priority at this point.
But I wish in the future, AISD either builds something academically useful on those parking lots or return the land to the city.
But, if no one else thinks large parking lots on public schools are an obscenity, I'll keep mum so we can move forward with the questionnaire.

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#56 2011-05-24 20:34:14

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

The question isn't whether large parking lots on public schools are an obscenity, it's whether we can reasonably expect elected officials to do something about it.  Do I think officials can and should immediately and easily kick cars out of bike lanes?  Absolutely.  Do I think officials can and can easily reclaim school parking lots?  Absolutely not.  Especially not in this climate of schools being bankrupt.  But again, I'm interested in what others think about this.

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#57 2011-05-24 20:44:18

jmayson
Member
Registered: 2008-06-28
Posts: 46

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

bizikletari wrote:

I agree that it may not be a priority at this point.
But I wish in the future, AISD either builds something academically useful on those parking lots or return the land to the city.
But, if no one else thinks large parking lots on public schools are an obscenity, I'll keep mum so we can move forward with the questionnaire.

My son attends McNeil High School on McNeil Drive.  Nothing wrong with the school, but the planning that went into it just reeks.

It's located on the wrong side of Parmer Lane.  What do I mean by this?  Most of the kids who attend McNeil live on the other side of Parmer while the kids who live near the school off McNeil Road (not Drive) attend Round Rock HS.  I know what happened.  They needed cheap land, didn't want to take prime real estate off the tax rolls, and the NIMBYs didn't want a monstrous high school in their backyard.  So what we have is an eyesore of a high school that looks more like an insecticide factory than a center of learning located in a place making it impossible for students to get to it in anything but a motor vehicle.  For parents its easier to hand a 16 year-old car keys and have them drive through the dangerous Parmer/McNeil intersection twice a day than it is for them to drive the kids there.

I would prefer seeing much smaller schools located in the neighborhoods with limited parking knowing students could more easily walk or ride bicycle.  But we've seen the Walmartization of education and it's more cost effective to mass produce students in 4,000+ megaschools than smaller neighborhood schools.  Smaller schools also dilute the football talent, the reason it took so long for Georgetown ISD to build a second high school.

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#58 2011-05-24 22:12:57

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Okay, but let's try to keep this discussion focused on what to ask the City Council candidates.  Is there a specific question here you'd like us to pose to the candidates?

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#59 2011-05-24 22:52:07

jmayson
Member
Registered: 2008-06-28
Posts: 46

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

MichaelBluejay wrote:

Okay, but let's try to keep this discussion focused on what to ask the City Council candidates.  Is there a specific question here you'd like us to pose to the candidates?

Agreed.  I was trying to put the conversation into perspective about why things are the way they are.

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#60 2011-05-25 10:42:59

damicoaustin
Member
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 143
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Just a note that I'm with MBJ on Shoal Creek. It's a great question because it's one of the only ones where a candidate really will have to make a definitive statement on a model that has since been used elsewhere, but obviously bit the dust on SCB from neighborhood opposition and, I think, just a confusing and cluster-f'd process. I would love to see someone resurrect SCB. But first you'd have to get the bicycling community on board, and that would be a colossal and probably impossible effort. Too many cyclists will see it as a lower priority, without understanding the implications of why it's important for the future of other projects.

The issue in general with parking in bike lanes isn't going to change, in my opinion, since it's an appealing compromise to elected officials who aren't going to stick their necks out advocating an overall ban all at once. The city has a process now for getting rid of parking with resurfacing, and I don't see them moving from that. It's a good process, but you see slippage in truly getting parking out of the bike lanes with it, because city staff has to negotiate with stakeholders, e.g. Chicon and the churches there.

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#61 2011-06-05 01:10:44

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Just letting everyone know that I submitted the survey to the candidates, much like I suggested, but also with bizikletari's question about whether the candidates support reducing the requirements for car parking.  The deadline for their returning the surveys is Saturday night, and I'll post an endorsement soon after that.

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#62 2011-06-05 19:39:07

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Michael,

Are you publishing the responses from the candidates, if any, along your endorsement?

a.

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#63 2011-06-06 05:17:43

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,210
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Of course!  I always do.  See the "Govt." menu on the top of the page and then "Voter/Election info" for examples from previous elections.

Incidentally, I'd let Bicycle Austin members vote on the endorsements, except there's not enough time.  Also, the last time I did endorsements and some members disagreed with whom I picked, I said that I'd let the members decide the endorsements if either 1/3 of listmembers voted on the endorsements, *or* listmembers kicked in the $432 for the Chronicle ad that I was otherwise paying for myself.  Neither happened.  I doubt it would be any different this time.  Look at how few people even participated in this discussion.

Incidentally, neither candidate has responded so far.  I'll try to call them tomorrow to make sure they got the invite.

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#64 2011-06-06 09:24:10

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Yesterday at the Bike Month Closing Celebration, LOBV was giving away Randi Shade support stickers and they had invited her to give a short pep talk after giving her a very strong endorsement from the Bicycle Sport Shop/LOBV people. I'd say it's fair to assume that most of the bike community that will take the effort to go and vote, may be supporting Shade.

On the other hand, the neighborhoods seem to be backing Tovo, very strongly. At least in the areas were I circulate.

Last edited by bizikletari (2011-06-06 11:08:51)

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#65 2011-06-06 15:03:05

lluciano
Member
Registered: 2008-12-24
Posts: 21

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I want to be perfectly clear that Bicycle Sport Shop does NOT endorse candidates.  Hill Abell, and I usually agree but not always!  The LOBV did endorse Randi, as she has been consistant and supportive on cycling issues.  The LOBV is standing by that endorsement.  Randi attended the event to thank the LOBV, who had a table at the event as did a large number of advocacy organizations and 4 bike shops.  Chris Riley also attended. 

I was very proud of the huge collaborative effort with all of the shops, bands, and organizations that donated their time and money to bring representatives from every subculture of the cycling community this citywide event.  The positive energy was so contagious.

Thank you all who helped make the party a huge success. 


Leslie Luciano
Director of Advocacy
Bicycle Sport Shop

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#66 2011-06-06 15:34:20

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,210
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

I called both campaigns and they both said they received the survey.  Not sure whether they'll participate though.  It's funny, a few years ago the mayor's office called seeking an endorsement before I even sent out the surveys.  Of course, that was before LOBV.

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#67 2011-06-11 13:22:44

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Well, after the lack of interest from both Shade and Tovo to answer the Bicycle forum questionnaire; I had decided not to vote for the second round. Their disinterest showed to me that bicyclists are still an irrelevant constituency to most Austin politicians.

That was true until I learnt about some serious gaffe done by some Shade supporters: Paying a Hummer limo to ferry voters to early voting poll stations is not my idea of what sensible transportation choices are.

In top of that, I thought that reimbursing the F1 developers any cent for anything seems outrageous to me.

So despite what the rest of the bike community chooses to do, I'll vote for Tovo. Unhappily, for sure.

Last edited by bizikletari (2011-06-11 15:23:36)

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#68 2011-06-11 22:40:49

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,210
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

What "Bicycle forum" questionnaire?  If you're talking about LOBV's survey, both Shade and Tovo answered it.  If you're talking about the Bicycle Austin survey that I recently sent out, the deadline hasn't passed yet, and Shade did return her answers.  If the deadline passes with no answer from Tovo, I'll publish Shade's answers solo.

Also, I wouldn't blame the candidate for actions taken by their supporters.  Mike Levy sent out a pretty idiotic letter in support of Shade, and had I judged Shade by Levy's comments, I would certainly be less inclined to vote for her.  But in fact, I judge only Levy for Levy's comments.

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#69 2011-06-11 23:57:45

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 554

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

MichaelBluejay wrote:

Mike Levy sent out a pretty idiotic letter in support of Shade, and had I judged Shade by Levy's comments, I would certainly be less inclined to vote for her.  But in fact, I judge only Levy for Levy's comments.

Yeah, that letter was really something special.

"The Committee for Even Minimally Sane and Rational Government in Austin" indeed ... his letter certainly didn't seem even minimally sane or rational.

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#70 2011-06-13 09:41:24

lluciano
Member
Registered: 2008-12-24
Posts: 21

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Randi did respond to the questionaire.  Did it not get posted Michael?  I have a copy if you need it!

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#71 2011-06-13 10:22:28

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,210
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Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Yes, I got Randi's questionnaire, I just haven't had a chance to format it and post it yet.  I'll do that late tonight.  In the meantime, Bicycle Austin has endorsed Randi Shade, based on her very good answers to the questionnaire, and the fact that Tovo didn't return hers.  (I called the Tovo campaign multiple times, and on Sunday they said they'd let me know one way or the other by Sunday night whether Tovo would have time to return the survey, but I didn't hear from them.)

Frankly, though, Tovo would have had a hard time topping Shade's answers, not just on the actual positions, but especially on the clarity of the responses.

Personally, I disagree with Shade on Water Treatment Plant #4, and probably some other issues, but for the Bicycle Austin endorsement, considering only transportation related issues, she gets the nod.

I certainly don't think Tovo is anti-bike in any way, but she's probably more inclined to defer to neighborhood associations (who might want to keep parking in bike lanes, for example), and is more likely to oppose density (as M1ek pointed out).

The endorsement is listed prominently on the front page.  Incidentally, LoBV's endorsement of Shade is nowhere to be found on their own home page.

Anyway, I'll do a complete write-up, along with Shade's answers, late tonight.

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#72 2011-06-13 11:05:21

lluciano
Member
Registered: 2008-12-24
Posts: 21

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Great Michael.  Thank you.  And thanks for letting me know about the LOBV endorsement.  Early voting ends Tuesday folks.  Have a voice and Vote!

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#73 2011-06-13 11:39:04

tomwald
Moderator
From: 78722
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 288

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

MichaelBluejay wrote:

Incidentally, LoBV's endorsement of Shade is nowhere to be found on their own home page.

So, I guess that the LOBV doesn't get Bluejay's endorsement?  ;P

For a long time, I've wanted to fix our website so that we could list more content on top of the front page.  But no one stepped up. I've made multiple volunteer calls.  We had been searching for a volunteer webmaster for quite a while, since our last one went onto other things.
http://lobv.org/volunteer/

However, within the last couple of weeks, we had a few people step up to show interest, so I suspect that we will have a new webmaster very soon.  Then we will fix this, as has needed to be done for many months.

The endorsement is actually linked to from front page anyway and was when Bluejay posted his blog post, but Bluejay didn't notice.  In any case, it's not prominent enough.

The LOBV welcomes ideas for improvement and more importantly, we welcome the volunteer help to go along with those ideas.  Our organization is nearly completely volunteer run.

And yes, the LOBV endorses Randi Shade for Austin City Council Place 3 (including the runoff).
http://lobv.org/2011/04/lobv-board-endo … y-council/
http://www.randishade.com

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#74 2011-06-13 14:19:08

lluciano
Member
Registered: 2008-12-24
Posts: 21

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

A webmaster I am not!  Wish I could help!

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#75 2011-06-13 15:33:32

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Who do we want on the City Council?

Thanks for your clarification, Michael.
I look forward to read Shade's answers. I really hope to see something there that motivates me to change my mind.

I am back to square 1. Torn between voting for the "green" candidate that doesn't care for bicycling and supporting the incumbent that would give more subsidies to F1 and has received strong support from real estate.
Wow, it's hot in Austin.

Last edited by bizikletari (2011-06-13 15:33:58)

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