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Posts Tagged ‘Austin’

First impressions of the 2014 results

My initial thoughts, for what they are worth. – Let me begin by saying that for all the criticism I had of the UT/Texas Trib’s polling and the skepticism of Internet-sample methodology, they were fairly accurate in the end. In particular, the last YouGov result just about nailed it. I still think what they do […]

Austin gives early approval to Uber and Lyft

It’s temporary pending a second Council vote and further study. After nearly four hours of testimony and debate, council members gave initial approval shortly after midnight to new rules that would temporarily legalize ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, whose drivers have been providing rides-for-hire for months in defiance of city code. The measure, […]

Abbott issues bag ban opinion

It’s complicated. Do plastic bag bans and restrictions in cities like Austin, Laredo, and Brownsville violate Texas law? According to an opinion issued by Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office handed down on Friday afternoon, that depends on how you define two phrases: “container or package” and “solid waste management.” Opinions on Texas law from the […]

AirBnB in Houston

When people talk about “the sharing economy” for good or ill, the main players that get named tend to be Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB. We’ve heard a lot about the first two in Houston lately, but prior to this Chron story I can’t say I’d heard anything about the latter. Airbnb launched in 2009 as […]

Another lawsuit against Uber and Lyft

That’s three lawsuits that I know of. A coalition of Texas disability advocates sued ride-share companies Uber and Lyft on Thursday as part of dozens of lawsuits filed around the state ahead of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Uber and Lyft are up and coming in terms of transportation companies, and they […]

Here comes the Uber and Lyft vote

Barring anything unexpected, today is the day that Houston City Council settles – for now, anyway – the Uber/Lyft issue. Houston is not the only place where transportation network companies are seeking to do business in Texas, of course. The Trib takes a look at the state of play around Texas. “As the current city […]

The Uber/Lyft debate comes to Austin

Get ready, y’all. The discussion around Austin’s public transportation debate has been at times both fevered and nuanced, driven in large part by social media. There have been discussions about lightrail, late-night bus service, parking ticket waivers, taxi driver accountability and, of course, drinking and driving. But during this call to action, no one name […]

AG opinion sought on bag bans

Whatever. As proponents continue to tout the benefits of banning plastic bags, the debate over whether Texas cities like Austin actually have the ability to enact such ordinances has made its way to the attorney general’s office. In a letter seeking an opinion from Attorney General Greg Abbott, state Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, questioned whether […]

Enforcing a new payday loan ordinance

Mayor Parker’s proposed payday lending ordinance will be up before Council today, though it might wind up being delayed until the new Council is sworn in. It’s not clear yet how the vote might go, but in the meantime it’s worth pondering what the enforcement mechanism for this new law would be. Other cities that […]

Austin B-Cycle coming

Took ‘em long enough. Service will launch Dec. 21 with 110 bikes and 11 stations, including one sponsored by the Chronicle. The full project will be completed by March 1, 2014, with expanded stations planned to service the UT-Austin campus, Riverside Drive, Zilker Park, and East Austin. These first locations were whittled down from the […]

The cities versus the payday lenders

The Observer writes about representatives from Texas cities getting together to talk about how to fight the scourge of payday lenders. The conference panel on Thursday was an opportunity for city officials from around the state to share advice and encouragement. The panel included Austin City Councilman Bill Spelman and legal advisors from Austin, Denton […]

Bag ban update

Having survived legislative meddling, bag bans are back on the agenda in Texas cities. Six months after Austin’s ban on most disposable plastic and paper bags took effect at checkout counters across the city, political fights are raging in Laredo and Dallas to follow suit. In Dallas, the debate over a single-use bag ban (for both paper […]

Redistricting and voter ID lawsuit updates

From Texas Redistricting, a typically thorough look at where things stand with redistricting and voter ID litigation in the three courts – San Antonio, where the redistricting litigation has been ongoing and is likely due for some action; Corpus Christi, where the recent voter ID lawsuits were filed and now stand, likely pending consolidation; and […]

Texas cities embracing bicycles

It’s a good thing. In Fort Worth, the mayor hosts occasional bicycle rides called “Rolling Town Halls.” The Dallas City Council could may soon require new businesses to set aside space for bicycle parking. Over in El Paso, officials are developing plans for a bike-share system, which is expected to be the fifth such program […]

Film incentive lawsuit

I can’t wait to see what happens with this. A lawsuit filed by Austin-based filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and the production company behind his film Machete accuses The Texas Film Commission of denying agreed-to financial incentives after the commission decided the film was “inappropriate.” Machete Chop Shop Inc. says in a suit filed July 13 in […]

Austin wins X Games

Congrats, Austin. The X Games are going from the glitz of Los Angeles to deep in the heart of Texas. Athletes with skateboards and motorcycles will be competing in the Texas capital after ESPN announced Wednesday that Austin will be the next North American host city for the X Games. “Austin over the last several […]

Enrolling the uninsured

This is going to be such a huge job. Fresh produce wasn’t the only thing you could find at the Farmers Market [last] Saturday. Volunteers with the Get Covered America campaign were passing out flyers and letting people know that starting Oct. 1, American citizens can enroll for low-cost health insurance as part of the […]

Making San Antonio more musical

San Antonio is a little jealous of Austin, it seems. Tired of San Antonio playing second fiddle to Austin when it comes to a live music scene, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Friday laid out ambitious plans to change that. Wolff said he’s ready to work with two top-notch promoters to raise San Antonio’s […]

Collecting compost from restaurants

The city of Austin takes another step on its path towards zero waste. Austin restaurants and other food businesses will have to compost food scraps starting in 2016, under new rules the City Council OK’d Thursday. Food service businesses — including fast-food chains, caterers, cafeterias and bars — that are bigger than 5,000 square feet […]

Are we too hip for our own good?

Craig Hlavaty notes Houston’s current status as the It City of the national media, and wonders if that’s necessarily a good thing for us. But with the praise and accolades, lots of Houstonians are fearful that the Bayou City will become a boomtown cesspool of out-of-towners clogging our roadways, gyms, eateries, apartment complexes, and bars […]

Cities generally ignore Abbott’s domestic partnership opinion

Good for them. Attorney General Greg Abbott’s opinion [last] week, while not binding, is the latest of several challenges to same-sex benefits across the country that so far have had mixed results in the courts and prompted changes after officials in other states took action. In Texas, local governments from El Paso to San Antonio […]

No X Games for Houston

Alas. After more than 10 years in and around downtown Los Angeles, the X Games will leave Southern California for a new destination next year. Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, N.C. have been announced as finalist cities to earn three-year contracts to host the North American summer stop on the X Games global tour […]

Not just Austin, dammit

What Flavia Isabel says: The single purpose of this post is to eradicate the phrase “Oh yeah, Austin is a blue dot in a sea of red” from the vocabulary of anybody who cares about turning Texas blue. I am so incredibly sick and tired of hearing this refrain. It’s part of the Austin mythology. […]

Mobile payments

Austin is a hot spot for the hot new thing in retail technology. Mobile payments technology is gathering steam across the country, but Austin is one of the hot spots, both for deployment of new technology and for development of new software for payment systems and payment processing. Dozens of merchants have affiliated with Square […]

More on that underutilized high speed toll road

More toll road travails. Traffic counts on the new section of Texas 130, released Friday by the Texas Department of Transportation based on newspaper open records requests, show that the tollway southeast of Austin in its first couple of months was seeing fewer than 3,000 vehicles a day. About 5 percent of those were big […]

From the “What’s it to you”? department

Freshman Rep. Drew Springer likes meddling in other people’s business. Austin’s recycling director urged the Legislature on Wednesday night to allow the city’s plastic bag ordinance to continue without state interference. Bob Gedert, director of Austin Resource Recovery, told the House Committee on Urban Affairs that he had visited 300 store managers in the past […]

Austin bag ban lawsuit filed

This bears watching. The Texas Retailers Association is suing the city of Austin over a disposable bag ban set to take effect [today], saying the ban violates state law and should be tossed out. The ban will prohibit all Austin retailers from offering thin, so-called single-use paper and plastic bags at checkout counters. [...] The […]

Austin to get bike sharing

About time, y’all. City Council will vote Thursday on a five-year contract with a newly formed nonprofit organization, Bike Share of Austin, to operate the system. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization awarded Austin a $1.5 million grant last summer that would fund most of the project. Bike Share of Austin, the only organization that […]

Curbside composting

Way to go, Austin. City officials are asking Austinites in 7,900 households in five parts of the city to separate their banana peels, egg shells, meat, chicken bones, milk cartons, leaves and any other organic material from their household trash and put the material into a new rolling garbage cart. The one-year trial run will […]

First pass at analyzing the 2012 results

This is kind of a brain dump, based on the information available now. I’ll have plenty more to say once precinct data has been released. – The current tally in the Presidential race on the Secretary of State webpage, with comparison to 2008, is as follows: 2008 Votes Pct =========================== McCain 4,479,328 55.45% Obama 3,528,633 […]

New passenger rail study

We’ll see if this goes anywhere. The Texas Department of Transportation is launching a two-year, $14 million study of passenger rail service between South Texas and Oklahoma City. That could mean bringing high-speed rail or, at the least, finding ways to connect the state’s major cities with some type of rail service. The study also […]

Austin’s choices for Council districts

The Statesman has a look at the choices Austin voters have for how to redesign their City Council from an all-At Large system to one with Council districts. In the debate over whether to change the City Council from citywide members to those who represent smaller districts, one question has galvanized supporters and opponents: who […]

It was nice knowing you, Lockhart

There’s so much that’s wrong with this. Community leaders believe the four lanes of Texas 130 will spur growth — despite what is expected to be a charge of about 15 cents a mile to drive on it. The tollway, which will link Lockhart to Austin to the north and will provide a much faster […]

Houston-Austin rail update

Houston Tomorrow: The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to fund environmental and financial feasibility studies for a passenger rail line connecting Houston to Austin, according to the Texas Tribune and KUT Austin. The planned line would be a 110mph train connecting Houston, Hempstead, Brenham, Giddings, and Austin, for about $1.2 billion, although TXDOT is […]