People are in mortal danger walking or biking on that road, mostly trying to get to the grocery store from surrounding neighborhoods. Meanwhile, cut through traffic is zooming out of control and there is no way to get to any kind of park or away from cars. It is already in the long range plan but it needs to be moved up to immediately.
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Second-hand smoke is a terrible health risk. Patrons like myself often prefer to sit in outdoor areas but are either forced to deal with smoke or stay inside highly refrigerated establishments. If we have pets with us, indoors is not an option. Even if one buys the premise / economic argument that banning smoking hurts business for bars and cafes, is this how Austin wants to deal with the enormous health risks presented by smoking, and encourage in its citizenry, many of them quite young, the development of lifelong poor habits. In cities such as Boston, Portland, and Ottawa Canada, smoking bans have been extremely effective at raising quality of life. If necessary to compromise, banning smoking at least before nightlife hours, e.g. before 7pm, would go a long way toward protecting patrons like myself and, especially, children. Here are a few articles worth reading : https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2013/12_0327.htm; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24529192 ; http://www.who.int/fctc/publications/Smoke_free_policies_FINAL_09052014.pdf ; http://austin.eater.com/2016/7/21/12251040/smoke-ban-patios-austin-bars-restaurants ; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260217578_Systematic_review_and_meta-analysis_of_the_economic_impact_of_smoking_bans_in_restaurants_and_bars ;
Keep grass, weeds, trees and shrubs trimmed along sidewalks. The city currently does not comply with it's own ordinance (City of Austin Code 10-5, Article 2) requires that grass and weeds be maintained below 12 inches.
I would like to see the city take initiative and fix potholes and bad roads without being prompted. I understand you can call 311 to get potholes fixed within 24 hours. That does not mean the responsibility of fixing roads should be transferred to the citizen. Take some initiative austin and fix the countless BAD roads in this city that are messing up my car. Riverside drive alone has so many potholes and uneven raised surfaces. I am paying a monthly charge in my utility bill every month for roads yet you do nothing. Please and thank you!
In all these policy discussions, we should get beyond "there ought to be a law." Rules need to be enforced, which bring all sorts of costs, rarely outweighed by any fines levied. So slow down speeders with speed bumps, encourage cross-walk use with pedestrian bump-outs, etc. In other words, provide some immediate, obvious benefit to the individual for the desired behavior, rather than a low probability risk of rule enforcement fines. The same applies to building codes, event procedures, et al. Figure out ways to reward good behavior, not just ways to rule and try to punish bad behavior.
Les do this
".. Austin residents are no strangers to big events, but all those visitors can take a toll on the city’s infrastructure .. A lot of these things are things that we’re currently funding through property taxes, so if hotel occupancy taxes can be used, then it can relieve some pressure on the general fund and ultimately help lower property taxes .."
Amen to that .. when your property tax is DOUBLE your Federal Income Tax, something is out of whack
How about the idea that residents should not have to pay to use libraries. The Briscoe Center for American History just announced you will have to pay to park to do research, and the closest parking lot is half a mile away. The Austin History Center and Austin Library is down to one (1) free day a week. Ditto other "cultural instituions": The Harry Ransom Center, the Blanton Museum and the Texas Memorial Museum. The taxes to live here go up, up, up, and amenities to even basics like library access go down, down, down. This is not the direction Austin should be going.
I want to be clear I am not a user of any illegal drugs. We need to legalize marijuana in our city, and tax the heck out of it. Use the funds for only two things 1) more "neighborhood" police officers to help cut down on all of the house and car break ins across the city and 2) LOWER PROPERTY TAXES TO INCREASE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOME OWNERSHIP.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING ISSUES: Many of us own well taken care of small apartment complexes that are currently affordable housing. However we are having to raise our rental prices due to the rising taxes, which then will move these apartments out of the affordable housing range. We need to consider tax breaks for habitable apartments that are low income, and stop funding the slum lords of the city. We also need help these small affordable housing providers with grants to help them improve properties with things like separate water meters in order to keep the rent in the affordable housing range. If not, these units will start disappearing (a lot already have). In addition the city of Austin has an agreement with outside trash vendors. Small apartment owners have to use expensive vendors for trash for the city of Austin, which again pushes cost to the renter and again is another cause for low income housing going away. Let's do away with those agreements and allow low income housing providers to use the Austin less expensive trash service. All of these things will help the good providers continue to be able to provide low income housing.