Capital Metro To Recommend Light Rail Lines, And 6 Other Things Happening This Week

Mar 9, 2020

From new rail line discussions to a public hearing on gun control, here's what's going on in Austin this week. 

In The News This Week

Capital Metro Will Recommend Two Train Lines And A Downtown Tunnel

Capital Metro is going big when it comes to transit expansion in Austin. On Monday, its Project Connect team has plans to recommend the construction of two light rail lines and a downtown tunnel to help them move along faster.

Read more about the plans here.

Transportation Policy Board To Discuss Transit Needs And An I-35 Funding Plan

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transportation Policy Board is set to meet on Monday night. It will discuss a study of the region's transit needs, particularly in areas outside Capital Metro's service area. If the board adopts the findings, it will be used to guide planning decisions moving forward.

The board is also expected to discuss the new funding plan for the I-35 Capital Express project through downtown Austin. Part of the $4.3 billion proposal involves a reallocation of funds given to CAMPO by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The Rewrite Of Austin’s Land Use Code Is Heading To Court (Again)

The city’s rewrite of its land development code heads to court this week, after 19 homeowners sued the city in December. Though originally planned for Monday, the lawsuit has been tentatively rescheduled to Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of property owners in Austin have filed protests with the city over how rules determining what can be built on their land or in their neighborhood may change with a proposed rewrite of the city’s zoning rules. The legal right to protest a rezoning is in state law, but the city argues that this is a change affecting every property in Austin, meaning it’s more like a policy change than a specific rezoning. 

Lawyers suing the city don’t buy this – and will argue in district court that state law still applies. If they win, the City Council needs 9 of 11 members voting to veto a zoning protest. Votes that at the moment, the council doesn't appear to have. 

Read more about the case here.

Update: State Senate Committee Hearing Testimony On Gun Control Has Been Postponed

The Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety had plans to talk about gun control on Tuesday. The committee was going to hear public testimonies on the topic of “keeping firearms out of the hands of individuals who would not pass a federal background check, while protecting the Second Amendment and Texans’ right to bear arms.”

It was announced on Monday that the public hearing would be postponed to a later date "out of an abundance of caution given the recent public health events occurring around the globe," according to the public notice.

Organizations Are Teaming Up To Support Those Affected By The SXSW Cancellation

Music industry members in the Red River Cultural District met to discuss organizing for SXSW among the local Austin music community after the festival's official cancellation.
Credit Julia Reihs / KUT

In the wake of the cancellation of South by Southwest due to concerns over coronavirus, people are stepping up to help those dealing with the fallout of losing the 10-day economic powerhouse that befalls Austin each spring. 

Businesses and venues have started fundraisers to help the bartenders, hospitality workers, artists and others affected by the cancellation. Some organizations are trying to re-home canceled showcases and events. As the original event dates — March 16-22 — near, we’ll be keeping an eye on how the community responds.

KUT And KUTX Events Happening This Week

Got Questions About The Coronavirus?

KUT is planning a live, one-hour program aimed at answering your questions about the virus, its potential effects on Austin and Central Texas and what we can all do to help stop the spread of the disease. Ask your questions here and then listen on Thursday at 9 a.m. on KUT 90.5 or online at KUT.org.

KUTX Presents Walker Lukens, Nolan Potters Nightmare Band And More

KUTX is putting on a show for all ages at Barracuda on Saturday at 8 p.m. The show features Walker Lukens, Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band, SMiiLE, Löwin, Think No Think, Zettajoule, Stilletto Feels and UVH. 

This post has been updated to reflect that the date of the land code rewrite lawsuit has changed and the senate committee hearing has been postponed.