Austin

Cap Metro's red line metro station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council voted Monday afternoon to move forward with plans to seek a property tax increase to help fund Project Connect, a plan to build more train and bus lines.

CAMPO hosts an open house in November looking at options for the Bergstrom Spur, an unused rail line in South Austin.
Samuel King / KUT

An unused rail line to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could become a new hike-and-bike trail and even host a transit line in the future. The Capital Area Regional Planning Organization (CAMPO) and the City of Austin's Urban Trails Program are gathering input on what should happen with the line, known as the Bergstrom Spur.

Austin Public Health says it will need an ever-increasing supply of masks and gloves at its COVID-19 testing site in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

In an effort to secure N95 masks for first responders and public health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Austin has had to cancel deals with vendors that couldn’t deliver and return thousands of lesser-quality masks.

Brenda Ramos at her home in South Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Brenda Ramos is not broken.

She strains in a chair in her South Austin home, adjusting the pain-relief pads just below her shoulder, displacing the rosary she's been keeping around her neck since her son, Mike, died. She's surrounded by sympathy cards and flowers. A crucifix reads, "I am with you."

Capital Metro's Red Line station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro board unanimously approved the recommended plan for Project Connect, the regional vision for expanded transit service in the region. But hurdles remain, including coming up with a way to pay for the expansion and oversee its implementation. Voters could potentially decide on a property tax increase in November.

Some of the work in historically underserved areas has already begun, such as the Norwood Transit Center, which opened late last year in Northeast Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro Board and Austin City Council are expected to vote Wednesday on a preferred plan for Project Connect, the proposal to expand the region’s transit system. 

Liz Brake, a volunteer medic, poses outside Austin Police Department headquarters during nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Liz Brake had a long day Saturday. A lot of people did. One could argue the entire country did

As a volunteer medic on the streets of Austin, she worked through waves of pepper spray, waves of "beanbags" fired off by law enforcement, and hours of chanting by demonstrators targeted by those beanbags.

The Red Line station downtown
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro is closely monitoring data to determine how and where to ramp up transit service that was cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some MetroExpress commuter routes were restored earlier this week, but the bulk of Cap Metro’s bus routes remain on a Sunday schedule.

A notice to vacate is posted on an Austin home in 2018.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Supreme Court is letting its ban on eviction proceedings expire today, meaning that starting tomorrow there is no longer a state ban on a landlord’s ability to evict a tenant.

Southwest Airlines planes prepare to depart from Austin Airport on Feb. 21, 2019.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A team of investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration was sent to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after a man was found dead on a runway, possibly struck by a plane. 

Ralph Lee, who has been chronically homeless for three years, received a pre-loaded flip-phone from the city last month.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Amy Price lives in red tape. She thrives in it. And she's been at it for 25 years.

Price works at Front Steps, which manages the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. A couple months back – before she was sheltered-in-place with her cats – she hatched a plan. A cowboy operation, she calls it, a grant application as blunt as it was simple.

911 calls indicate West Oaks Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Southwest Austin has had a cluster of COVID-19 cases.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

"I have a resident. Her temperature is going up and her oxygen is dropping quite low, so the doctor wants to send her out," the caller from Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center says in a 911 call April 21. "She’s COVID-positive. ... She’s running a temp of 102. Her oxygen level’s dropping."

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A funding gap for the I-35 Capital Express project in Austin got a lot smaller Thursday, as the Texas Transportation Commission voted to allocate $3.4 billion as part of TxDOT’s 10-year transportation plan.

KUT Weekend brings you some of our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays.

A heart with "ATX" inside on the Fairmont Hotel
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Stay-at-home orders are expected to be issued in the City of Austin, Travis County and Williamson County on Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said. The orders would require all nonessential businesses to have employees work from home and further restrict other gatherings.

A protester holds a sign that says, "Students bring home more than homework."
Michael Minasi / KUT

KUT's photographers are documenting the changes to daily life that a pandemic has brought to the Austin area — from a safe distance.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro will be running fewer buses and trains on many routes starting Wednesday and is developing financial contingency plans in response to COVID-19. To protect drivers, Cap Metro is also asking passengers to enter buses through the rear door, unless they’re paying with cash or need the ramp.

City Council members and the Capital Metro Board of Directors meet discuss how to pay for plans to expand transit in the city.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Now that Capital Metro has revealed its preferred plan to expand transit in Austin, the question becomes how to pay for it. The Capital Metro board and Austin City Council tackled that question Monday during a joint work session.

A person uses hand sanitizer.
Julia Reihs / KUT

A man who was in the Austin area last month has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Southern India, officials say.

Austin's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department says the unidentified man was in the area Feb. 28, then traveled to Bengaluru in the Indian state of Karnataka before showing symptoms of the disease six days later. Dell Technologies confirmed Monday night that the man was an employee of Dell India, and that he visited the company's headquarters in Round Rock before heading back home.

An artist's rendering of a light-rail station platform.
Capital Metro

Capital Metro is going big when it comes to transit expansion in Austin. On Monday, its Project Connect team will not only recommend the construction of two light rail lines, but also a downtown tunnel to help them move along faster.

TxDOT

The Texas Transportation Commission discussed a solution Thursday to the funding gap for the Interstate 35 Capital Express project. Leaders have found $4.3 billion, which would allow the portion through the heart of Austin to move forward.

Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

For some, Austin doesn’t feel like the relaxed, artsy city they knew a couple decades ago. The city’s population has exploded in recent years, and with that has come big-city problems.

A Capital Metro bus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A tentative labor deal has been reached between the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091 and MV Transportation, which handles bus operations and maintenance services for Capital Metro.

A construction crew works on the site of the future Capital Metro downtown station.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The construction site for the new downtown station for Capital Metro's Red Line sits in a busy area near the intersection of Fourth Street and Red River Street, close to the Austin Convention Center.

That area is going to get even busier in a few weeks, when South by Southwest kicks off March 13.

A road sign says: "You're not a candle...Don't drive lit."
Photo: Gabriel C. Pérez/Illustration: Matt Largey / KUT

Traffic is one constant of life in Austin. But every so often, there’s something that breaks the monotony of brake lights: a sign reminding you that "You’re not a candle, so don’t drive lit" or "Designate a driver BE-VO the game."

Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Nearly 10 years ago, destructive wildfires forced mass evacuations and destroyed thousands of homes near Austin. Today, the city’s soaring growth is raising concern that Austin remains ill-prepared for a wildfire outbreak. California firefighters recently visited the capital city to educate community and city leaders on what they need to do to prepare for and prevent destructive wildfires.

A biker rides in a bike lane down Guadalupe Street.
Julia Reihs / KUT

For years, the City of Austin often waited for complaints before ticketing drivers who parked in bike lanes. Now, that policy is changing: The Austin Transportation Department said Tuesday it plans to increase staffing to eventually dedicate two officers per shift to actively enforce the rules.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As leaders consider how to fund an expansion of Austin's transit system, they've determined borrowing money through bonds may not be enough. So they're considering whether to ask voters to increase taxes to help pay for it.

A Tale Of Land Development In Two Texas Cities

Jan 9, 2020
Renee Dominguez/KUT and Gabriel C. Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Texas cities often make it onto those "Best Places to Live" lists. But with that popularity comes population growth, and no two cities handle it the same way. That's especially true when it comes to Austin and Houston.

Vehicles drive over the railroad crossing in the Rosewood neighborhood of East Austin.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Transportation Department has identified several railroad crossings in need of safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians. The findings come after a citywide review requested by the City Council in September based on recommendations from the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Council and Bicycle Advisory Council.

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