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Transportation

Hole in the Wall wouldn't be razed under plan to extend Dean Keeton, but neighboring businesses would

An exterior view of the Hole in the Wall
Andy Jechow
/
KUT
The Hole in the Wall, a local music venue founded in 1974, would barely miss being obliterated by a plan to extend Dean Keeton Street a block west to San Antonio Street.

One of the longest-running music venues in Austin would narrowly dodge a plan to bulldoze through businesses at the end of Dean Keeton Street to extend the road a block farther west.

The Hole in the Wall, a nightclub founded in 1974, would sit at the corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe streets when the project was complete. The venue's popular backyard patio would back up to Dean Keeton instead of a parking lot.

The Hole in the Wall patio sits empty in March 2020 after the bar was forced to close as part of an early effort to contain the coronavirus.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
The bar's patio would abut Dean Keeton under a plan to extend Guadalupe.

Neighboring businesses wouldn't be as lucky.

Right now, Dean Keeton stops at Guadalupe. The extension to San Antonio Street would give vehicles a place to go when traffic on Guadalupe is reduced or eliminated to make way for a new light-rail line that's part of the city's $7.1 billion Project Connect transit expansion. The extension would first require City Council approval.

"Because of the constrained right-of-way, what we would want to do is allow people to continue to go west and hit San Antonio Street," Austin Transit Partnership consultant Jerry Smiley with the engineering company AECOM explained at a public "design workshop" last week. "It just makes it a little bit easier for the entire traffic network to function."

San Antonio Street would be reconfigured to allow for three lanes of traffic, according to ATP presentation documents.

A map showing the proposed Dean Keeton Street extension
Austin Transit Partnership
This map shows the proposed extension of Dean Keeton Street. The map is oriented so that west is at the top.

"Beautiful, beautiful news," Moody's Kitchen and Bar owner Mahmud "Moody" Ugur said sarcastically when KUT told him his building would be destroyed under the plan. "I have a 10-year lease, and I just spent a lot of money on the remodel."

Ugur said no one from the city, CapMetro or the ATP has reached out to inform him.

"Some random person told me a couple months ago," he said. "I thought they were high or something."

Jenn's Copy & Binding and a vacant commercial space most recently occupied by Korean restaurant Kokodak are also in the path of the planned roadway. The owners of Jenn's did not respond to a request for comment before this story was published. Attempts to reach the owners of the buildings were unsuccessful.

The street extension was included in a list of projects that had achieved "staff concurrence" — meaning officials from the city, CapMetro and the ATP had reached agreement — following "extensive community involvement."

Other changes to city streets that staff from the three government groups agreed to included:

  • Removing all left turns between intersections with traffic signals along both the Orange and Blue light-rail lines
  • Adding U-turns at some intersections with traffic signals
  • Removing one lane of traffic in each direction on Riverside Drive between I-35 and U.S. 183 to accommodate light-rail in the center of the street.
  • Modifying or removing back-in angled parking on South Congress between Milton and Gibson Streets
  • Removing parking on the Drag
  • Removing parking on Guadalupe Street between 41st and 43rd streets
  • Removing parking on Fourth Street between Guadalupe and Trinity Street to increase accommodations for pedestrians above a subway tunnel under Fourth Street
  • Relocating the Waller Creek Boathouse to accommodate the Blue line crossing over Lady Bird Lake
  • Removing a "wedge" of Norwood Park up to 55-feet deep
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