The meeting was opened by RNA President Lisa D’Augustine at 7:04. There were 23 members in attendance. There were three guests–Cindy Black from the Northfield neighborhood; and, Mark Gilbert and Karen Thigpen from Travis County.
Upcoming meeting dates
Lisa D’Augustine announced the dates for the next 4 RNA meetings. Each of these meetings will be held at 7 pm in one of the classrooms at Ridgetop Baptist Church, located at 708 E. 51st St. PLEASE NOTE: due to holidays, the December and April meetings are not on the 3rd Monday of the month.
- December14th @7pm
- February 22nd @7pm
- April 18th @7pm
- June 20th @7pm
Megan Gilbride reminded the members that dues are voluntary and that the suggested donation is $10. Our current account balance is $645.11 Due can be mailed to Megan at 923 E. 49th ½ St. or through our website: www.ridgetopaustin.org
Presentation by Cindy Black, NLPT member
Cindy’s child attends Ridgetop Elementary. She has been advocating for pedestrian improvements for the intersection of 51st and Airport and the area near the school. Has applied for a grant and fee-in-lieu (currently $39,000 in that account). The community needs to tell the city them what it wants to do with those funds. All affected neighborhood associations need to provide a letter of support. Project costs $103,000. Could be 70-30 or 50-50 city-community match. She has informed as many people as possible who live within 300 feet of the school. A vote was held and approved a letter of support for the request.
Proposed amendment to bylaws
A clear supermajority of the members in attendance voted to amend the bylaws, moving the annual election to May of each year.
Presentation by Travis County staff on proposed development at 53 ½ and Airport
County representatives. Mark Gilbert and Karen Thigpen. Last time they addressed the RNA membership was December 2012.
- Current concept for the 3 acres on the south end of the property, providing office space for growing departments—Health and Human Services, tax offices—61,000 sq ft needed. Will only about 1/3 of the site. 65 -55-45 foot cascading height limit across the site.
- Higher density is a better return on investment for city tax dollars. Mixed income housing, mixed use.
- Want developers to propose a variety of ideas in terms of best serving the community. County will lease the land to developers.
- Board of directors will be the Travis county commissioner’s court.
- Have drafted a RFQ. This concept is new to Central Texas, but is being done in other communities.
- Market rate and affordable housing. Will include community space. Most of the 1st floor will be needed for the county office. Maybe only 1 small retail site. It is possible to develop a process that requires community input.
Question: Can the RFQ include a mention about traffic calming measures. Karen described a two step process and they do expect developers to suggest ways to address traffic and parking concerns in their proposals.
53 ½ St. traffic issues.
Billy Poe, Morningside Sector Vice President, provided some history on the project–TxDOT had considered 52th, 53rd and 53 ½ would be closed off from the I-35access road. But since they are city streets, this was not possible.
So, he and other RNA member started working directly with COA representatives. Transportation department provided info about speed study from March 2014. At 85 percentile of cars/minute, the average speed was 27 MPH. Based on that data, they did not believe there was a significant issue on 53 ½.
New count in recent weeks– am traffic peak hour indicated 362 cars west bound from the access road. Also provided accident history. 3 year period there were 3 accidents.
The city supports traffic circles at Bennet and at Harmon. This new attitude is an improvement. They will put up plastic delineators and remove the stop signs as an experiment to determine the impact to traffic and to gather neighborhood feedback. These are currently marked on the pavement with paint. This is not a permanent solution. If we want it to continue with the traffic circles, they will involve the neighborhood partnering program.
Downsides: Neighbors on those corners would lose a parking space. Noise from braking and accelerating, especially initially.
Neighbors request that the No Trucks sign be placed again at the end East end of 53 ½ St.
Additional information from the city: During the 51st traffic circle build-out, TxDot might temporarily close 53 ½ and advocate the right turn improvements be early-stage project; We should continue to communicate with Travis County to be clear about traffic impacts once they get going on that project.
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