submitted by Kerry Kimbrough [Email address: kkimbrough #AT# - replace #AT# with @ ]

At its regularly scheduled meeting tonight (Mon Feb 13), the Land Use and Transportation subcommittee of the City Council once again took up the issue of Shoal Creek Blvd striping. You may recall that, in its previous meeting, LUT tossed in a new monkey-wrench by voting to ignore the stakeholder ballot and to proceed instead with a new design “bake-off”. But the dough didn’t rise. There will be no “pilot project” on SCB after all.

After two hours, SCB was the last item on the agenda, and committee members were ready to take care of business. Yes, there will be a pilot project, but on some other unspecified street, not SCB. Its primary sponsor, Brewster McCracken, declared his hope that when this pilot project is concluded, we can all revisit SCB with new lessons learned. Sondra Creighton, Director of Public Works, was there to declare her intention to bring a proposal for a pilot project to full Council in March. So much for that.

Only three citizens offered comments, but it was enough to neatly sum up the entire history of the debate. Michael Bluejay, a well-known Austin cycling advocate, appealed for safe bike lanes. Gretchen Vaden, who lives on SCB, asked to keep the current character of the street with parking on both sides. Allandale resident Jack Kern said we don’t need more pilot projects or more discussion — let’s respect the stakeholder ballot and make a decision.

So LUT did just that. On a motion by Lee Leffingwell, they voted unanimously to recommend Option 3. What does that mean? Except for the curb islands, which will be removed by previous decision, the street and the striping will remain essentially just like it is right now. Leffingwell said he chose this option because it is the cheapest and because most neighborhood residents voted for it. The LUT recommendation will now go to the full Council for a final decision, perhaps at their next scheduled meeting.

Another point worth noting was made by Creighton: sidewalks are coming to SCB. Creighton told LUT members that her staff is ready to proceed with new sidewalks in a month or two. Look for more news about this soon from your friendly neighborhood association.