Austin Transportation

Whale Beached on South 1st

Today, I was planning to pick up a friend on South 1st (anĀ arterial route south from downtown) near Barton Springs when he called telling me to “look out for the beached whale on South 1st”. Since Austin, much less South 1st, is 200 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico, yet he told me to trust him and I’d understand later.

Sure enough, as I’m driving to pick him up, at about 800 South 1st Street at a steep driveway, there was a Blue Whale Moving Company truck stuck, partly blocking the southbound lanes of South 1st. The driveway was too steep for them to make it up, but the back grill of the truck prevented them from reversing out of the driveway.
From the time my friend told me about it until the last time I drove by the beached whale was three hours and it didn’t seem like it was going to be moving anytime soon.
Austin Transportation

Capital Metro’s Red Line

Capital Metro, the transit agency for Austin, is gearing up for a launch of the first rail-based mass transit solution in near a century at the end of this month. The line, running from the Austin Convention Center to Leander, will save the sanity of folks who normally drive U.S. 183.

I visited the Plaza Satillo station during an open house and it’s… nice. There really isn’t much to write home to mom about on this one if you’ve seen any other light rail station. The train itself is nice, room for six bikes, Wi-Fi enabled, a few “VIP” seats that form into a conference table (no, there’s no VIP ticket, first-come, first-serve). I do want to take a round-trip on it and see if I can get any work done while using the conference table. It’s like a coffee shop, except no coffee.

I hope people who will actually use the line are receptive to it. Living near Congress/Oltorf means I’ll never ride the Red Line (except whatever day I choose to kill a morning riding it and back and forth once), but I’m encouraged at this direction for mass transit in Austin.

Green Line (Manor-Elgin), here we come!

College Transportation

UT doesn’t like to share.

I can’t post details yet, but UT’s corporate greed to control all aspects of everything on campus is incredibly frustrating.
Austin Transportation

You Are Trapped At Work

Road Closed SignAs a follow-up to my near home arrest, I am now trapped at work. Currently, there is a Nike 10K that is being ran by individuals across the world at the same time. In Austin, the running route has MLK, Guadalupe, Red River and Dean Keeton closed in various forms around campus with through traffic, apparently, not being allowed to cross those streets.

Anyone familiar with the campus area will quickly realize that anyone with a car on campus won’t be able to get out until the road closures are ended. I’m at work (on campus) now, but not leaving anytime soon.

Austin Transportation

skateboards that cause problems

I was driving home today on Congress, turning right to a side street, when a person on a skateboard rode out in front of me. I honked and him, and he yelled profanely back that he was at a crosswalk.
For those unaware, it is illegal to ride a skateboard on the sidewalk on Congress Ave between the river and the Capitol, on 6th between 700 East 6th and 1200 West 6th, and on Guadalupe between MLK and 29th street.
I probably shouldn’t have honked, but he shouldn’t yell at me when he’s the one actually illegally.
Church Transportation

The Pope on Driving

Today I would like to propose another prayer intention, given the news we receive, especially during this period, of numerous road accidents. We must not get used to this sad reality! Human life is too precious and it is too unworthy of man to meet death or become an invalid due to causes that could mostly be avoided. There is certainly a need for a greater sense of responsibility, above all by drivers, as accidents are often caused by excessive speed and imprudent conduct. Driving on public roads calls for moral and civic sense. Indispensable to fostering this is authorities’ constant endeavor to prevent, keep watch and restrict. Moreover, as the Church, we feel directly involved at the ethical level: Christians must above all make a personal examination of conscience on their own conduct as drivers; moreover, communities should educate everyone to consider traffic as a field in which life must be protected and love of neighbor concretely exercised.

–Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday, August 17th during his weekly Angelus reflection