Northwest Austin Edition - March 2020

NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION

$7.2 million all-access trail section now complete v

VOLUME 14, ISSUE 2  MARCH 27APRIL 30, 2020

ONLINE AT

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Due to the fast-changing nature of coronavirus in the region, readers should visit communityimpact.com to nd the latest coverage on announcements, case numbers, business closures and more.

IMPACTS

TRAILS

WALLY'SBURGEREXPRESS

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For the rst time in more than a generation, March 2020 came and went without South by South- west Conference & Festivals, Austin’s famed tech and cultural event that draws hundreds of thou- sands of attendees from across the world. Locally, the 10-day stretch of SXSW is more than a celebratory festival—it has proven to be an essential nancial asset to the community, now lost in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, which the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. Initially, several local busi- nesses and laborers said the nancial hardship of los- ing SXSWwas a weight too heavy to bear. The virus has since escalated into anational and local emergency and diminished large swaths of the service economy in Austin and across the country. Like many U.S. cities, Austin’s government has restricted gather- ings of more than 10 people, closed dine-in services at all bars and restaurants, and urged people towork from home to help mitigate the spread of the virus. U.S. President Donald Trump said such measures could last until mid-summer. CONTINUED ON 26 Local businesses ght for future after SXSW, coronavirus fallout BY COMMUNITY IMPACT STAFF

CENSUS 2020

POPULATIONCHANGES Federal funding heavily weighs on population counts taken from the census. Growing populations can mean more money, but greater is the impact when there is an undercount.

566,719

600K

1.5M

1,248,743

+34.08%

+21.92%

1,024,266

422,679

500K

1.2M

Estimated cost per year of a 1% undercount to the county: $187.31 M*

Estimated cost per year of a 1% undercount to the county: $85.01M*

400K

900K

0

0

Local entities push for an accurate count as decennial poll begins BY EMMA FREER AND ALI LINAN Money, power, businessat stakewith2020census *CALCULATED USING THE CENSUS BUREAU'S ESTIMATION THAT EACH PERSON UNDERCOUNTED RESULTS IN A $1,500 LOSS PER YEAR FOR 10 YEARS SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAUCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

The results are then used to determine federal funding allocations, government representation at the federal and local levels, and corporate decisions, all of which could have major impacts on residents, Loveday said. “These funds come to the state of Texas for pro- grams, but they also trickle down all the way to the local level,” Loveday said. Money at stake Every year, the federal government distributes $675 billion to states based on population, which is

THE SPRING SEASON PROVIDES 30% TO 40% OF OUR ANNUAL INCOME. THE SEAS

Texas lost an estimated $3.59 billion in federal funding due to an undercount in the 2010 census, pushing local municipalities and nonprots to rev up participation in the coming census, according to census data. The census is a constitutionally mandated survey that is taken every 10 years to count each person where he or she lives on April 1. The rst census took place in 1790 and is only used for data-gathering purposes, said Douglas Love- day, senior media specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. The distributed census is condential and anonymous, he added.

AUTUMN RICH, COFOUNDER OF EVENT PRODUCTION AND FURNITURE RENTAL COMPANY PANACEA COLLECTIVE

CONTINUED ON 24

THE BEST HAS ALWAYS BEEN HERE.

The Best Is Here.

StDavids.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Your Safety.

Your Utilities.

Our Priority.

We want to keep your lights on and your water running. The City of Austin cares about your health and safety. Smart actions can keep your utilities on and help you stay safe. Remember these tips during this time of caution: • Continue your service: The City of Austin has stopped utility disconnects caused by non–payment. If your utilities were recently turned off because of unpaid bills, contact City of Austin Utilities today for a courtesy reconnection. Call 512-494-9400 . • Consider new ways to pay: For public safety reasons, the City of Austin Walk–In Utility Billing Centers are currently closed. Check out other payment options by visiting austinenergy.com/go/paymentoptions or call 3-1-1 for more information.

• Stop the scams: Watch for possible scams during this time. Contact us if you have any doubts about a suspicious billing call or email. Call 512-494-9400. • Stay calm and clean: Remember to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly.

© 2020 City of Austin

While social distancing, stay connected to your City Utilities and City information channels. However you spend your time at home, be safe and contact us if you need utility assistance.

For more information, please visit: austintexas.gov/COVID19 or call 3-1-1

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • MARCH 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more

FROMPHYLLIS: Recently, our community and our world have temporarily been changed with events regarding coronavirus. If you have followed communityimpact.com, you have seen our team hard at work keeping up with the coverage. Breaking news on this matter has been abundant, and we are grateful for the platform to share it. We know that our readers expect us to uphold our mission. That is why we continue to produce a high-quality print edition packed full of the useful local content you expect in your mailbox every month. We look forward to a return to normalcy in the future when we can focus 100% of our reporting on hyperlocal community news. In the meantime, Community Impact Newspaper will continue to deliver our promise to our readers. We will be covering this big story but also all of the other stories that are important to our readers, carefully and closely.

PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett PUBLISHERAUSTINMETRO Travis Baker GENERAL MANAGER Phyllis Campos, pcampos@communityimpact.com EDITORIAL

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 12 News on area roadway projects EDUCATION BRIEFS 17 Round Rock ISD shifts school boundaries ELECTIONS 19 March primary results CITY& COUNTY 20 The latest local news WHERE’S THE TODO LIST? FROMTHE EDITOR: Many Austin events have been canceled as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus. Because of this, we realized we could not guarantee the accuracy of an event listing page and decided to not run our To-Do List this month. We hope to bring this content back soon . Iain Oldman, EDITOR

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane MANAGING EDITOR Joe Warner ASSOCIATEMANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney EDITOR Iain Oldman COPY CHIEF Andy Comer COPY EDITORS Ben Dickerson, Kasey Salisbury STAFFWRITERS Olivia Aldridge, Jack Flagler, Taylor Jackson Buchanan, Ali Linan, Christopher Neely CONTRIBUTINGWRITER Emma Freer ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Taylor Caranfa DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace GRAPHIC DESIGNER Mel Stea STAFF DESIGNERS Miranda Baker, Chance Flowers, Shelby Savage BUSINESS GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Claire Love ABOUT US John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. CONTACT US 16225 Impact Way, Ste. 1 Pugerville, TX 78660 • 5129896808 communityimpact.com PRESS RELEASES nwanews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

Phyllis Campos, GENERALMANAGER

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Local sources 29

New businesses 14

Schools with new feeder patterns 6

Primary election races covered 17

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DINING FEATURE Wally's Burger Express REAL ESTATE Residential market data IMPACT DEALS

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Local coupons

Open to the Public 500 W Ben White Blvd Austin, TX 78704 @atxrestore Discount Home Improvement Store and Donation Center CORRECTION: Volume 14, Issue 1 On Page 18, the address of ZACH Theatre should have been listed as 14010 US 183, Ste. 540, Austin, and the phone number is 512-476-0541.

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • MARCH 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS PECAN PARK BLVD.

LAKELINE MALL DR.

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon as of March 20

COMPILED BY IAIN OLDMAN

MERRILLTOWN DR.

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BRATTON LN.

SINGLE TRACE

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WELLS BRANCH PKWY.

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CENTURY OAKS TERRACE

Mizzen+Main

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MOPAC

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traction, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry and more. 844-276-4537. www.jeersondentalclinics.com 7 Tsuke Honten in February began serving customers at 2307 Kramer Lane, Austin, in the parking lot of Hopsquad Brewing Co. Chef Michael Che serves an 11-course omakase, where the customer is served a selection of seasonal and special items from the chef. Tsuke Honten also oers takeout for customers. 512-825-3120. www.tsukehonten.com 8 “Brew and brew” concept bar and cafe Turnstile Coee Beer and Spirits on March 20 began serving customers at 10025 Burnet Road, Austin, owner Mark Harris said. Turnstile serves fair trade, lo- cally roasted coee and espresso options. The bar at Turnstile will feature 20 total taps, 16 of which will be dedicated to craft beers with rotating, seasonal craft cocktails on the other taps. www.turnstilebrews.com COMING SOON 9 Texas barbecue and Vietnamese fusion restaurant and bar Smokin Beauty plans to open in April or May at 11806 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, according to owners Matt and Thao Roth. The Roths are opening Smokin Beauty after launching Ted’s Farm BBQ food truck in East Austin. Smokin Beauty will serve fusion items, such as smoked brisket banh mi, Vietnam- ese marinated short ribs and more. 512-436-9379. www.smokinbeautytx.com 10 A P. Terry’s Burger Stand is under construction at 12901 N. I-35, Austin, and

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WALNUT CREEK PARK

GREAT HILLS TRL.

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NOWOPEN 1 House of Three Gorges opened late February at 8557 Research Blvd., Ste. 144, Austin. The restaurant serves tradi- tional Sichuan dishes, such as homemade pork wonton soup, Chongqing Mala chicken or twice cooked pork. House of Three Gorges oers appetizers, entrees, soups and house specials. 512-953-8666 2 Dallas-based Mizzen+Main opened late February in Domain Northside at 11701 Domain Blvd., Ste. 114, Austin. Mizzen+Main sells men’s formal and casual apparel made from high-quality, custom fabrics, including shirts, pants, suits and accessories. 512-243-7003. www.mizzenandmain.com

3 Tribe CBD + Cannabinoids opened its agship store at 2700 W. Anderson Lane, Ste. 402, Austin, on March 22. Tribe CBD + Cannabinoids sells CBD products— such as patches, lollipops and creams—to help with pain management, general wellness, pet health and more. The busi- ness was founded by locals Reena Kaven, a former attorney, and Rhonda Bly, who has experience in marketing and business development. 512-240-9081. www.mycbdtribe.com 4 Optique on March 13 opened its loca- tion at 11624 Rock Rose Ave., Ste. 126, Austin, in Domain Northside. The optometry practice, with one other location in downtown Austin, oers a range of optical health services, including eye exams, disease examinations and con- tact lens tting. The Domain Northside

location additionally sells eyewear for men, women and children. 512-861-1500. www.optiqueaustin.com 5 Forge Gaming Center , located at 2525 W. Anderson Lane, Bldg. 3-132, Aus- tin, celebrated its grand opening Feb. 29. The video gaming lounge oers state- of-the-art gaming computers for use at an hourly rate, with more than a dozen video games currently available to play. Forge Gaming Center also hosts compet- itive gaming tournaments. 512-291-7547. www.forgegamingcenter.com 6 Jeerson Dental & Orthodontics on March 17 opened a clinic at 9511 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin. The dentistry practice, with one other location in Austin, oers general dentistry services as well as child dentistry, preventive dentistry, tooth ex-

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • MARCH 2020

With the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans of primary importance, the American Hockey League has announced the suspension of play until further notice, effective immediately, due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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Turnstile Coee Beer and Spirits

Smokin Beauty

COURTESY TURNSTILE COFFEE BEER AND SPIRITS

COURTESY SMOKIN BEAUTY

14 Louis Shanks of Austin , located at 2930 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, this year is celebrating 75 years of business in Cen- tral Texas. The business sells mattresses, ooring, lighting, home accessories and signature furniture lines. 512-451-6501. www.louisshanksfurniture.com NEWMANAGEMENT 15 Andries Enslin, a South African pastor with more than 27 years of experi- ence, joined Rhythm Church on Jan. 12 as its head English pastor. Located at 14735 Bratton Lane, Austin, the parish features a children’s program and a coee and social hour. 512-264-4917. www.facebook.com/rhythmchurchaustin RENOVATIONS 16 Freebirds World Burrito in Tech Ridge at 1100 Center Ridge Drive, Bldg. 3, Ste. 380, Austin, closed for renovations Feb. 28. The restaurant reopened in early March with new designs and graphics on the walls as well as with new tables and chairs, according to the company. All Austin-area locations will be modeled o the restaurant chain’s location on South Congress Avenue, per the company. 512-251-9701. www.freebirds.com IN THE NEWS 17 Local Tex-Mex chain Trudy’s , which has a location at 8820 Burnet Road, Austin, led for bankruptcy in Texas court Jan. 22. Court lings show Trudy’s owed more than $267,000 to its employees in unpaid wages as of the payroll due Jan. 15. The court granted Trudy’s motion to

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Pinstack opened Feb. 19 with 24 bowling lanes, two full bars and a restaurant.

is scheduled to open this spring, accord- ing to the restaurant’s website. The local chain serves 100% Black Angus beef burgers and also sells chicken, veggie burgers, fries and milkshakes. www.pterrys.com RELOCATIONS 11 Los Angeles-based clothing brand Chaser in February reopened in Domain Northside at 11621 Rock Rose Ave., Ste. 110, Austin. Chaser, previously locat- ed at 11701 Domain Blvd., Austin, sells clothing for men and women based o of vintage rock and roll aesthetics. 512-584-8170. www.chaserbrand.com EXPANSIONS 12 Skillpoint Alliance , located at 8868 Research Blvd., Ste. 505, Austin, in April will expand its curriculum to oer its rst-ever manufacturing industry training program. The Certied Production Techni- cian class will prepare students for careers in advanced manufacturing. Skillpoint Alliance also provides training programs in construction, maintenance, manufacturing and health care. 512-323-6773. www.skillpointalliance.org ANNIVERSARIES 13 Vietnamese eatery Pho King in January celebrated 10 years of serving customers at 1021 E. Parmer Lane, Austin. The restaurant serves Vietnamese soups, pho and bun bo hue alongside rice and noodle bowls. 512-491-7585

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN Entertainment destination Pinstack opened Feb. 19 in the Tech Ridge Center at 500 Canyon Ridge Drive, Austin. The 50,000-square-foot facility oers bowling, bumper cars, laser tag and an LED-lit rock climbing wall. Pinstack’s 24 bowling lanes have private booths and tables for guests. A separate game room oers video and arcade games as well as virtual-reality entertainment. The restaurant located inside Pinstack serves American gastropub classics, such as pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. The restaurant oers a signature Twenty Dollar Burger, made of two half- pound burgers and topped with smoked sausage, bacon-wrapped jalapeno

poppers, onion rings and garlic aioli. The entertainment venue additionally features two full bars with hand-crafted cocktails, dozens of wine selections, and 24 imported and local draft beer selections. 512-580-0555 www.pinstackbowl.com

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pay its employees for money they earned through January. The original Trudy’s Texas Star, founded in 1977 on West 30th Street, closed after a re last fall, while

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the north location remains open. 512-454-1474. www.trudys.com CLOSINGS

18 Plato’s Closet on Feb. 16 shuttered its storefront at The Shops at Arbor Walk at 10515 N. MoPac, Ste. A160, Austin. The clothing store has three Austin-area locations. www.platoscloset.com

Freebirds World Burrito

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • MARCH 2020

— KEEPING YOU — CONNECTED

To all the places you live, work, and play

Whether you drive, take the bus, bike, or walk, the Mobility Authority has a path for you. Our roadway network connects residents to everything they love about Central Texas. More reliable travel, for any way you travel.

www. MobilityAuthority .com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon as of March 20

COMPILED BY IAIN OLDMAN

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45 TOLL

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PECAN PARK BLVD.

LAKELINE MALL DR.

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CBD American Shaman Northwest Austin

COURTESY CBD AMERICAN SHAMAN NORTHWEST AUSTIN

MOPAC

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POND SPRINGS RD.

NORTHWEST AUSTIN

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Plush Fabric-Home Interiors

WALNUT CREEK PARK

COURTESY PLUSH FABRIC-HOME INTERIORS

GREAT HILLS TRL.

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Austin, on Feb. 11, according to owner Sydney McCann. The business moved from its location at 314 Old Hwy. 183 in Cedar Park to make way for the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project. The business creates a variety of upholstery products, according to McCann. 512-331-7503. www.plushhomefabric.com EXPANSIONS 12 Children’s play center Indigo Play , located at 13530 Research Blvd., Ste. 102, Austin, expanded its services to now include child care and a coworking space for parents. Indigo Play offers a quiet room and work space, as well as on-site child supervision at its facilities for chil- dren ages 1-10. 512-269-0097. www.indigoplay.com ANNIVERSARIES 13 Thriveworks Coaching & Counseling celebrated its fifth anniversary March 1 at 9300 Research Blvd., Ste. 320, Austin. Thriveworks offers mental health care sessions with therapists, counselors and life coaches for children and adults. After opening its Northwest Austin location in 2015, Thriveworks expanded in the Austin area with offices in Cedar Park, Pfluger- ville, South Austin and Bastrop, and a sixth office is planned near Manchaca, according to a company news release. 512-649-2270. www.thriveworks.com NEWOWNERSHIP 14 Property-management firms Stone Oak Management and TRE Homes final- ized a merger March 1 and will operate under the Stone Oak Management name. The company, located at 13497 N. US 183, Ste. 700, Austin, will continue to offer property-management services for rental properties in the Austin area. 512-617-6766. www.stoneoakmgmt.com

RIVER PLACE BLVD.

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NOWOPEN 1 Infrared sauna therapy clinic Perspire Sauna Studio in mid-March opened its second Austin-area location at 3637 Far West Blvd., Ste. C, Austin. The saunas at Perspire use infrared heat for restorative March 2 opened Jaguar Land Rover North Austin at 13910 N. RM 620, Austin. The 70,000-square-foot dealership features a showroom that can fit up to a dozen au- tomobiles, a five-story garage, a carwash and a mechanic shop with 42 car bays. 855-379-4488. www.parkplace.com 3 CBD American Shaman Northwest Austin on March 1 opened at 9231 W. Par- mer Lane, Ste. 102, Austin. The retailer sells cannabidiol, or CBD, products made from all-natural, high-quality industrial hemp, according to owner Alexander Finn. CBD American Shaman sells CBD oils, creams, gummies and more. 512-369-3913. www.austincbdretailers.com 4 Kale Me Crazy on March 5 held a grand opening for its first Texas location at 8300 N. RM 620, Austin, inside The Trails at 620. The superfood cafe serves sweat sessions. 512-520-8371. www.perspiresaunastudio.com 2 Park Place Dealerships on

cold-pressed juices, poke bowls, smooth- ies and more, with several menu options for vegan, paleo, keto and dairy-free diets. 737-205-5629. www.austin.kalemecrazy.net 5 Family medicine practitioner Kevin Stephens, MD opened a new MDVIP-affil- iated practice at 4100 Duval Road, Bldg. 2, Ste. 202, Austin, at the end of December. Stephens practices compre- hensive medicine and will be able to provide advanced preventive screenings. 512-454-1123. www.mdvip.com/doctors/ kevinstephensmd 6 Ashley “Ace” Gibbs on Feb. 26 opened Reunion Barbershop at 9112 Anderson Mill Road, Ste. A600, Austin. The barbershop offers a full menu of haircuts and treatment, including fades, buzz cuts, head shaves, beard trims and eyebrow sculpting. 512-550-5269. www.reunionbarbershop.com 7 Spenga in February opened its studio at 14010 N. US 183, Austin, just east of Lakeline Mall. The fitness studio com- bines spin classes, strength training and yoga into one 60-minute workout. 512-277-3963. www.spengalakeline.com 8 Tea Haus held its soft opening in February in the Four Points area at 10815 FM 2222, Ste. 207, Austin. The

shop offers a variety of hot and cold teas, coffees and desserts. 512-599-4250. www.facebook.com/teahaustx COMING SOON 9 International preschool Kido is set to open its first Austin location in the spring at 10625 Bonaventure Drive, Austin, within the River Place neighborhood. The 15,000-square-foot facility will be the company’s largest, according to the Kido website. Kido offers primary education through a researched curriculum that promotes hands-on, interactive learning for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old, according to the company’s website. 512-557-1152. www.kidoschool.com 10 Local Mexican restaurant chain Jardin Corona is opening a location at 13301 N. US 183, Austin, in the space previously occupied by Third Base Sports Bar, according to a sign on the building. Jardin Corona serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with menu items such as breakfast tacos, enchiladas and fajita plates. www.jardincoronarestaurant.com RELOCATIONS 11 Plush Fabric-Home Interiors moved to a new location at 12332 N. RM 620,

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • MARCH 2020

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Capital Metro ridership nosedives inmidst of coronavirus scare

COMPILED BY JACK FLAGLER AND IAIN OLDMAN

Public transit ridership across Capital Met- ro’s modes of service experienced sharp declines as a result of the city and county prohibiting gatherings with more than 10 people, workplaces encouraging employ- ees to work from home and restaurants announcing temporary closures, Capital Metro data shows. Dottie Watkins, Capital Metro’s chief customer ocer, told the transit agency’s board of directors in a March 17 meeting that on March 16, ridership was down about 40% across all the agency’s services. On March 18, the transit agency released numbers showing ridership usage dropped signicantly from the previous week. Capital Metro estimated 36,865 riders on March 18 used its weekday express, local bus route, rail, rapid express and Univer-

sity of Texas Austin shuttle systems. One week prior, the agency counted 103,379 people using the same lines. In an eort to respond to the safety con- cerns while still keeping service operating for those who need access to transit, Capital Metro announced a limited service schedule would start March 18. Most MetroBus and MetroRapid routes will operate on Sunday schedules. Watkins said a few routes that normally do not operate on Sundays are going to be added. MetroAccess, a shared-ride service, will align with this schedule. MetroRail service will continue its week- day daytime schedule but will not oer late-night Friday or Saturday service. The service does not run on Sundays. Metro- Flyer and MetroExpress routes will be re-

duced to about half their scheduled trips. On-demand pickup service will operate between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Capital Metro President and CEO Randy Clarke said the agency should brace for a nancial impact due to revenue losses in both ridership fares and sales tax revenue. When the agency was created in 1985, voters agreed to fund Capital Metro in part through a 1% sales tax applied throughout the agency’s service area. “Financially, there is no question ... this is going to be a signicant hit for Cap Metro,” Clark said. “I think we need to be thinking of this as a marathon, not a sprint. All our posture has been based on that.” Clarke said Capital Metro is set up - nancially as well as possible, with three months of emergency reserves available.

Construction is underway on three new yovers between I35 and US 183. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)

LATEST UPDATES

LAKECREEK PKWY.

February daily average MetroExpress: 3,454 MetroBus: 68,492 MetroRail: 3,010 MetroRapid: 16,890 UT Shuttle: 11,176 DAILY TOTAL: 103,022

EMPTY TRANSIT Capital Metro is seeing sharp decreases of its weekday ridership as the city and county have banned gatherings of 10 or more people.

ANDERSON MILL RD.

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UT Austin spring break began March 16.

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Anderson Mill Road On March 26, the city of Austin opened bids for construction of the Anderson Mill Road widening project between Spicewood Parkway and US 183. Timeline: summer 2020-21

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MetroExpress MetroBus MetroRail MetroRapid UT Shuttle Daily total

On March 13, University of Texas at Austin announces it is closing operations and canceling classes.

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36,865

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MOPAC

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03/18/20 03/10/20 03/11/20 03/12/20 03/13/20 03/16/20 03/17/20

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SOURCE: CAPITAL METROCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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State secures $4.3B to fund I35 improvement through core of downtown The 8-mile stretch of I-35 through Central Austin may be getting its rst signicant upgrade in nearly 50 years. On Feb. 27, the Texas Transportation Commission authorized a plan to allocate $4.3 billion to kick-start what the state calls the Capital Express Central project— which would add two nontolled managed lanes, or carpool lanes, through down- town Austin from US 290 East to Hwy. 71. The commission this spring would allo- cate the funds by ocially updating the O N 290 183 35 71

North Lamar Boulevard Lane closures began in mid-February at Faireld Drive and in early March at West Powell Lane. Intermittent lane closures will continue through- out the spring. Timeline: December 2019-2024

35

Texas Department of Transportation’s Unied Transportation Program. The UTP is a planning tool that signals the projects TxDOT expects to take on in the next 10 years and identies funding. Brian Barth, TxDOT’s director of proj- ect planning and development, said construction could start in 2025, and the estimated length of the project is expect- ed to be about four years. The work is part of a larger $7.5 billion project to upgrade I-35 through William- son, Travis and Hays counties. Work on the north and south sections of that proj- ect, expected to cost about $700 million, is scheduled to start in 2022.

Construction could start on a project to improve an 8-mile stretch of I35 in Central Austin in 2025. (Courtesy Jeremy Lohr)

N

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MARCH 19. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT NWANEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Parmer Lane diverging diamond In February, crews began widening the Parmer Lane bridge and installed the beams for the bridge in mid-March. Crews are now working on the south- bound bypass lane on I-35. Timeline: July 2019-mid-2021

the commission not to move forward in a way that would make toll roads impossible. Part of the TxDOT project funds will come from Proposition 1 and Propo- sition 7 revenue, which Texas voters approved in 2014 and 2015. In 2017, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said they would not support any Proposition 1 or Proposition 7 funds going toward tolled projects.

“Any further delay in funding improve- ments to I-35 is simply unacceptable,” TTC Chair J. Bruce Bugg said. In a statement provided to the commis- sion, state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, called the billions of dollars on their way into the I-35 project “long overdue, but greatly appreciated” and called the proj- ect “a multi-generational commitment.” In August, when the commission ap- proved its 2020 UTP, Watson encouraged

12

NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • MARCH 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRAILS All major work on rst section of NorthernWalnut Creek Trail done

Northern Walnut Creek Trail City ocials in January ocially closed out the construction of Section 1A of the Northwest Austin trail, which runs from Balcones District Park to MoPac.

BALCONES DISTRICT PARK

WALNUT CREEK METROPOLITAN PARK

BY IAIN OLDMAN

LEGEND

section of the trail into two phases, bisected at MoPac. Seivert said this decision came after Austin Water oered to build the trail from Bal- cones District Park to MoPac in conjunction with one of its projects in that area. Community mem- bers and city ocials opened the rst portion of Northern Walnut Creek Trail in 2016. The rst phase of the 12-foot-wide, paved trail is 3.2 miles long and runs fromWalnut Creek Metropolitan Park to MoPac. According to a presentation given to the parks board, con- struction on the stretch of trail from Balcones District Park to MoPac concluded in late 2018, but a one-year warranty checklist performed by the city found items that required correction from the contractor. Several trees that were initially planted along the trail died after no supplemental water- ing was done. According to documents, 41 trees were replaced. “We thought that

After a decade of construction delays and red contractors, city ocials have closed the books on all major construction on the rst section of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail in Northwest Austin. “This has been a long project,” said Ana Seivert, the urban trails project coordinator for the Austin Public Works Department. At a Jan. 28 presentation in front of the Austin Parks and Recreation Board, city ocials declared the nal closeout items on the trail to be substantially completed by the contractor. Final work on the trail in the past year included replacing dead trees, repairing cracked sidewalk slab and addressing erosion. “Those were warranty items under the contract,” said D’Anne Williams, project manager for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. Northern trail development The January declaration by city ocials that work on the rst phase of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail is fully completed marks the end of a decadelong stretch of work. At the end of the Walnut Creek Trail project, one continuous, 19-mile trail will connect Balcones District Park in Northwest Austin to Govalle Neigh- borhood Park in East Austin. The Southern Walnut Creek Trail runs from Govalle Neighborhood Park and stretches up to the Walnut Creek Sports Park at Johnny Morris Road and Daan Lane. This section of trail opened in 2014 and is considered Austin’s rst urban trail, according to the city’s website. Austin City Council approved an initial design contract to build the Northern Walnut Creek Trail in 2003. The rst phase of the project broke ground in 2010 after several setbacks—a contractor was let go shortly after beginning construction, according to City Council documents. Before development of the project began, the city split construction of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail into three distinct sections. The city in 2013 divided the rst

Northern Walnut Creek Trail Section 3 Northern Walnut Creek Trail Section 2 Northern Walnut Creek Trail Section 1 Northern Walnut Creek Trail Section 1A

Southern Walnut Creek Trail

Section 1A - 0.8 miles

$7.2 million in funding from Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Austin Public Works Timeline: September 2016-January 2020

Section 1 - 5.7 miles

$9.6 million in funding from Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Austin Public Works Timeline: May 2013-August 2018

WALNUT CREEK SPORTS PARK

LITTLE WALNUT CREEK GREENBELT

Section 2 - 1.7 miles

Section 3 - approx. 5 miles $8.4 million in funding through the city of Austin’s 2016 Mobility Bond, a Texas Department of Transportation grant, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Urban Trails Program Timeline: construction scheduled to begin fall 2020 and conclude in winter 2022 $550,000 for preliminary engineering report development from the 2016 Mobility Bond; nal cost TBD Timeline: construction start TBD

GOVALLE NEIGHBORHOOD PARK

N

SOURCE: CITY OF AUSTINCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

putting trees in an existing park where they’d be accessible for contractors to water and keep healthy would be relatively easy. … That was not the case. The contractor was not reliable,” Seivert told the parks board in January. Problem areas in the trail’s infra- structure were additionally repaired in 2019. City documents show several cracks in the trail pavement were either lled or the cement trail panels were wholly replaced. Erosion issues City sta identied problems with erosion along the shoulders of the

trail, according to city documents. Erik Harris, a Milwood neighbor- hood resident since 1994, said this is not the rst problem with trail erosion he has seen since construc- tion began. Harris said one issue with the composition of the trail is the city’s implementation of ex base, a course material made from nely crushed rocks. “When you run water over [ex base,] the ne material washes out of it,” Harris said. “To me, it is not sustainable, and whatever runs o of it is pollution.” The ex base materials run o into

Walnut Creek, which runs adjacent to the Northern Walnut Creek Trail, Harris asserts. Any material that runs o into the creek may be polluting a protected habitat for a local endangered species. According to maps from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the section of Walnut Creek that runs through Balcones District Park is a critical habitat for the Jollyville Plateau salamander. The USFWS considers this species of salamander as endangered under the Endan- gered Species Act, according to federal documents.

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Hike and Bike The Northern Walnut Creek Trail, which rst opened to the community in 2016, is designed for access and activities for residents of all ages and abilities. Listed below are several features the trail oers for the public to enjoy. Salamander springs The entirety of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail is paved for bikes, but there are Walnut Creek is home to a critical habitat for the endangered Jollyville Plateau salamander near a section of trail in Balcones District Park. i Dog-friendly trail

OLD MANOR RD.

The entire Northern Walnut Creek Trail is open for dogs on a leash. One portion of the trail in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is an o-leash area.

also several side trails that wind into the surrounding woods for cyclists looking for more traditional trail riding.

PHOTOS BY IAIN OLDMANCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

SOURCES: CITY OF AUSTIN, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICESCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Future projects Following the total completion of the rst phase of the Northern Wal- nut Creek Trail, the city of Austin has its sights set on getting the next stage of trail under development soon. The second phase will expand the trail, beginning at Walnut Creek Met- ropolitan Park, to I-35. Design work is almost complete for the project, and Seivert and Williams said the city expects to begin construction on this

Seivert said the city has already removed some of the ex base material and replaced it with soil along the trail in Balcones District Park. In other sections of the park, the city is seeing native vegetation grow through the ex base and keep the base material in place. “We’ve seen once the seed has taken that we’ve had signicantly less erosion,” Seivert told Community Impact Newspaper .

but any further work on this section will be years away. While the engineering report was funded by 2016 Mobility Bond funds, no other funds have been set aside for the design or construction of the nal phase of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail, city documents show.

stage before the end of 2020. City documents show the trail is scheduled to open to the public by spring 2022. “It is a pretty big project with four bridges,” Seivert said. The third and nal section of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail will run from I-35 to the Southern Walnut Creek Trail at Walnut Creek Sports Park. Seivert said sta just completed the preliminary engineering report on this trail to recommend a trail path,

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • MARCH 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATIONBRIEFS

News from Austin Community College & Round Rock, Pflugerville and Austin ISDs

RoundRock ISDadopts newboundaries BY TAYLOR JACKSON BUCHANAN

Templeton Demographics, a company Round Rock ISD hired to study trends within the district, projects a 10-year growth resulting in a 2029-30 enrollment of 52,986 students. Projecting enrollment

Templeton Demographics, a company RRISD hired to study current trends within the district, projects a 10-year enrollment growth of 2,254 students for a 2029-30 enrollment of 52,986 students. This student population growth is creating current and foreacasted capacity issues, which are one of three main reasons for the boundary changes, Presley said. Other reasons include the future opening of Elementary School No. 35 and addressing split feeder patterns.

Approximately 915 students in Round Rock ISD are slated to attend a different campus starting in the 2020-21 school year following the board of trustees’ adoption of attendance zone adjustments Feb. 20. “These are really tough decisions because people love their schools,” said Daniel Presley, senior chief of schools and inno- vation for RRISD. “But with a district that’s growing this fast, we have to make some changes from time to time.”

55K

50K

students in + 2,254 10 years

45K

SOURCES: ROUND ROCK ISD, TEMPLETON DEMOGRAPHICS/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Academic year 2014-15 0 2019-20 2024-25 2029-30

Rezoning 101 Here is a closer look at six Round Rock ISD campuses that will be impacted by boundary changes beginning in fall 2020.

Year the school opened

Issue

Solution

Caraway ElementarySchool

C.D. Fulkes Middle School

Elsa England Elementary School

183

79

.

620

1978 overcrowding

2012

1939 split feeder

SPICEWOOD SPRINGS RD.

PEARSON RANCH RD.

35

JOLLYVILLE RD.

45 TOLL

N

N

N

overcrowding

220

300 students rezoned to

150 students rezoned to

students rezoned to Great Oaks Elementary School

Jollyville Elementary School

Cedar Ridge High School

139.34% of intended capacity

141.81% of intended capacity

OVER CAPACITY

OVER CAPACITY

REALIGNING FEEDER PATTERNS

6

New

Former

Capacity

Capacity

5

Middle

High

Elementary

Schools:

916

638

Current enrollment Portables currently on campus Capacity with portables

Current enrollment Portables currently on campus Capacity with portables

Cedar Ridge

Callison

#

#

Voigt

C.D. Fulkes

Stony Point

Berkman

Joe Lee Johnson ElementarySchool

Herrington Elementary School

Teravista Elementary School

1460

112

TERAVISTA CLUB DR.

SHORELINE DR.

GRAND AVENUE PKWY.

2016 split feeder

2011

2008

117

N

N

N

anticipating future overcrowding

overcrowding

70 students rezoned to Deer Park

115

60 students rezoned to

students rezoned to Double File Trail Elementary School

Teravista Elementary School

OVER CAPACITY

131% of intended capacity

OVER CAPACITY Capacity

REALIGNING FEEDER PATTERNS

9

3

New

Former

860

Capacity

Middle

High

Elementary

Schools:

100.23% of intended capacity

916

Current enrollment Portables currently on campus Capacity with portables

Capacity with portables Portables currently on campus

470 students rezoned to Elementary School No. 35, beginning fall 2021

McNeil

Deer Park

Joe Lee Johnson

#

#

Current enrollment

Round Rock

Chisholm Trail

17

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