March 2014 Mueller Update

Written by Rick Krivoniak

The City has implemented changes on Barbara Jordan Blvd. at the driveways between Home Depot and the Best Buy area that limit movement to only right turns out of each driveway. Left-turns into each driveway are still allowed, but due to safety issues at this location, no traffic can now cross Barbara Jordan at this location. A privately funded signal to reinstate all vehicle movements is being considered, but is not likely anytime soon. Installation of traffic signals at Zach Scott & Airport Blvd. and at Mueller Blvd. & 51st is expected before summer of 2014.

At last November’s WPNA meeting, a TXDOT consultant presented several concepts for IH35 improvements, including closing entry and exit ramps and limiting access on surface streets. Mueller Neighborhood Association and others nearby are considering or have already taken official positions against the proposed TXDOT “super street” frontage roads for IH35 that will prohibit traffic flow across selected bridges alike St. John’s and 38th 1/2 Street, feeling that such moves increase and prolong the east-west divide that IH35 created with its inception. WPNA has not yet taken a position.

Infrastructure work for future home sites has begun to the east of Berkman near Manor Road. A second Mueller pool will be built in this section in the next few years. While Ella Wooten Pool will continue to be open to the public as it has been, Catellus and Mueller POA members are considering policy for this new pool. It is anticipated that Bartholomew Pool’s impending opening will relieve pressure on the Mueller pool. Also included in this section will be the ground level public space surrounding the former traffic control tower. Concepts have yet to be presented to the public, but it is expected to be a more contemplative space rather than an active park. The tower itself may remain indefinitely closed to the public due to accessibility issues.

Residence Inn Austin–University Area (that’s the name listed online!) at 1200 Barbara Jordan Blvd., Building 4 (but actually at Lancaster & 51st), finally opened in February, but no cafe or coffee shop has yet leased the corner space. Capital One’s Mueller Branch, 1801 E., 51st, Building B (actually on Berkman to the west of H.E.B.), also opened in February, as have some smaller retailers like Boneheads restaurant (on Lancaster near Barbara Jordan). No word on the Market District Twin Liquor’s opening date at this time.

Possibly due to its newness, attendance at the Thinkery is running at 2-to-3 times what it was at the downtown Children’s Museum location, but the numbers are not expected to fall significantly. Though there is an attendant at the entry, the McBee Street Parking Garage remains free to Thinkery and Lake Park visitors for now. With improving spring weather, competition for street parking will rise. Biking and walking are encouraged.

The next Robert Mueller Municipal Airport Plan Implementation Advisory Commission meeting is Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6PM in Meeting Room 1 of the Carver Library, 1161 Angelina Street. Please send Mueller-related questions & comments to bc-Rick.Krivoniak@austintexas.gov.

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