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Latest from Ben Wear

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Wear: What went wrong with MoPac’s new sound walls?
 Perhaps we should refer to those concrete barriers lining North MoPac Boulevard as “un-sound walls.” As regular users of that (partially tolled) highway no doubt have noticed by now, a long expanse of tall-and-tan sound-suppression walls along MoPac’s east side, south of Enfield Road, lately have become instead a see-through...

Posted: 3 days ago

Perhaps we should refer to those concrete barriers lining North MoPac Boulevard as “un-sound walls.” As regular users of that (partially tolled) highway no doubt have noticed by now, a long expanse of tall-and-tan sound-suppression walls along MoPac’s east side, south of Enfield Road, lately have become instead a see-through...
Wear: MoPac project’s final folly: Cracked sound walls
 Perhaps we should refer to those concrete barriers lining North MoPac Boulevard as “un-sound walls.” As regular users of that (partially tolled) highway no doubt have noticed by now, a long expanse of tall and tan sound suppression walls along MoPac’s east side, south of Enfield Road, lately have become instead a see-through...

Posted: 3 days ago

Perhaps we should refer to those concrete barriers lining North MoPac Boulevard as “un-sound walls.” As regular users of that (partially tolled) highway no doubt have noticed by now, a long expanse of tall and tan sound suppression walls along MoPac’s east side, south of Enfield Road, lately have become instead a see-through...
Austin skates on ice day as moisture mostly falls to the south
 On an odd and frigid Tuesday in Central Texas, with widespread school and business closures on a “snow day” with some ice but little snow in much of Austin, some people saw a delicious opportunity. “We have about 30 people in line right now,” Benjamin Jacob, general manager of Franklin Barbecue, said about 10...

Posted: 6 days ago

On an odd and frigid Tuesday in Central Texas, with widespread school and business closures on a “snow day” with some ice but little snow in much of Austin, some people saw a delicious opportunity. “We have about 30 people in line right now,” Benjamin Jacob, general manager of Franklin Barbecue, said about 10...
TxDOT pre-treated highways here, now focusing on bridges
 Crews from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Austin district have been attacking ice on the roads through the night with brine and now magnesium chloride, a spokeswoman said Tuesday morning. “They have retreated the roadways three times overnight,” said Diann Hodges, who speaks for the 11-county Austin district. &ldquo...

Posted: 6 days ago

Crews from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Austin district have been attacking ice on the roads through the night with brine and now magnesium chloride, a spokeswoman said Tuesday morning. “They have retreated the roadways three times overnight,” said Diann Hodges, who speaks for the 11-county Austin district. &ldquo...
Austin Answered: Why aren’t Austin’s traffic signals better timed?
 The perception that Austin’s traffic lights are poorly synchronized, or not coordinated at all, is venerable, widespread and deeply felt. Jared Wall is one of five city of Austin traffic signal engineers who spend their days studying and fine-tuning the city’s 999 signalized intersections, and knows all too well how the caprices...

Posted: 10 days ago

The perception that Austin’s traffic lights are poorly synchronized, or not coordinated at all, is venerable, widespread and deeply felt. Jared Wall is one of five city of Austin traffic signal engineers who spend their days studying and fine-tuning the city’s 999 signalized intersections, and knows all too well how the caprices...
Austin Answered: Why aren’t Austin’s traffic signals better timed?
 The perception that Austin’s traffic lights are poorly synchronized, or not coordinated at all, is venerable, widespread and deeply felt. Jared Wall is one of five city of Austin traffic signal engineers who spend their days studying and fine-tuning the city’s 999 signalized intersections, and he knows all too well how the caprices...

Posted: 10 days ago

The perception that Austin’s traffic lights are poorly synchronized, or not coordinated at all, is venerable, widespread and deeply felt. Jared Wall is one of five city of Austin traffic signal engineers who spend their days studying and fine-tuning the city’s 999 signalized intersections, and he knows all too well how the caprices...
Cap Metro goes with big-city experience in picking Clarke for CEO
 Randy Clarke grew up in Pictou, Nova Scotia, a tiny coastal town with no buses and no passenger rail. But Friday, after the Capital Metro board had voted to make the transit association executive its next president and CEO, board chairman Wade Cooper said it was Clarke’s subsequent life and work in the big city that made the difference...

Posted: 10 days ago

Randy Clarke grew up in Pictou, Nova Scotia, a tiny coastal town with no buses and no passenger rail. But Friday, after the Capital Metro board had voted to make the transit association executive its next president and CEO, board chairman Wade Cooper said it was Clarke’s subsequent life and work in the big city that made the difference...
Wear: There’s more to that decision keeping Conley on CAMPO board
 When I first heard that former Hays County Commissioner Will Conley was turning legalistic pirouettes to remain in charge of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board, I wondered: Why? You know the expression, “They couldn’t pay me to (whatever)?” Well, the American-Statesman since 2003 has in fact been paying...

Posted: 10 days ago

When I first heard that former Hays County Commissioner Will Conley was turning legalistic pirouettes to remain in charge of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board, I wondered: Why? You know the expression, “They couldn’t pay me to (whatever)?” Well, the American-Statesman since 2003 has in fact been paying...
Wear: There’s more to that decision keeping Conley on CAMPO board
 My first reaction, when I heard that former Hays County Commissioner Will Conley was turning legalistic pirouettes to remain in charge of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board, was simple. Why? You know the expression, “They couldn’t pay me to (whatever)?” Well, the American-Statesman since 2003 has been...

Posted: 10 days ago

My first reaction, when I heard that former Hays County Commissioner Will Conley was turning legalistic pirouettes to remain in charge of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board, was simple. Why? You know the expression, “They couldn’t pay me to (whatever)?” Well, the American-Statesman since 2003 has been...
Clarke to be next Capital Metro leader, board decides
 Randy Clarke, currently vice president with a Washington-based transit advocacy group, should be Capital Metro’s next president and CEO, the transit board decided Friday. The vote, taken after the board spent two hours discussing four finalists in closed session, was 7-0, with board member and Austin City Council Member Delia Garza...

Posted: 10 days ago

Randy Clarke, currently vice president with a Washington-based transit advocacy group, should be Capital Metro’s next president and CEO, the transit board decided Friday. The vote, taken after the board spent two hours discussing four finalists in closed session, was 7-0, with board member and Austin City Council Member Delia Garza...
Cap Metro board delays CEO decision until at least Friday
 After giving the public a glimpse of the finalists to become the next leader of Capital Metro, the transit agency’s board delayed making a final pick Tuesday to allow more time for the public to chime in. A decision could come when the board meets Friday. The agenda includes an item for the board to order its search consultant to begin...

Posted: 14 days ago

After giving the public a glimpse of the finalists to become the next leader of Capital Metro, the transit agency’s board delayed making a final pick Tuesday to allow more time for the public to chime in. A decision could come when the board meets Friday. The agenda includes an item for the board to order its search consultant to begin...
Will a huge $600,000 guitar boost bus ridership to the Austin airport?
 You can’t miss it when you walk outside the lower level of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It’s a covered bus stop shaped like a 52-foot-long blue and green guitar made of plastic and metal. Who paid for the $600,000 bus stop, and what will happen to it when Capital Metro changes up its bus routes in June? Read Ben Wear&rsquo...

Posted: 17 days ago

You can’t miss it when you walk outside the lower level of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It’s a covered bus stop shaped like a 52-foot-long blue and green guitar made of plastic and metal. Who paid for the $600,000 bus stop, and what will happen to it when Capital Metro changes up its bus routes in June? Read Ben Wear&rsquo...
Wear: Will a huge $600,000 guitar boost bus ridership to the Austin airport?
 I left the newsroom about 10:50 a.m. Thursday to catch the bus for a 12:59 p.m. flight to Denver that I wasn’t taking. Then I not-really hefted my nonexistent suitcase and phantom carry-on through the American-Statesman’s west parking lot and across South Congress Avenue to Capital Metro’s bus stop in front of the Embassy...

Posted: 17 days ago

I left the newsroom about 10:50 a.m. Thursday to catch the bus for a 12:59 p.m. flight to Denver that I wasn’t taking. Then I not-really hefted my nonexistent suitcase and phantom carry-on through the American-Statesman’s west parking lot and across South Congress Avenue to Capital Metro’s bus stop in front of the Embassy...
Cap Metro job would be upgrade for 4 remaining candidates
 Running Capital Metro, for all four of the finalists vying to be the transit agency’s president and CEO, would be a step up. For most of them, getting this job would put them in charge of an agency with many more employees or a far larger budget than they have in their current position. And in each case, the responsibility for running...

Posted: 19 days ago

Running Capital Metro, for all four of the finalists vying to be the transit agency’s president and CEO, would be a step up. For most of them, getting this job would put them in charge of an agency with many more employees or a far larger budget than they have in their current position. And in each case, the responsibility for running...
Work to ease stacked-up RM 620 set to break ground this summer
 Brian Thompto remembers when he first moved to Steiner Ranch and commuting on RM 620 and RM 2222 was a breeze. “In 2007, things were easy peasy,” said Thompto, a hardware engineer who chairs the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association. “I knew eventually it would get worse. But it happened so much faster than I thought.&rdquo...

Posted: 20 days ago

Brian Thompto remembers when he first moved to Steiner Ranch and commuting on RM 620 and RM 2222 was a breeze. “In 2007, things were easy peasy,” said Thompto, a hardware engineer who chairs the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association. “I knew eventually it would get worse. But it happened so much faster than I thought.&rdquo...
Orange-barrel update: What’s new with Central Texas road construction
 Yes, the MoPac toll lane project, which first appeared on this annual transportation construction roundup four very long years ago, makes it one more time this year even though the business end of the project fully opened two months ago. Some pesky sound walls remain to be done, along with various other dribs and drabs of the $230 million...

Posted: 23 days ago

Yes, the MoPac toll lane project, which first appeared on this annual transportation construction roundup four very long years ago, makes it one more time this year even though the business end of the project fully opened two months ago. Some pesky sound walls remain to be done, along with various other dribs and drabs of the $230 million...
Growing Manor could get relief with FM 973 bypass
 Rita Jonse, at least for a few hours during weekday mornings and afternoons, is mayor of a parking lot. “Manor’s getting to be like Austin,” said Jonse, who’s been the leader of the not-so-small-anymore town since 2014 and serves on the Capital Metro board. On U.S. 290 during morning rush, she said, “We&rsquo...

Posted: 29 days ago

Rita Jonse, at least for a few hours during weekday mornings and afternoons, is mayor of a parking lot. “Manor’s getting to be like Austin,” said Jonse, who’s been the leader of the not-so-small-anymore town since 2014 and serves on the Capital Metro board. On U.S. 290 during morning rush, she said, “We&rsquo...
Looking back at 2017: Tolls, texting and triumph for Uber and Lyft
 The competition was stiff, but I have settled on the dumbest sentence I wrote this year: “Toll roads, after several years of reversals in the Legislature, could be making something of a comeback,” I prognosticated with peerless inaccuracy on April 13 after a bill allowing up to 18 toll road projects sailed through a Texas House...

5:24 PM Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

The competition was stiff, but I have settled on the dumbest sentence I wrote this year: “Toll roads, after several years of reversals in the Legislature, could be making something of a comeback,” I prognosticated with peerless inaccuracy on April 13 after a bill allowing up to 18 toll road projects sailed through a Texas House...
Looking back at 2017: Tolls, texting and triumph for Uber and Lyft
 The competition was stiff, but I have settled on the dumbest sentence I wrote this year: “Toll roads, after several years of reversals in the Legislature, could be making something of a comeback,” I prognosticated with peerless inaccuracy on April 13 after a bill allowing up to 18 toll road projects sailed through a Texas House...

5:18 PM Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

The competition was stiff, but I have settled on the dumbest sentence I wrote this year: “Toll roads, after several years of reversals in the Legislature, could be making something of a comeback,” I prognosticated with peerless inaccuracy on April 13 after a bill allowing up to 18 toll road projects sailed through a Texas House...
Relief is coming to RM 620, RM 2222 in Northwest Austin
 Some relief is coming for commuters using RM 620 and RM 2222. The Texas Department of Transportation and city of Austin, which already made some tweaks that temporarily improved the gridlock on those roads, are moving toward an $18 million project that engineers say could provide some genuine relief to the congestion. Work to widen RM 620...

4:45 PM Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

Some relief is coming for commuters using RM 620 and RM 2222. The Texas Department of Transportation and city of Austin, which already made some tweaks that temporarily improved the gridlock on those roads, are moving toward an $18 million project that engineers say could provide some genuine relief to the congestion. Work to widen RM 620...
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