Archive for December, 2009

A Castle of your own ?

Back in September I wrote about the castle that had morphed out of the old church on West Mary St. I hear via the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood mailing list that the castle is now up for sale, and you can own it yourself for a cool $1.6 million.

I don’t think I can raise the money on my own, but the thought of having my very own lap pool in the Austin downtown area, just over from South Congress is pretty appealing.

Signpost breeding ground

Street furniture madness on Riverside Dr

Street furniture madness on Riverside Dr

There is an argument, that the more you regulate, the more you make things illegal and the more you signpost things, the less people pay attention. I’m not sure if the traffic circle aka roundabout on Riverside Drive is a science test to prove or disprove this theory, but it certainly looks like it.

Not counting the parking restrictions, there are 32 discrete signs around the traffic circle, telling the hapless driver what to do and what not to do, and a few for the foot traffic. While it’s great that the city preserved the mature tree that sits resplendent at the center of the traffic island, the entire outlook for that section of Riverside Drive is now poisoned by the steel trees with their signs atop.

Yeah, I know the rules and use of traffic circles are not well understood and most drivers don’t encounter them much. The problem is exasperated by the fact their are two lanes into the circle going west bound, and only one out, and the reverse going east. Which means if you are in the wrong lane in traffic, you pretty much have to go around again. But surely this isn’t a magical mystery tour and doesn’t need all these signs. Keep Austin regulated or Keep Austin uncluttered?

More Austin in Print – Mens Health

I don’t read much “in print” these days, so was pleased to find in my latest issue of Mens Health magazine December issue, Best Life column, that Austin is rated #5 Most Charitable cities in the Donation Nation article. Now that IS something to be proud of.

Austin gets an A- and comes behind Cincinnati, OH, Seattle, WA, Richmond, VA and winner Madison Wisconsin but well ahead of more affluent and large target markets for giving such as upmarket retirement cities. The article says “While anyone can lavish gifts on friends and family, it takes people with “ho ho ho” in their hearts to be generous with strangers.”

The online version of the article says “Austin’s Capital Area Food Bank may have helped the city earn a spot in our top five, but by providing more than 20 tons of food to 21 Central Texas counties, the organization’s help reaches far beyond the capital city.”

There has been a major shift in chairtible giving in 2009. The 2005 rankings list the winner as 1. Atlanta, GA, 2. Washington, DC, 3. Wilmington, DE, 4. San Francisco, CA, 5. St. Paul, MN and in which Austin was 51st.

The magazine says “see more rankings at” but sadly it’s running 2-months behind the print edition and as of this morning was featuring the October 09 Accident Prone Cities, where Austin comes 30th.

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