Anybody home?

So the marvels of the new Whole Foods still await, but now I’ve been to the new city hall twice, most recently last Friday, just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, for early voting in the runoff election.

It was easy to park on the street, just before lunchtime. There was plenty of activity outdoors, because the Alfonso Ramos orquesta was setting up to play. Once inside, though, the only living beings seen were two pleasant security people, running handbags and pocket contents along a conveyor, plus the three election judges.

There was no living being in any of the hallways and no living being in the room with the vending machines and no living beings coming and going through the doors. There was a light on in the city clerk’s office. The gift and souvenir shop is still not open. Acoustically, the empty halls were full of echo.

The building itself is pleasant enough, although not very large. There are libraries, fire stations, and EMS stations that have more personality, once inside. It seems odd to orient the public outdoor space to the brightest and most heat-struck side. And even though the canopy over the stairs on the south side has been altered to some extent, it still appears to be inappropriate for the heavy downpours of Austin, in that it looks as though it will create walls of water for those approaching via that means.

It would seem that anyone who works there must drive into the basement, ride an elevator on up, and then vanish into an office. It’s a little creepy. Are there times, other than at meetings of the city council, when there are more signs of life?

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