Contact your City Council Today

April 29, 2009

City Council is voting to approve an ammendment tomorrow that will negatively impact events, festivals and races in Austin. My blog has all my previous letters to City Council so feel free to read those. You can e-mail them using this form: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/groupemail.htm

Here is what I sent today:

Mayor and City Council Members,

I’m writing to ask you to vote against the proposed amendment to the ordinance relating to street closures and events for the following reasons:
1. It does not accurately reflect the recommendations of a Task Force representing a diverse cross-section of interests.
2. It is not balanced.
3. It will have a significant negative impact on events and races in Austin.

I’d also like to express my growing disappointment at the way the public has been engaged in this process. There has been significant interest for months, with many people attending Task Force meetings and a larger number appearing during your first reading of this ordinance. Since the first reading no updated information has been forthcoming and I’m very surprised that you have chosen to vote on 2nd and 3rd reading during the day and not after 5:00 pm. With such a large turn out of citizens for 1st reading this time effectively cuts the citizens that have attended countless meetings from being heard and for Staff to move forward with it’s proposal.

You’ve received many e-mails that outline issues with this ordinance and I don’t feel cutting and pasting those again is productive. Those issues still stand and it’s disappointing that Staff is moving forward with an ordinance that does not have public support or that of the majority of Task Force members.

I sincerely hope you do not approve this ordinance and come up with a process where Staff creates a proposal that meets the needs of the different constituents represented by the Task Force.

Best Regards,
Kamran Shah


Next downtown special events/road closure task force meeting this Monday

August 21, 2008

The next meeting has been confirmed for Monday August the 25th at the Waller Building of 10th Street. You can stay informed about the meeting and see notes and discussion about meeting on the 11th on this page at keepaustinrunning.org


Thank you to the 150 runners that showed up at the Task Force meeting yesterday

August 12, 2008

It was pretty amazing to see the room packed. When I got there at 4:30 the city had put out 40 chairs, that didn’t last very long as the room filled up and a whole new section was created. Notes about what was discussed as well as a couple of interviews from people in attendance are on keepaustinrunning.org

The meeting in two weeks will be interesting. Some of the task force members brought up a few times that they needed to inform more neighborhood associations so they can voice their concerns. Here are a few of mine from yesterday:

  1. The task force members said this is about events and not just running but I heard “races” 5 to 10 times more than I heard “event” … draw your own conclusion
  2. One of the task force members said “I want to get ahead of it so the presumption the event will go ahead isn’t there”. That didn’t come off to me about working on a solution together but seemed more about trying to prevent events.
  3. The assistant city manager clearly stated that there has been NO direction from anybody in the city that events or races should be reduced. I think that’s good but policies can lead to that even if that isn’t the intent. Case and point, the Go for the Gold 10k, the costs have gone from 10k to 24k for the barricading and coning. How is somebody supposed to deal with that so this time around there was no Go for the Gold. And this is without any regulation change, just how people have all of a sudden decided to “enforce” things.
  4. One of the people presenting (a consultant for events) made a comment that “small event planner” are the issue since they don’t know what’s going on. I differe on that account, the Go for the Gold has been held before, they seemed to just get screwed by stupid rules.
  5. There were also comments that small events may not belong downtown. So that means the Cap10k, the Human Race, etc can go on but the small races for charities can’t occur in the downtown or East Austin area?

I have a lot more notes but this is what I remember off the top of my head. What concerned me wasn’t what was said but the undertone of some of the comments. It was after most people left and the break that this really came out. We need to make sure we keep informing people about the real issues and concerns and that this process doesn’t just cater to a handful for interests.

Have an opinion. Share there here: keepaustinrunning.org


No more 5k’s or 10k’s in downtown Austin!

July 30, 2008

Yes that is a possibility. There’s a “Street Event Closure Task Force” the City Council has created to evaluate what to do about the traffic disruption created by Special events, like 5k’s, 10k’s and street festivals. The recent changes to City regulations already make races unaffordable, you can’t spend $10,000 to $25,000 to put on a 10k without charging people $80 and having lot of people show up. And that’s just the cost for barricading and the police, forget t-shirts, food, etc.

So for all of us that value the benefits of the races we’ve come to love it’s time to speak now or forever hold your peace, because the Task Force can recommend changes that would effectively make 5k’s and 10k’s as we know them as part of the fabric of the running community a thing of the past. Now think about that, a handful of people making a decision that the 10’s of thousands of race runners over a year may not even know will change what they’ll be able to do.

Want to make your voice heard. Attend the next task force meeting on Monday, August 11th at 5:00 p.m. in room 1029 at City Hall (they will validate parking)


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