I Say It's Spinach

Austin Dispatches No. 244 May 21, 2023

e244fig1Whether they're conspiratorial minions doing the bidding of a sinister globalist cabal, or perverse subversives indulging in knee-jerk rejection of the Texas way of life, Travis County's power elite -- and its minions -- for far too long have opposed business, living and recreational arrangements based on hydrocarbons.1 Despite the wealth and tax revenue therefrom that helped make Austin what it is, the aforementioned anti-Texans persist in turning their churlish attitudes into government policy.2

Case in point: Earlier this month, the Austin City Council, instigated by its Muslim councilman, voted to impose dhimmitude upon motorists by eliminating parking space requirements from new developments.3

The May 12 Business Journal reports the "change is intended to enable the creation of more housing -- especially in the city's core -- and promote a transition toward public transportation ...," far from the "market-based approach" councilwoman Paige Ellis claims.4

This letter to the Chronicle describes what's likelier to happen:

A typical interior residential block in Austin is around 700 ft. long and contains a dozen or so houses, so there is 1400 ft. on both sides of the street. Driveways account for about 15% of that space, so that leaves about 1200 feet of curb space. If 3 out of 12 of those houses on each side of the street are replaced with fourplexes, which provide no parking, consider the following: Austin has an average of 1.6 vehicles per dwelling unit, so six fourplexes would put 38 cars on the street in our hypothetical block. A vehicle parked parallel to the curb requires about 25 ft. of space, so those 38 cars would take 950 feet of space out of the available 1200 feet. (You can plug in other numbers for six or eight-plexes (as CodeNext would have allowed) and/or add more dwelling units per block.)

Of course, there are already cars that are parked on the street, and those would pretty much fill up or exceed the rest of the available curb space. Also, delivery vehicles, waste disposal trucks, construction vehicles, visitors, etc. need space. This scenario describes an unsafe street that I would be afraid to walk down in the single center lane of the street. (The cost to build out sidewalks in the city exceeds $1B, and the likelihood of spending available sidewalk money on interior residential streets is very low.) How would a fire truck or ambulance get through, regardless of sidewalks? This potential congestion is the impetus for the Shared Streets program.

There isn't much detail on the City's website about Shared Streets, but the idea is to carve out spaces along the curb that allow pedestrians to get out of the way of vehicles. My biggest question is how the location and frequency of spaces are determined. It seems counter-intuitive to eliminate all required parking and then create spaces on the street that are off limits for parking. Will Shared Streets be dynamic so that the number and location of spaces is adjustable as the demand for street parking increases or decreases? IMO, the worst case scenario would be to add too much density so there are too many cars in an area for the total available parking, causing cars to cruise around in search of a freshly vacated parking spot. I hope the City Council and city manager considers these pedestrian safety concerns when deliberating this issue.5

Unfortunately, Austin has (or had) many local businesses I've never patronized or even browsed, because the parking was either nonexistent, insufficient, or too tricky. It's the big chain stores that can afford the lawyers to navigate City bureaucracy that get my business, because I know I can reliably find a place to park -- once I navigate the rat maze design and speed bumps. Although it's post offices, paradoxically, that usually have the best overall parking designs.

In fact, one of the more noticeable traits of Austin -- something you won't learn from the Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau -- is how frequently its denizens botch basic aspects of urban design and construction -- perhaps because Austin boasts an architecture school. Moreover, the areas built since the establishment of the City's Development Services Department and Economic Development Department Redevelopment Division, and thus requiring bureaucratic approval, are on average worse in those regards. I pointed this out years ago to those bureaucrats and got queasy chuckles in response. It's as if urban planning, construction and real estate are nothing but loud-mouthed rackets to fleece everyone for top dollar in exchange for slipshod work. I've long suspected the problems started when those people started deviating from grids.6

Austin Death Watch

Small wonder Austin's slipped in the ratings of where to live.7 Meanwhile, civic leaders held an "affordability summit" to indulge in the usual pinko blather that only makes matters worse. Nowhere in the summit coverage did I read any consideration of abolishing the regulatory thickets that exacerbate the cost of living here and impede the sort of changes civic leaders say they want, even if the public doesn't.8

In this vein, some bigwigs among the Austin power elite filed suit over the property tax benefits for the South Central Waterfront redevelopment project on the old Statesman office site.9 According to Texas' attorney general, mass transit boondoggle Project Connect is legally dubious even as an idea.10

The local papers were miffed state troopers ticketed nonwhite potheads while they patrolled City streets.11 Of course, if the recipients weren't so stoned in public, they could probably dodge the cops easier.12

Bevo and Butt-Heads

The April 14 Daily Texan reported professors fear a legislative bill ending tenure "will tarnish the University's reputation."13 I'd think all their antics mentioned in Austin Dispatches nearly 25 years would've done that.

Media Indigest

After a tedious rehashing of pinko talking points, Chronicle Publisher Nick Barbaro extols getting stoned on pot while driving a motor vehicle through rural Texas -- and he's got the nerve to criticize firearms as hazardous? Worse yet, he fails to ritually denounce the Trump supporters in the hinterlands.14 He could lose control of his paper after his enraged staff denounces him for being insufficiently radical, just like an editor at the New York Times.15

The May 19 Chronicle reports Statesman staff are on the verge of a strike.16 But if they stop working in the newsroom, will that paper's local coverage be any more insubstantial than it already is?

Fox News firing Tucker Carlson should be a definitive refutation of readers who've occasionally suggested I work at that network.17 Also, the pay is low, the requirements are high (e.g., Ivy League credentials), and even before the tyrannical anti-pandemic policies, the taxes and cost of living in New York City were prohibitive.18 Whatever distinguishes Austin Dispatches from any other media outlet is not what Fox News wants.19

Cultural Canapés

The May 5 Chronicle proclaims "reggaeton continues to proliferate," but my impression has been that DJs don't play it at salsa socials as much as they did about 10 years ago.20

Longtime readers will recall I've been a tad critical of the British, and somewhat moreso of their feckless yet parasitic ruling class. Nevertheless, "Spare," the memoir of Prince Harry, is an engaging read, both stylistically and substantively, wherein the narrator is either pilloried in the tabloids for fictitious escapades more interesting than the reality of folding laundry while watching sitcoms, or treated by dynastic servants with less respect than Rodney Dangerfield.21

Neighborhood News

The Texas Department of Public Safety mailed me a form notice of a "high-risk sex offender" living in the neighborhood.

The May 5 Business Journal reports IBM plans to move into a new office at The Domain, replacing a La Quinta Inn and Suites.22 Henceforth, each cloud storage server comes with a complimentary continental breakfast.

On May 19, I witnessed the aftermath to a smash-up along the MoPac Expressway northbound on-ramp near Gracy Farms Lane. KXAN-TV's traffic Web page reported collisions at Loop 360 and MoPac on May 5, and at Parmer Lane and Scofield Farms Drive on May 15.

The traffic Web page also reported April 20 thunderstorms flooded Waters Park Road from O'Neal Lane to the MoPac southbound frontage road.

On the Town

April 21: Witnessed a near-collision near the MoPac-Highway 183 intersection between two dumbasses misjudging distances.

April 24: For the first time, I paid my Austin Energy bill in person, at the Utility Customer Service Center, at Gran Central Plaza.

May 17: Witnessed the aftermath of a crash at the Airport Boulevard underpass at Interstate 35.

Home Archives


1 Buck, Holly Jean. Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero is Not Enough. London: Verso Books, 2021: 3.

2 AD No. 241n17 (Feb. 13, 2023); Fehrenbach, T.R. Seven Keys to Texas, rev. ed. El Paso, Texas: Texas Western Press, 1986: 58-60.

3 Moreno-Lozano, Luz. "Austin to Eliminate Parking Rule." AAS 13 May 2023: 1A+; Spencer, Robert. Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2003: 7.

4 Christen, Mike. "Parking Minimums on Chopping Block in Austin." ABJ 12 May 2023: 11.

5 Piper, David. "Park It." Letter. AC 19 May 2023: 4.

6 Aurbach, Laurence. A History of Street Networks: From Grids to Sprawl and Beyond. Hyattsville, Md.: Pedshed Press, 2020.

7 Seipp, Skye. "Austin Slips to 40th in U.S. New Rankings of Best Places to Live." AAS 17 May 2023: 1B+.

8 Gray, M. Nolan. Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2022; Kotkin, Joel. The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, rev. ed. New York City: Encounter Books, 2023; Moreno-Lozano, Luz. "Civic Leaders Hold Affordability Summit." AAS 18 May 2023: 1A+.

9 Barbaro, Nick. "Bashing Austin Policy." AC 28 Apr. 2023: 10+; Christen, Mike. "Lawsuit Threatens Plans to Seed Skyline South of Downtown." ABJ 5 May 2023: 10; Moreno-Lozano, Luz. "City Tax Diversion Spurs Lawsuit." AAS 2 May 2023: 1B+.

10 Autullo, Ryan. "Paxton Questions Project Connect." AAS 21 May 2023: 1A+.

11 Moreno-Lozano, Luz. "Racial Disparities in Arrests Questioned." AAS 29 Apr. 2023: 1A+; Sanders, Austin. "APD Says DPS Is Doing Great." AC 28 Apr. 2023: 14.

12 Carson, Dale C., and Wes Denham. Arrest-Proof Yourself: An Ex-Cop Reveals How Easy It Is for Anyone to Get Arrested, How to Just Say No to Car Searches, How to Legally Defend Yourself With Firearms, How to Keep Lawmen Out of Your Phone and Computer, rev. ed. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2014: 3, passim.

13 Juell, Ali. "Professors Fear Potential Impacts of Tenure-Ending Bill." DT 14 Apr. 2023: 5.

14 Barbaro. "Chill Out, America!" AC 21 Apr. 2023: 10+.

15 Krakauer, Steve. Uncovered: How the Media Got Cozy With Power, Abandoned Its Principles, and Lost the People. New York City: Center Street, 2023: 189.

16 Thompson, Maggie Q. "Pause the Presses." AC 19 May 2023: 14.

17 Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. "Carlson's War." NYR 8 May 2023: 13-14.

18 Muto, Joe. An Athiest in the FOXhole: A Liberal’s Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media. New York City: Dutton, 2013.

19 Eisler, Dan. "Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kushner." E-mail to Mike Eisler, 3 Mar. 2019.

20 AD No. 153n4 (July 30, 2012); "Calendar." AC 5 May 2023: 18.

21 Dangerfield, Rodney [Jacob Cohen]. It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs. New York City: HarperEntertainment, 2004; Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex [Henry Charles Albert David Windsor-Mountbatten]. Spare. New York City: Random House, 2023: p. 178-179, 244, 267

22 Baird, Cody. "IBM Finds New Home Not Far From Old One." ABJ 5 May 2023: 2.