Friday, April 25, 2014

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City leaders examine future of East Sixth Street

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TWC News: City leaders examine future of East Sixth Street
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City officials want to give East Sixth Street, or what is sometimes called "Dirty Sixth," a facelift.

The Austin Music Commission discussed how to clean up the street in the late night hours.

They want to find out if East Sixth Street's reputation is driving away local music venues. Austin police showed up to help review videos of the more serious incidents they've seen in the area late at night.

Music commission members say it's important to keep the identity of the live music capital of the world, but police say it's a tricky situation having so many people drinking in such a small area.

No final decisions were made at the meeting. The music commission wants to gather more statistical data.

Meanwhile, officials with the Public Works Department laid out their plan at city hall on Monday as well. They want to take out all the curbs and add a flexible lane to the street from the Interstate-35 service road to Congress Avenue.

Under the new plan, East Sixth would have three travel lanes in the morning rush hour and then switch to two travel lanes with parallel parking spots in the afternoon.

The new design also includes 18-foot sidewalks, which would allow for sidewalk cafes and other displays without shutting down the road. Officials say this would help the parking shortage, improve curb appeal and show support for prospective businesses.

"If a city is willing to maintain the infrastructure in a high state, it speaks well for what the city thinks of that property. If a city is not willing to maintain its infrastructure in a high state, that sends the opposite message,” Public Works Department director Howard Lazarus said. “We certainly want the message we send from the public realm from Sixth Street to be one that's strongly positive.”

City officials say construction would take up to two and a half years and would leave the area in good shape for up to 80 years.

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