City recommends changes to Rainey Street during Tuesday meeting


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News and photojournalist DEREK RASOR

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Posted on January 8, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 9 at 11:26 AM

AUSTIN -- Big changes were recommended for Rainey Street, including metered parking, during a Tuesday night meeting.

City officials discussed the changes Tuesday night in a transportation committee meeting that included public comments.

Parking meters would be one of the first noticeable differences.

"Our goal is to get them in by South by Southwest so the construction is out of the way," said the Austin's Transportation Director Robert Spillar.

Spillar said the revenue generated from the meters will pay for safety improvements in the Rainey Street neighborhood including sidewalks.

The city also recommends to make Rainey Street one way, a move that will make room for bicycle lanes. 

Spillar said the project will begin after SXSW ends and before the ACL music festival begins.

"We just don't have enough width in the street to do everything we have to do, and we are increasingly concerned about the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and the people trying to use this area," Spillar said.

Some residents who live along Rainey Street don't want it to be converted to one way.

"You are cutting off emergency access and easy access to homes, and it's just not something we want," Rainey Street resident Andre Suissa said.

The city also says it recommends adding metered parking along nearby East Avenue and the Mexican American Cultural Center. Spillar and the city will meet with interested stakeholders about the changes later this month.