Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

Traffic in Austin

September 30th, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

Austin is growing too fast for our roads to handle. Have you noticed traffic lately? Rush hour starts earlier and last forever it seems like. The city itself is working on improving roads and smoothing traffic across I-35, Mopac, and 183, but while they work on these changes, sometimes it only makes traffic worse. So what is being done to alleviate this unwanted stress?

The U.S. Department of Transportation – Beyond Traffic

Austin will see up to 70 million people come into our city over the next few years, and that is an insane amount of growth! It can be expected due to the amount of jobs and opportunities this city offers, but in order to compensate for this massive crowd, the U.S. Department of Transportation is taking a stand. The first of 11 hearings involving fast-growing cities and their traffic will kick off today, and Austin will be well-represented. The backups downtown along with the rush-hour traffic seen every day on the highway are just a few of the issues that will be addressed at the meeting. This is only the beginning of the DOT’s Beyond Traffic plan, a 30-Year Framework that is aimed at improving road conditions across the country. For more information, visit the DOT website.

MLK & I-35

One of the busiest and most dangerous intersections in our city is the crossover between Martin Luther King Blvd and the south I-35 service road. Over 79 people have died at this intersection in just this year alone, which has prompted the city council to invest over $300,000 improving the traffic and the safety of this intersection for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. New lanes will be added to alleviate the heavy traffic flow and reduce the number of collisions happening at this intersection, and the City of Austin intends to take care of some crosswalk and curb work on the east-to-south right turn. This will protect both drivers and pedestrians, and increase safety for the students walking and working nearby. The contract begins October 1st, so expect to see a few changes and a little more traffic until the improvements are made.

Car2Go
car2go
In order to improve traffic downtown, Austin has renewed its contract with Car2Go in order to give more Austinites access to easy and affordable transportation without having to worry about parking, insurance, or even owning their own car. But the changes made to this contract shrunk Car2Go’s service area to focus primarily on downtown, with key access areas on Cesar Chavez, Pleasant Valley, and Lamar. The cars are still able to travel as far north as Steck and Anderson Ln and as far south as Stassney, but these far distances are for return trips only. Unlike the urban Car2Go in the city, drivers will not be able to leave the car for another driver outside of 51st street, which will make it difficult for commuters living up north.

Where you live in the city will definitely affect your perception of traffic and your ability to access public transportation and awesome services like Car2Go. If you have any thoughts about traffic, comment below or share your news with us on Facebook.

Fall of Fun in Austin, Texas

August 31st, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

Chocolate and Wine Weekend 2015

Summer is on its final leg and Labor Day Weekend is almost here! And although the heat may telling you a bit different, fall is well on its way. You can tell because the fall of festivals is upon us in Austin, Texas. Whether you’re local, a suburbanite, or coming into town for the weekend, Austin keeps the events coming well until the winter. Looking for a musical festival? Maybe a comic book convention or two? There’s even a dance tournament! So take your time to check out this list of events and start making your calendar with your favorite things to do in Austin this fall.

UTOPIAfest
Sept 4-6, 2015
Utopia, TX
Utopia Fest 2015

About 2 ½ hours outside of Austin, Utopia, TX is host to one of the most eclectic music festivals and some of the best sunsets in West Texas. So pack your tent and a couple cases of beer, because this campout festival lasts all weekend long. Bands like Explosions in The Sky and Man Man will be playing quirky tunes and restful jams, and the festival planners have organized special events and local food trucks to keep the weekend popping.

Tour de Cure
Sept 12 & 13, 2015
Austin, TX
Austin Tour De Cure 2015

A ride for the American Diabetes Association through Texas Hill Country will give you the chance to donate your time and your energy to a great cause while enjoying the view from within the best state in the country. This family-friendly ride offers up 3 different routes ranging from 2 miles to a 150+ mile ride that can last all weekend. Organize a team, ride with your family, or hit the trail solo. All proceeds will go to benefit the American Diabetes Association as they work to cure Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Wino Weekends
Grapevine, TX Sept 17-20, 2015
Salado, TX Sept 18-20, 2015
Montgomery, TX Sept 19, 2015
Austin Wine Festivals 2015

That’s right – three different wine tastings, all on the same weekend! Sip your way through Grapefest in Grapevine, taste a little chocolate and wine in Salado at their annual Chocolate and Wine Weekend, and finish off the weekend at the Wine and Music Festival in Montgomery. Remember to have a designated driver, as these tastings and fests are scattered about 3 hours outside of Austin, aside from the Chocolate and Wine Weekend which is only 45 minutes away, making it our favorite fall festivity this weekend.

These are just a few of the fun fall festivities the city of Austin and the state of Texas are planning for the coming months. And with classes back in session for students, an escape from the hustle and bustle of our city may be just what you need this fall. Check out more events for September and October at http://www.funtober.com/festivals/texas/ and don’t forget to give us a shout out and let us know your favorite happening this fall!

Summer Buzz and Secret Spots in Austin

July 6th, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

The holiday weekend may be over but the summer buzz is still running high in Austin, Texas. Summers in Austin mean free shows (free drinks!), great hiking trails, and big crowds. Don’t forget the traffic! So now that the Fourth has come and gone, you might be looking for a few places that are less traveled but still embody the buzz of music and fun that make Austin great. This list is some of our favorite “secret” spots that are known to locals but manage to avoid the tourist traffic (at least for now). Check these few out, take some pictures, and let us know what you think about them!


Red Bud Isle
3401 Red Bud Trl
Unit Cr
Austin, TX 78703

This off-leash dog park can be found in the sweet spot in Lake Austin. It’s a small islet, but with enough room for your dogs to run, swim, and play. There are many hidden pathways that can take you to shallower parts of the lake where you can teach your dogs to swim or even just wade your way through the hot July weather. These hidden paths are also ideal if you have a dog who doesn’t necessarily want to be social but still wants to enjoy the outdoors. You can stake out a spot free of pedestrians to give yourself and your pup a little mini-vacation right in the heart of Austin. If you can, walk to Red Bud. Even though it’s a favorite among locals, the parking lot is tiny and will often fill up with other dog walkers and kayakers.

Independence Brewery
3913 Todd Lane #607
Austin, TX 78744
www.independencebrewing.com

If you missed it this last weekend, no worries. Independence Brewery offers up beer tastings every Saturday afternoon. Even better – the first Saturday of every month is FREE! They specialize in local craft beers on tap, and they sell most of their wares in bottles and cans so you can take them to your next cookout. Each Saturday they unveil a new beer release, whether it’s a local favorite or a limited seasonal flavor, and you can enjoy a sip of them all when you come to their tastings. That’s right – free beer, all summer long. Well, at least on Saturdays.

Hula Hut
3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Austin, TX 78702
www.hulahutaustin.com


The only thing better than the menu at Hula Hut is their extraordinary view. The restaurant’s quirky deck extends well into Lake Austin, giving you the best view in the house while you dine on their delicious combination of Tex-Mex and Polynesian delicacies. Their menu ranges from chips and queso to full baby back rib platters complete with their house-made BBQ sauce. And don’t forget their cocktails! Not only will their menu make your mouth water, their delightful drink list and fabulous bartenders will keep your summer buzz going well into dessert.

West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt
1200 S 6th St
Austin, TX 78704

If you live in the 704, or commute anywhere near South Austin, then you know the crowds that are overtaking the Greenbelt this time of year. Lucky for us locals, the Greenbelt is HUGE and extends into some great semi-secret hiking paths that will give you that serene tour of Austin’s green life without the summer crowd. The West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt entrance is exactly that type of place. Although it’s right in the city (off Barton Springs Rd near Peter Pan Mini-Golf), you can escape onto a short path that will take you through the woods, past limestone cliffs, and you’ll emerge on the other side of 5th street. It works if you’re looking for a short cut but also if you’re looking for a place to relax. Escape the buzz of the city for the summery buzz of nature, if even for just a few minutes.

If you have a few favorite spots of your own, share them in the comments or let us know on Facebook! As more and more people visit our amazing city, we do like a few spots where we can sneak away for some true summer-time peace and quiet.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

May 24th, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

The Alamo

Anyone catch sight of a tornado last night? All of our weather apps were abuzz with warning after warning of flash floods and tornado sightings. But, rest assured, that crazy rain storm from last night is long since passed. The weather should remain like this – sunny, tepid, NOT humid – at least through Monday so you can enjoy the rest of this 3-day weekend.

Austin is rising up to meet the demand for free festivities and delicious junk foods this Memorial Day Weekend. And now that the rain’s stopped, people are actually venturing outdoors in search of something fun to do. Whether you want to honor the troops, enjoy live music, or find yourself some hot dogs and hamburgers to munch down on, Austin’s got you covered. Here’s a few of our favorite things to do! Check it out, stay out late, and enjoy yourself!

For Military
Memorial Day is first and foremost our opportunity to honor the US Troops that risked it all in order to protect our country, and Austin’s Camp Mabry is putting together a special presentation for this weekend only. Starting yesterday and going on through tonight, The Texas Military Forces Museum presents “Close Assault – 1944” to give veterans, their families, and museum visitors an opportunity to see what military life was like during World War II. The event includes displays of military uniforms, supplies, weapons, and equipment along with live shows of military assault. Firing demonstrations, tanks, and other military vehicles will be on display and re-enacting some of their infamous displays of bravado. Admission and parking is free, and with the weather as beautiful as it is now, you can enjoy the show comfortably from the bleachers or from a picnic on the grass.

Of course, if you’re looking to get out of the city this weekend, head to San Antonio. The Alamo is open today and free to the public, giving you the chance to see the famous last stand of Davy Crockett and the other soldiers who gave their lives to protect the Spanish Mission during the Texas Revolution. This weekend too is the premiere of the “Texas Rising” miniseries on The History Channel, meaning the museum may be crowded and special guests may be making an appearance. The Alamo will be open until 5pm tonight, which gives you plenty of time to absorb a little local history before hitting the Riverwalk for a special weekend dinner.

For Music
If you’re looking to honor the tried-and-true live music tradition of Austin, the Austin Jazz Festival is your best bet this weekend. Head up the Bees Cave Parkway and escape the city crowd for the day. Because the show is TOMORROW ONLY (Monday). Enjoy the likes of Kirk Whalum and Jazz Funk Soul on the main stage, while a slew of local jazz aficionados funk it up on the side stages, including Trent Durham and The Matt Butler Quartet. The show starts at 11am and tickets are still available. You can choose to picnic in the grass ($35) or party comfortably in the front seats ($75). Call 512-651-5033 for tickets!

For Food & Fun
We all know no holiday weekend is complete without food, fun, and a little partying. And the Midway Field House (2015 E Riverside Dr) is coming through as your grilling headquarters on Monday. Not only do they host regular games – including their famous divey arcade – they’ll have their mechanical bulldog open and ready for anyone brave enough to take a ride. Starting at 2pm, they’ll have all the burgers and hot dogs you can eat, as well as complimentary Tall Boys to get your evening started. So take a bite, get a drink, and enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend surrounded by your favorite people.

How to Drive in Austin’s Crazy Storms

April 19th, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

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Never expect predictability when it comes to weather here in Austin. Last night’s thunderstorm was just a typical spring evening. The hail and rain knocked out trees, power lines, and caused a few interruptions to Reggae Fest. Were you out and about in the storm yesterday? Did you have the unfortunate luck of driving in your car when it hit? We all know the proper safety procedures when it comes to lightening and hailstorms – take cover, avoid tress and metal lampposts, stay dry, but what happens when you’re trying to drive yourself home and the hail is pounding your windshield? You can always pull over and wait for the worst of it to pass, but there isn’t always time for that. Austin is poppin’ and you will have places to be and be seen regardless of the crazy weather. These tips for driving in the rain – even in these crazy Texas storms – will keep you and your passengers safe and guarantee that you’ll arrive to the show, even if you are a few minutes late.

1. Take Your Time
When they’re wet, it’s going to take longer for your tires and your brakes to adjust to the weather. In order to avoid rear end collisions and hydroplaning, slow it down and take your time.

2. Stay in the Middle Lane
When possible, move into the middle lane or at least the lane farthest from the sidewalk. Water will pool and puddle in the outside lanes, closest to curbs and sewer drains. Standing water like this increases the risk of hydroplaning and flooding your car, depending on the depth, so your best bet is to avoid it completely if you can.

3. Maintain Proper Following Distance
This is a Driver’s Ed basic, but in the rain you run the risk of ruining your visibility if you follow too closely, especially behind Texas’ infamous big trucks. They’re going to kick up a lot of water and rain into your windshield, which is only more dangerous for you. Slow it down until your 3-5 seconds behind the car or truck in front of you.

4. Avoid Using Your Brakes
It may seem counter-intuitive, but slamming on your brakes in the rain is only going to lead to spin outs and hydroplaning. Keeping a safe following distance will decrease your need for braking, and if you do have to slow down, simply take your foot off the gas and let your car coast to a safer speed.

5. Basic Vehicular Maintenance
Stay on top of your tires and your windshield wipers. This means regular maintenance checks, oil changes, and tire rotations, either done by yourself or a mechanic. This regular maintenance will keep your vehicle in shape and prepared for whatever crazy weather phenomenon Texas decides to throw our way this spring.

Of course, if you can avoid driving in a storm like last night’s, there’s no reason for you to be out in it. But we can’t always be in the safest, driest, or even most logical place in this city, especially on a Saturday night, so follow these tips to keep yourself safe when driving in the rain.

(Thanks, Yue Zhang, for the great photo!)