AUSTIN (KXAN) - When Rusty Talley moved into his condo on Rainey Street four years ago, he knew new development would soon encroach, but did not think it would be bars and restaurants.
"I thought there would be more high rises," said Talley, who is the Milago Homeowners Association president.
Residents on Rainey Street knew change was coming after the neighborhood was re-zoned in 2005 to include commercial establishments. In the last year, several bars and restaurants have set up shop on Rainey and it has been a pleasant surprise to Talley.
"They have been good neighbors, but we want to keep it that way and make sure we are working together."
That is why Rainey residents invited Councilman Mike Martinez to take a look at the neighborhood on Thursday morning and consider improvements to the street which has become one of Austin's growing hot spots.
"There are some unintended consequences and those consequences are traffic," said Martinez.
On a busy night, residents park along the side of the narrow street, while traffic comes and goes and patrons are walking right in the middle of it all.
The concerns are obvious.
"People are coming to bars and restaurants and end up walking out into the street at all hours of the night after having a few drinks," said Talley.
"It is a dangerous situation."
Talley says most residents are happy with how the neighborhood has changed because it has boosted the property values in an area which was long neglected.
But they also think there is room for improvement and so does Martinez.
"There definitely needs to be better infrastructure and that comes with development," said Martinez who says the traffic problems will be alleviated in the long term as more business and street development takes place.
However, short term solutions are also being discussed.
Lifting traffic restrictions that were in place before the area was re-zoned could help loosen up a tight situation for motorists and lit pedestrian walkways could prevent patrons from walking on roadways.
More immediately, a hearing is scheduled at next week's city council meeting to discuss a live music permit the Lustre Pearl bar is seeking.
Neighbors have appealed the permit, but Talley says it is not because they want to pull the plug on the music.
"We are not against live music, but we just want to know how the permit processes are going to work down here."
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