AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin said its taken even more steps toward making the Rainey Street area safer after a push this year for safety changes by friends and loved ones of people who died in or near Lady Bird Lake.
In a memo, the city said since March 7, the Parks and Recreation Department had installed temporary solar lighting, a temporary fence barrier, a gate at top of steps to lake access, installed signage, increased park ranger patrols and conducted multiple site visits to monitor light reliability.
The city said a consultant group was also hired to draft recommendations for permanent infrastructure safety improvements and hosted a nighttime consultant group trail walk with Austin Police Department representatives April 17.
According to the city, Human Resources approved a request for payment of overtime hours for Park Rangers to assist in providing more frequent patrols in the area.
Placing EMS personnel at the Rainey Street Trailhead is also being explored, and a staff update is expected to be provided by May 8.
Friends of Jason John received the update this week on the city’s efforts to improve safety along the Rainey Street trailhead.
John, a 30-year-old man, was pulled from Lady Bird Lake days after he was last seen on Rainey Street.
Council passed a resolution last week directing the city manager to explore safety measures in addition to the fencing and lighting that crews put up along the trail last month.
Josh Gale, a friend of John’s, said he, along with friends and family members of others who have died or gotten hurt near the lake, walked the trail with representatives from Parks and Rec as well as the trail conservancy to discuss how the project was going.
“It was a really friendly conversation where they asked our opinions on the plan, asked if there’s anything we wanted to see — if we had any questions on what they’re doing. They wanted to learn more about our stories — the similarities — the differences.,” Gale said.
The most recently passed resolution asked the city to look at the possibility of things like staging EMS near the river and adding more Halo security cameras throughout the entertainment district.