AUSTIN (KXAN) — Even during a pandemic, Austin is growing. That is evident along the busy Menchaca Road in south Austin.
New businesses, such as bar and event venue Armadillo Den opened in mid-December along Menchaca Road, and Lustre Pearl South is listed as “coming soon” to the area on its Facebook page.
With the new businesses arriving, some neighbors in the Sweetwater Glen neighborhood are concerned about safety. That’s because Adam Milne said he sees some people running across the busy, dark four-lane road and others using their cell phone flashlights to navigate it.
Milne lives in the area and said weekend traffic swells with people looking for happy hour or entertainment.
“We weren’t expecting what we’re going to have,” Milne said. “South Austin has never been like a downtown or Rainey Street so for it to be called the Rainey Street of South Austin is not something that I would’ve expected five to 10 years ago.”
Milne said when he heads home from work he often thinks, “OK I need to be extra careful coming home right now because I don’t want to hit somebody, I don’t want to kill somebody.”
Milne said he and his neighbors welcome the businesses, but worry there aren’t enough safety measures or parking to protect patrons and neighbors. That’s why he helped organize a petition to the Texas Department of Transportation and City of Austin to make changes.
“What we’re asking for I think it is several-fold, reduce the speed limit, more lighting, more signage that’s enforceable, and some way of ensuring the people if need be can cross that street so whether that be a crosswalk or stop light something like that,” Milne said.
That area of Menchaca Road is managed by TxDOT. In a statement, the agency said it plans to meet with the Sweetwater Glen homeowners association this week to discuss their concerns. TxDOT added the requests could take some time as they would have to conduct engineering studies to determine the best solution.
Safety is our top priority at TxDOT and we take this responsibility very seriously. The Sweetwater Glen homeowners association reached out to TxDOT with their request for changes along Menchaca Road. TxDOT and the City of Austin plan to meet with the HOA next week to discuss this further. Engineering studies are used to determine the safest speed and traffic signals must meet specific criteria. Both of these options will require further study.TxDOT Spokesperson