Researching Austin

Here’s a video of the bats in Austin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g6DLECHdL4

I haven’t started serious research yet, but I have to ask:

if Austin is all hippie and health conscious and bike-friendly, why doesn’t relieve some of the traffic strain? Are things just too far apart?

It’s composed of typical Texas urban sprawl, and it’s hot as shit about 6 months of the year. That, and not everyone is a hippie, health conscious or cyclists. My in-laws’ neighbors ride their bikes everywhere, but most of the other people on their street drive normal cars.

Austin has more hippies per capita than most places, but it’s not a million-person commune by any stretch.

Plus, the self-same hippies have obstructed, blocked, pestered and otherwise tried to stymie any road or highway construction in the city for decades due to dubious environmental concerns- stuff like blind salamanders, watersheds, etc… that 99% of cities don’t worry so much about when the forecasts see constant gridlock in 10 years.

So you basically have a bunch of knuckleheaded hippies shooting their own city in the foot; the term my wife’s said they used was “If we don’t build it, the people won’t come”, meaning that if the roads, etc… aren’t adequate, the city won’t grow.

Well, that idea sucked, and now they’re stuck with inadequate roads and a fast growing population.

Why didn’t the city implement adequate public transportation?

Of course, I’ve asked that about most cities I’ve lived in. I still don’t get it, though. Roads are expensive and relatively fragile; rails is so much more convenient when supported with reasonable bus connections and good side-walks …

But here on the east coast we really don’t grasp how large in area other cities can be.

It sounds like I would want to live within four miles of work then.

What line of work are you in and roughly where is the office in Austin? We can tailor our responses to that area

I’d probably say “reasonably safe” rather than perfectly. Crime has been increasing in the 6th street area over the last couple of years; there have been snatch and run cellphone and iPod thefts, some knifepoint and gunpoint aggravated robberies, some aggravated assaults, i.e. a woman was brutally knocked unconscious from behind in front of Liberty by a purse snatcher (who was fortunately caught on video), last year two women were kidnapped by three men and sexually assaulted, etc. It’s not a crime ridden hellhole or anything, but I’d definitely advise someone in the area to maintain some situational awareness.

I’m curious, how friendly are people in Austin to newcomers? I’ve wondered since it is crowded, and keeps getting more crowded as more people move there. And I’ve heard people say that each person who moves to Austin thinks that the gates should have been shut behind them.

I’m just curious, I’m not planning on moving there. I love to visit Austin, and I go there a few times a year for SXSW or other festivals or to visit friends, but I’m happy living in Houston.

I do quality assurance in an FDA regulated company. My company has a facility in Texas, although not in Austin. If I were to be transferred to the Texas facility, I would probably have to find another job very quickly, because they hate me at the Texas facility. (Really. I won’t last three months.)

I’ve done a little research (primarily watching “Austin City Limits” on WGBH) and Austin seems to be the only place in Texas that would work for me. It is, of course, more complicated than that.

There is a company in Austin that would be a very good fit for me professionally. They are between routes 1 and 35, between the river and UT Austin (that’s how you refer to it, right?)

But if that didn’t work out, I could probably get a job at any drug, medical device, dietary supplement / vitamin, cosmetic, or processed food manufacturer or importer. I’d be most interested in anything between Austin and San Antonio for various reason.

(Unless, a perfect and insanely lucrative position opened in New Mexico. I love New Mexico. But that’s another story.)

You pretty much have it here. Austin never had designs on being a metropolis - that’s more Dallas and Houston’s deal. But people started moving to Texas, and given the high birth rates in the state, the population exploded. Austin suffered greatly in the oil bust of the early and mid 1980s but became a tech mecca with Sematech, Motorola, Texas Instruments, AMD, Apple, IBM, and Tracor. Nobody figured that Austin would grow as fast as it did. Cities like San Antonio tried to get ahead of the curve by building more roads (Loop 1604) and people laughed - today, 1604 is full of traffic. That was a wise move. I suspect people thought there would be another bubble and the city would be stuck with extra roads that weren’t needed.

The other idiocy had to do with the investment in toll roads. North Loop 1, SH-45, US-183A, US-290E, and Texas 130 are all toll roads. Texas 130, in particular, could significantly decrease Austin’s traffic woes. It has a speed limit of 75 and bypasses Austin entirely - much of the NAFTA traffic could be diverted there. But the tolls are expensive, and nobody uses it. But I’ve driven from SH-71 to SH-45 (south to north) in 35 minutes. That’s unheard of!

I was paraphrasing my wife and her family in my post; for me (born & raised in Houston, live in Dallas now), Austin seems to be a city with 2 sides- one being the urban, high-rise/apartment living, cyclist/mass-transit taking young urban professional types and assorted hippies, and the other side being pretty much “normal” people who would be at home in Houston, Dallas or San Antonio as well. The second side people tend to live somewhere in the Northern, Western and Southern suburbs such as Round Rock, Leander, Buda, Westlake and parts of the city south of say… 71/Ben White or thereabouts.