From Ann Kitchen - Update: Joslin Park & Manchaca/Ben White

Post date: Jul 24, 2018 12:37:58 PM

Dear Neighbors,

I would like to provide an update on all the actions that are being taken to address the challenges facing our community around Joslin Park and the Ben White/Manchaca Rd. overpass.

1. Joslin Park

From Kimberly McNeeley, Acting Director, PARD:

As promised below is a progress update regarding the items discussed at last week’s meeting:

Progress Update:

Contact Austin Transportation Department regarding the parking issues around Joslin Park and provide contact information to the community for further investigation:

  • ATD has been contacted and an email introduction was made. The ATD will work directly with community members and park supporters regarding the parking concerns.

Investigate options for extending the recently installed lighting to better illuminate the playground area:

  • Joslin Park has two separate AE electrical services to the park. One service provides electricity to the tennis courts and is in working condition. The second service was used to light a softball field at one time. The softball field lighting is currently inoperable and will require a major investment to bring back into working condition. It is because of the inoperable condition of the second lighting system that PARD has use the solar alternative.
  • As you know, PARD installed 2 solar lights. A 3rd light will be installed in the coming weeks. The solar lights are currently being analyzed and adjusted by PARD maintenance to extend increase lighting in and around the playground. The adjustments that are being tested include redirection of light, installing extensions to the existing lights and installation of a third light. The PARD team will continue adjustments and testing in the next week. A request has been made to Austin Energy to dim the existing night watchman light along Cinnamon Trail. If the night watchman continues to be too bright even after dimming, PARD will request the light be disconnected.
  • Additional information regarding the lighting progress will be provided next week.

Complete the tree trimming next to the adjacent light between the playground and exercise equipment for better illumination

  • Forestry was able to conduct some tree pruning, however, the work is not complete. A work order has been created for more extensive tree trimming with the goal of completing the work in the next week. The Forestry work is being coordinated with Joe Diaz.
  • Additional information regarding the lighting progress will be provided next week.

Review illumination and make adjustments to the light once the tree has been trimmed

  • In addition to the hardware improvements, the settings for the solar lights are being adjusted to increase light intensity when activated by a motion sensor. Some of the live oak branches have been trimmed to allow for better light distribution.

Increase signage within the Park to allow for better enforcement of established ordinances

  • New signs have been added. This task is complete and APD have additional enforcement resources.

Return the picnic table to be placed next to the playground under the tree Joe Diaz

  • Completed.

Schedule a “Leave No Trace” educational session to engage park users and provide information about responsible pet ownership and general environmental stewardship

  • Park Rangers will provide Leave No Trace/Responsible Pet Ownership at least four evenings (between 5:30 and 8:30) between now and the end of August. The Ranger Team is working to adjust their current schedule to include the above programming.

Schedule a community meeting to further discuss playground equipment options to deter individuals from sleeping on the equipment

  • Patrick Beyer met with the community members on 7/19/18. Based upon feedback there is a request to explore options to replace panels with netting. PARD Team Members will meet with the playground manufacture to determine options and report back to the community.
  • Additional information regarding the playground progress will be provided next week.

2. Ben White/Manchaca Overpass

As we announced last week ACM Sara Hensley indicated there would be more frequent clean-ups in addition to TXDoT clean-ups the 1st week of each month. Today she updates us with the cleanups that are currently scheduled:

Scheduled clean-ups

August-18th

Sept-15th

Oct-20th

Nov-17th

Dec-15th

Jan-19th

As always my office will monitor the situation at the overpass and work with all parties to continue making improvements.

I want to thank everyone, neighbors, city staff and staff from all the other agencies who are committed to finding effective solutions for these challenges.

Please stay in touch with my office with any questions or comments and call 911 when you see a situation that APD or EMS needs to address.

Thank you for all you do for our community!

Best Regards,

Ann Kitchen

City Council, District 5