AUSTIN, Texas — On Thursday, Sept. 2, the Austin City Council approved a resolution that would ultimately make life a little easier for residents in two North Central Austin neighborhoods.
The council approved a resolution that would temporarily open an emergency access gate that blocks Easy Wind Drive at Morrow Street and separates the Crestview and Crestview Station neighborhoods. The resolution approves opening the gate for a three-month traffic study that would help leaders decide whether to permanently keep the gate open – something neighbors have wanted for years.
"They have heard our request. They have understood our concerns around safety, having a connected community and being able to support local commerce. And they have taken the first step towards the permanent removal of the gate," said Kate Sherwood, a Crestview Station resident.
Earlier this month, KVUE reported on the frustrations that the gate has caused. Neighbors said the gate unnecessarily divides a connected community and limits the options that Crestview Station residents have for getting out of their neighborhood on the east side.
What options residents do have are dangerous. Austin Police Department data and photos from the Austin Transportation Department show several crashes that have blocked lanes and damaged cars in the area.
PHOTOS: Crashes at Lamar Boulevard and Morrow Street
The frustration over the gate has also turned into an expensive bill with the City’s Public Works Department, as the gate has been repeatedly vandalized this year.
So far this year, Public Works crews have fixed it at least nine times. All the work, including labor and materials, has cost the City more than $15,000 in 2021.
KVUE learned to get rid of the gate entirely, the city council or planning commission could initiate a zoning change. Otherwise, the landowner of the Crestview Station parcel, which in this case is unclear, could initiate the change.
The Austin Transportation Department sent KVUE the following statement about the resolution the council will consider on Thursday:
"District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool plans to bring forth an item at Austin City Council’s Sept. 2 meeting that would direct City Manager Spencer Cronk to initiate a three-month pilot to open the gate on Easy Wind Drive to provide vehicular access to Morrow Street. Austin Transportation is currently collecting traffic volume and speed data with the gate at Easy Wind Drive and Morrow Street closed. If the pilot is approved, ATD will continue to collect data every 4-6 weeks during the pilot period to determine if traffic volumes and speeds are being impacted. ATD’s City Traffic Engineer would make the final recommendation whether to permanently open the gate based on an engineering evaluation by monitoring safety and mobility impacts."
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