East Austin Studio Tour: Pro-Tips

Did you get out to E.A.S.T. last weekend? If you did, you probably know that the best way to experience the annual self-guided art tour is by pounding the pavement around a wide stretch of central east Austin, but to get to all the far ends of the tour’s 100+ studios a bike is hands down your best bet. If you don’t have a bike, there are many places in town to rent one including electric bikes from Rocket Electrics.

If you don’t live within biking distance:

  • Take the bus and bring a bike if you have one to get around once you arrive in the E.A.S.T. territory.
  • Carpool with friend(s) and cart your bikes on a rack to change modes for convenience on site.
  • Grab a ride using Heyride: download the app and find someone going in your direction.
  • Take advantage of the extended MetroRail hours this weekend! Trains begin running at 10am both Saturday and Sunday. There are many studios to visit around the Saltillo station and a few near the MLK station. 

What to bring:

  • Bike Lock(s): A lot of the studios are inside people’s homes where bike racks are scarce, so be on the lookout for fences, telephone poles and sign posts to attach your bike. If you can’t find one of those options, you can always lock 2 bikes together or lock the front wheel to the body of a single bike.
  • Bike helmet and lights: The sun sets promptly at 5:30pm and you don’t want to be riding around in the dark. Plus, it’s illegal. You must have a front white light and rear red light or reflector to ride at night.
  • A backpack to carry snacks or stash art you buy during the day.
  • This handy map of all the artists, galleries, happenings, events—and bike routes! Many of the studios have hard copies of the map for free or for sale. Since many of the studios are in neighborhoods, the streets are generally pretty low traffic, low stress; great for riding around all day.

Where to Park:

  • Bike Corrals: There are many corrals along E. 6th Street between I-35 and Chicon. Look for these in front of Shangrila, Buenos Aires Café, The Brixton, Liberty and Rio Rita.
  • Bike Racks: Many of the commercial studios will have bike racks, but they will fill up quickly. So be prepared to scout around for a sign post, fence, or lock your bike together with a friend.

If you drive: Most parking will be on street, just be sure not to park in a bike lane or block a driveway.


E.A.S.T. photo courtesy of Happy Mercado. Send us your photos!

Downtown Mobility for the New Breed of Entrepreneurs

Downtown Austin CEOs have a unique perspective regarding traffic concerns and how they impact local businesses.  Tim League is the CEO and Founder of the Alamo Drafthouse, which includes the 11 location theater chain, Drafthouse Films, Badass Digest and Fantastic Fest.

Q: How do you see transportation impacting and/or challenging your business in downtown Austin?

I would love to see a greatly expanded rail network connected to downtown. Eventually that will spur more [non drive alone] commuting as well as additional residential and commercial development along the rail lines. Downtown roads and all the major freeways at rush hour are horribly congested and are getting worse every year. Rail is the only viable way I see to take some of the pressure off the roads and encourage the growth of a population that isn’t tied to driving a car. For those who do drive and circle to find parking, I would also like to see a mandatory unified parking wayfinding system for downtown that is tied to iPhone and Android apps.

 Q: How do you get to work and/or get around downtown? And how well does work for you?

I ride my bike to work every day. Compared to other progressive cities, we don’t have nearly as strong a bike infrastructure. We do have a few “bike lanes” but those are really shared lanes with cars with very faded painted wayfinding. There is talk of a bikeshare system being deployed in Austin. It would be incredible if we could, in concert with that deployment have dedicated and safe bike lanes all throughout the inner city. Montreal is a great example of a city doing bike lanes and bixi bike rental correctly.

Q: Do many of your employees use commute options like bicycling, transit, carpooling, etc.? If not, why do you think they aren’t?

 Our corporate offices are at 612 East Sixth Street (6th just east of Red River, next to the old Emo’s location) where we have about 60 employees. We encourage our employees who live close to use our corporate Car2Go account and we have a couple of folks who commute in on light rail. We have bike racks inside the building and scooter parking behind the office. Some of our employees have moved downtown too, in order to be able to walk to work.

Q: What would you like to see Movability, Austin, Cap Metro, or someone else do to help with transportation into and around downtown?

 Three things: rail, rail and more rail. Spanning the city with efficient light rail is the best answer to our traffic congestion problems.

This is our second interview in our series: Downtown Mobility for the New Breed of Entrepreneurs. Check out our interview with Fred Schmidt, CEO and Publishing Director of Portalarium, here

Exercise Your Citizen Muscles: Go Vote Nov 6!

And don’t forget the city bond propositions toward the end of the ballot.

 You may not love everything in this $385 million bond package, but there are plenty of needs in our community – infrastructure repairs, watershed protection, parks improvements, and affordable housing.

Prop. 12: Transportation & Mobility:

As much as Austin aspires to become a city with viable travel options, we will always need roads and roads, like everything else, have needs especially if we are going to improve them for all uses, e.g., walking, bicycles, transit and carpooling. This bond begins to address two perennial transportation problems – persistent bottlenecks and a high rate of crashes and fatalities – with $8 million addressing arterial congestion and crash-risk mitigation, with another $35 million directed to sections of I-35. This bond also has a bump in sidewalk funding with the inclusion of $25 million for sidewalks and ramps, and a list of multi-modal projects that support a better sense of place.

To make it easy to get to your polling location, Capital Metro will be offering FREE rides on Election Day on all MetroBus, MetroRail and MetroAccess services. You can find your  polling location here and use trip planner to get there!