MNA General Meeting Minutes, September 15, 2018

MNA Secretary Meeting/Meeting Minutes

Mueller Neighborhood Association General Meeting

Location: Seton Administrative Building

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018

Time: 10AM to 11:30

  1. Greetings and pleasantries, call meeting to order – Lila Valencia

Welcome new members and visitors.  ~60 in attendance.

  1. Treasurer’s report – Luke Downs

Beginning Balance $14,522.93
Dues $55.00
Credit Card Fees $1.94
Total Revenues $56.94
Mtg Space Rental for 2018 – Seton $250.00
Block Party Grants $263.33
Meeting Coffee $36.70
4th of July $887.72
G-Suite $5.33
Total Expenses $1,443.08
Ending Balance $13,136.79


  1. Transportation Update

Ravi Dhamrat, City of Austin Transportation Department – Looking at a potential all-way stop at Mueller and Philomena with Texas Mutual Insurance and the new part opening.  Also doing a traffic control study at Berkman and Philomena for another potential all-way stop. Both would try to reduce pedestrian/vehicle conflicts.  Philomena will likely go all the way East/West across Mueller so anticipate a lot of increased traffic on Philomena.  Also looking at Zach Scott at Camacho and at Mattie, with the latter particularly likely to need additional traffic control. Barbara Jordan and Mueller will see a traffic signal installed (it is now a 4-way stop), likely early in 2019. Aldrich and Barbara Jordan seems to have a relatively high collision history (~10 in the past year), so the department will take some sort of action. Near-term they’ve added signage that indicates that cross-traffic on Barbara Jordan doesn’t stop. There was a question about roundabouts and while the city considers it a preferred treatment, and it was investigated at Barbara Jordan and Mueller but ultimately it made more sense to go with a traffic signal.  At Aldrich and Airport, the No Turn on Red for a right turn on Airport from Aldrich was creating traffic backups.  They are installing a detection system with a digital sign to permit right turns when there is traffic backing up. Until the digital sign comes, the static sign will be re-installed. An unmarked crosswalk is where there are curb ramps but no street markings. A pedestrian at an intersection should have right of way – in some cases they have installed yellow signs reminding drivers to yield to pedestrians.  Call 311 with any additional questions or concerns, and concerns will be documented and tracked.

Nathan Wilkes, Proposed Zach Scott Street Improvements, City of Austin, Austin Motion – Had a public meeting a week ago.  Street design doesn’t always permit optimal policy goals. Complete Streets goal is to serve all users of all abilities at all phases. Zach Scott is part of a network of streets retrofitting the community to create an all-ages all-abilities bicycle network based on 2014 analysis.  The more people walking and cycling, the safer it becomes for pedestrians and cyclist.

Zach Scott was built with an old standard of painted bicycle lane next to parked cars who can be opening doors. Berkman and Mueller now have the newer-standard protected bicycle lanes, as does Zach Scott on the new section east of Berkman. The older section has raised concerns with speeding, difficulty for cyclists and pedestrians crossing.  The proposal was to match the east stretch by retrofitting the west stretch of Zach Scott with a two-way protected bicycle lane and removing 61 parking spaces on the north side. The proposal also would reduce pedestrian and bicycle crossing distances and exposures at Zach Scott and Berkman and at Zach Scott and Airport. They also did parking analysis during the week, during Sunday Farmers’ Market and at night.

There were concerns about loss of parking spaces and about two-way bike lanes.  The Mueller Neighborhood Association proposal preserves parking on both sides of the street. If there is parking near intersections, it creates sight-line limitations. Ideal is 60-70 feet of clearance from corners for cross-traffic to see coming traffic. The new proposal may not comply with Fire Department clear width requirements. Generally the Transportation Department is comfortable with the MNA proposal.  There would still be a net loss of north side of the street parking spaces but less impact than the original Transportation Department plan. The project contact is Neil Quarles, [email protected] (512) 974-7657. Usually restriping occurs pretty quickly after resurfacing but it may be a bit delayed as we await Fire Department approval. Hopefully within a month the Department can communicate next steps and timing. The other streets, if they had been striped, will be restriped with normal timing. A Zach Scott resident expressed appreciation at the positive support, listening and engagement from the MNA and the city

  1. East 51st Street Mobility Project – Jill Fagan, City of Austin Economic Development Department

There is a public meeting Monday evening (Sept. 17) on fire emergency response access and transportation, 6-7:30 p.m. at Cepeda Branch Library.  On Monday 9/24 at 5:30-7:30 in the AISD Performing Arts Center to give input on the design plans for the E. 51st Street Mobility Project. It is almost fully funded. There are flyers available, distributed at the meeting and available at Mueller Central.

  1. Development update – Brian Dolezal, Catellus.

Simond between Mueller and Aldrich will begin construction early in October. Tilley will open to 51st by the end of the year. Zach Scott should open through to Manor by the end of the year as well. Philomena will be paved east of Vaughn soon.  The changes to Cap Metro has driven an uptick in ridership, including boardings near HEB and near Wildflower Terrace. The Pecan Street Project eShuttle is showing good early numbers, even better than downtown and the Domain.  Beginning October 1 there will be a fee to ride the eShuttle, price TBD.  There will also be an autonomous vehicle that can carry up to 10 passengers. There will be an operator observing even though it’s autonomous.  It will be a test period of a couple of months through a federal program.  The Town Center North Park is hopefully opening within the next month or two; the new park will be named for Mary Elizabeth Branch, who was born to former slaves and went on to become the president of Huston College.  She also became the president of the local NAACP chapter. The park will have 220 trees, and including a water feature, a bike care station, play areas, etc. Veracruz All-Natural truck is now open by the hangar. Chi’lantro will open next week in the Regional Retail area. Lady Quackenbush’s cakery will open in a couple of months in Amli.  Kerbey Lane will open by year-end in the Texas Mutual Building, and the Primrose School will open in early 2019.  The Aldrich Street fair will be this Thursday Sept. 20 from 7-9 on the paseo with live music, glassblowing demonstrations, cocktails from Tito’s, a bubble artist.  There will be a new art installation of translucent bubbles ready by the street fair.  Movies in the Park will be Oct. 5 (Space Jam) and 12 (Little Mermaid).  6 will be the first Butterfly festival in the Lake Park amphitheater. There will be fall Rock the Park concerts starting September 21. The Tower Lighting is Tuesday December 4. Habitat for Humanity is building 11 row homes near the Jordan.

  1. Local Business Spotlight – Jesus Kain, Seton/Ascension

One of MNA’s biggest business partners over the years, including giving us discounted meeting space for MNA meetings.  Helen Walker was recognized for helping to build the strong partnership. Jesus presented on the Good Health Solutions Center, which opened in November 2017 to increase collaboration to improve care and access in Austin and Central Texas.  The GoodHealth mission is to better connect providers to each other and patients and to providers.  GoodHeath is a startup embedded within Ascension Texas and part of the larger Ascension umbrella.  Existing care is disconnected, creates dissatisfied patients and costly care. GoodHealth aims to give connected, coordinated and optimized care with reduced costs. The healthcare network focuses on integrated technology, multidisciplinary teams, etc. leveraging the unique climate for healthcare innovation in Austin, including the Dell Medical School and the Dell Seton Medical Center teaching hospital.  Seton’s new initiative – for one-site, one-call access: 512.324.2300.  GoodHealth is launching an on-demand digital clinic, offering convenient and affordable medical care to patients wherever they are.  Hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Any patient can connect via the app. It is staffed by doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants.  It treats a full range of nonemergency, non-life-threatening medical issues.  It is about half the cost of an urgent care visit and 1/8 the cost of an Emergency Room visit. You can get the app on GooglePlay or iTunes AppStore. You click a consent form and you can upload any relevant photos of, say, a rash. Visits are as secure as face-to-face visits (HIPAA-compliant) and notes from your visit will be share with your regular primary care provider.  We’ve posted the presentation The existing Seton hospital network will continue to serve patients but this allows nonemergency treatment for patients in the comfort at home.

  1. Mike Jones, Chair, Mueller Commission

Community Wheelhouse has over 500 affordable homes either built or under contract. The Monday Cepeda branch library meeting will allow members of the public to comment on the proposed fire department stipulation that all streets should be at least 25 feet wide. By design, many existing Mueller streets do not meet that. There will also be discussion of potentially recommending that all new homes have sprinkler systems. Please remember to keep comments and discussion polite and respectful.

  1. MNA Bylaws Update and Possible Action – Preston Tyree

The Bylaws Committee including Preston and Nhat Ho have been working on the proposed changes. The proposed changes are mostly minor, such as adjusting the year to match the calendar year and adjusting election cycles to meet the calendar year cycle. The biggest change proposes the Steering Committee can be as many as 13 people or as few as 9 people versus current bylaws saying 13 members. We’d still prefer to be at 13 but would like to be able to continue operating if a Steering Committee member resigns partly through a term. The other change is from 1-year to 2-year terms, and before you could serve a maximum of 3 years (3 terms) before taking at least a 1-year break, and new proposal allows for maximum of 2 years (2 terms) before taking at least a 2-year break. This year only we’ll have some 1-year terms and some 2-year terms. Five current members have agreed to run again.  We are actively recruiting for new candidates. There are also some changes to committee language to give more flexibility to committee composition. A neighbor who could not attend had expressed concerns about going to as few as 9 members. In the past three years, we’ve had 6 Steering Committee members say they plan to resign and 3 actually did. Having mid-term elections puts a lot of work on the committee. The nomination committee also works had trying to recruit as many as 13 people. So giving flexibility to continue to function when the SC is below 13 is the rationale for the proposed change, though we still aspire to 13. Please talk to us or the nominating committee if you’re considering participating – the ballot will be presented at the next meeting.  By a show of hands the proposed updates were approved and a second proposal to enable the Steering Committee to correct all typos and grammar also was passed.

  1. Announcements

The Landscape is doing a class on how to cook with herbs available in the Mueller garden – a trained chef on October 13 at Wildflower with a focus on marinades and sauces.

Next month’s general meeting will have a candidates’ forum.

There is a new MNA page on Facebook.

National Night Out Block Party Grants for National Night Out October 2

Mueller Yard Sale September 29 at 8AM

Fall Fest November 10 at 3PM


  1. Adjourn – 11:45.

Respectfully submitted 9/18/2018

By Alison Raffalovich, MNA Secretary