On Tuesday, January 23, 2018 the Watershed Department gave a public presentation about the status of the Del Curto drainage project. This project is important to SLNA to mitigate the very real risk of flooding that currently exists. Homeowners and residents are strongly encouraged to read the materials and familiarize yourselves with this project to see the impacts it could have on you and your residence. Construction should begin in 2019 and the city will be buying drainage easements from some property owners:
An easement gives us the legal right to use a parcel of land for a specific and limited purpose. There are two purposes for a drainage easement. It may be needed to give rain water a place to flow. It may also be needed to install, access and maintain pipes to divert rain water. This prevents large amounts of water from accumulating during heavy rainfall. The area designated as a drainage easement is off limits for any use other than growing grass and planting flowers.
Information about the Del Curto Storm Drain improvements can be found at this site: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/del-curto-storm-drain-improvements-0
The Jan 23 presentation can be found here: http://southlamar.org/slna/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Del_Curto_Presentation_01_18.pdf
We received the following update from the City of Austin about the Del Curto Storm Drain improvements. Visit this link for the background information about this project.
We are entering into the “Design Phase” for the Del Curto Storm Drain Project.
During design, our engineering consultant will be working out all the details of the proposed project. The design phase ends with a set of construction plans that will be used to permit, bid and construct the project. The project¹s goal is to allow storm water to flow safely to West Bouldin Creek through a combination of underground pipes and open channels. The water will enter West Bouldin Creek near Thornton.
The project will include the following components:
We will install curb and gutter along a short stretch of Bluebonnet Lane where there is currently none. The area is between Del Curto Road and South Lamar Boulevard. Curb and gutter can help keep storm water in the street.
Storm Drain Bypass
We will install an underground pipe and associated inlets on part of Bluebonnet Lane, Del Curto Road, Delcrest Drive and Kinney Road. The bypass pipe will capture rainwater and release it into the channel that runs between Kinney and Thornton.
We will increase the capacity of the channel between Kinney and Thornton. This could include making the channel wider or deeper or other options.
Storm Drain Conveyance from Thornton to West Bouldin Creek
After storm water flows through the channel between Kinney and Thornton, it crosses Thornton and flows overland into West Bouldin Creek. We will provide a path for the water to take across this area. It could take the form of a pipe or improvements to the channel or some combination.
We will acquire drainage easements at various locations in the project area. Drainage easements are a designated place for water to flow during storms. In some cases, they are also needed for access or maintenance of the drainage system.
Green Streets Component Dropped
During the internal review of this project, it was decided not to pursue the Green Streets initiative on Iva and Delcrest that was presented at the public meeting in September. This option would have improved water quality, but not the flooding.
The internal review took longer than we initially thought. We are currently expecting to start construction in the summer of 2017. This assumes that the easement acquisition process goes smoothly.
The City of Austin Watershed Protection Department held a public meeting on September 3rd to discuss the flooding and drainage issues in the West Bouldin Creek Watershed. This watershed is the area along West Bouldin Creek as it flows from the Zilker neighborhood through SLNA. The watershed department presented a detailed discussion of the problems, and a solution that would be implemented in two phases:
- Phase 1: Construct “small-scale” projects to improve drainage and reduce flooding
- Phase 2: A larger project to address flooding identified in the Preliminary Engineering Report.
Phase 1 is expected to begin in 2016.
The materials presented at the meeting are a very interesting read, and are available online at the links below. We encourage you to have a look. They discussed how projects get prioritized, how storm drain systems work, the history and scope of the problems seen in the Del Curto area, the Preliminary Engineering Report which identified the need for additional inlets, upgrades to existing pipe, additional pipe, and keeping the storm drains within the public Right-of-Way; as well as issues raised such as cost, South Lamar construction, and time-frame.
Twenty small projects were identified as possible enhancements to be made in Phase 1, which is expected to begin in 2016. One of the projects discussed was the “Green Streets” project on Iva and Delcrest, which would reduce the road-way widths and change the streets to be 1-way. The longer term, Phase 2 work would see some preliminary work happen concurrently with Phase 1, but the detailed design would not begin until after Phase 1, probably in 2018.
The Watershed Department staff identified ways that all of us in SLNA can help:
- Avoid building in drainage easements
- Clear easements of obstructions
- Report flooding and drainage concerns to 3-1-1. The “squeaky wheel gets the grease”.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and request more information about flood-proofing
We encourage you to read the presentation materials that we have put on the website. You can find them at:
- September 3 Meeting Presentation
- Del Curto Project Area Phase 1A Study
- Del Curto Project Area Phase 1A Maps
It is very exciting to see these efforts to address the problems that we have seen in SLNA, problems which have gotten significantly worse with all of the infill development. Stay tuned!
We received the following information from TreeFolks that we wanted to pass along to you.
TreeFolks, a local nonprofit organization, is offering free street trees to residents throughout the Austin Energy service area as part of the NeighborWoods program. Each year NeighborWoods delivers roughly 3,600 trees within the Austin Energy service area to shade streets and combat the urban heat island effect. Our staff places flags in eligible homeowners yards where the trees should be planted and doorhangers on their door. Eligibility for this program depends on the amount of space available to plant a tree along the street. If you were offered one or more free trees through this program, please send in your postcard to receive your tree(s). For more information about the NeighborWoods program, please visit http://treefolks.org/neighborwoods/ or call (512) 443-5323.
We’ve got some good development news! The flood mitigation project on Del Curto is well underway.
As you are most likely aware, several of our neighbors along a stretch of Del Curto near Bluebonnet have had their homes flooded one or more times due to new development activity. Homes that have been here for decades and never had an issue with flooding, all of a sudden were flooded, some even after just modest rains.
The City of Austin (correction) The Developer is installing new curbs and driveway cuts to divert the water down the street. We are certainly hoping for our neighbors that this flooding nightmare is nearing an end.
One can’t help but wonder where all this water will go? The hope is it will run south down the hill on Del Curto to the creek. Hopefully this happens without incident to the downhill, uncurbed neighbors. Stay tuned.
Jennifer Hoskins has been instrumental in launching beautification and traffic calming projects in two key locations in SLNA. The first one is a traffic calming device at the cul-de-sac on Dolphin Drive. This location is famous for drivers executing ‘flying turn-arounds’ which endanger those who live, walk, and play along that area. The second is a beautification of the reflector field at the intersection at Lightsey and Clawson. The stop sign at this location has been run over literally countless times, and now, while the stop sign remains safe, the unsightly reflectors surrounding it fall victim to drivers on a regular basis.
Jennifer has requested the city partner with the SLNA to help with these two projects through the “Neighborhood Partnering Program”. The city has made two trips out to both sites and has decided they are both feasible projects and have invited us to apply.
Jennifer reports that she has received the first round of schematic design drawings. There were two requests from the November SLNA meeting regarding the project at Clawson/Lightsey: consider adding a curb at the residence to prevent possible encroachment into the lawn, and to create a more pedestrian friendly concept. Jennifer passed the comments back to our COA contact Sara Krause and she is currently awaiting her response.
After the plans are approved we can move forward with the official application. Our neighborhood will be responsible for a portion of the project that can be paid back in dollars or sweat equity. There may even be opportunities to use sweat equity from the park in the future to transfer over.
Thank you very much Jennifer for all of your efforts! We look forward to hearing the response from the city.
View the schematic for both projects here: