Austin Energy warns against phone scammers threatening to cut off power

Statement from Austin Energy:

08.14.11 Alberto Martínez AMERICAN-STATESMAN -- A large utility pole off US 183 is part of the grid that distributes power throughout the city. Austin Energy is reporrting a boom in business as the brutal summer prompts people to consume more electricity.

Several Austin residents have reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be from Austin Energy, demanding payment of their utility bill within a half-hour, or power will be shut off. If the resident fell for the scam, the scammers presumably would ask for credit card, gift card or bank account information to complete the payment.

Austin Energy, the City’s electric utility, was alerted to the scam callers by the Austin Police Department.

Austin Energy — which manages City of Austin utility billing for water, electricity and other services — does not phone customers with cut-off deadlines, and does not ask for credit card or wire transfer information over the phone.

Austin Energy accepts walk-in payments ONLY at the city’s two walk-in service centers or the following authorized locations: the customer service counters of most Austin H-E-B stores, ACE Cash Express, Money Box, Fiesta Mart and Randall’s.

Staff at authorized locations will ask to see the customer’s utility bill statement before accepting payment.

If an Austin Energy customer receives a phone call threatening to interrupt service, demand immediate payment, or request credit card or bank account information, hang up and dial 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000 and report the incident immediately.

In addition, anyone who has received such a call and is uncertain of his or her account status can call the Customer Contact Center at (512) 494-9400.

Customers also can call the City of Austin’s Customer Contact Center to ask about the locations and hours of the City’s two walk-in customer service centers.

  • Utility Service Center (east branch) Rosewood-Zaragosa Center, 2800 Webberville Road, Austin, Texas 78702
  • Utility Customer Service Center (north branch), 8716 Research Blvd, Suite 115, Austin, Texas 78758 (near Ohlen Road and Highway 183)

City of Austin utility customers who wish to make a utility bill payment by credit card can do so online at www.coautilities.com or by calling (800) 959-7063, which connects the customer to the City of Austin’s automated utilities payment service (Bill Matrix) to make a payment via credit or debit card or electronic check. City of Austin customer service representatives may give customers this web address or phone number but will NOT ask for a customer’s credit card number to accept payment.

Smoke alert: Prescribed burn scheduled Tuesday, Wednesday in Southwest Austin

From the city of Austin (Austin Water):

Austin Water’s Wildland Conservation will conduct prescribed burns on the Water Quality Protection Lands January 31 – February 1, 2017. This tract includes the Slaughter Creek Trail. To ensure public safety the Slaughter Creek Trail will be closed to the public.

Smoke may be visible south of Slaughter Lane, east of FM 1826, north of SH45 and west of MoPac from 10 a.m. to sunset.

Prescribed burns safely mimic the natural fire cycle and maintain fire-resilient landscapes for the benefit of people, water and wildlife. The burned area will be extensively patrolled for at least a week after the fire.

Conditions such as wind speed and direction are monitored closely and if conditions become unsuitable the prescribed burn will be rescheduled.

Follow regular updates about the prescribed burn at
www.facebook.com/AustinWater
 www.twitter.com/AustinWater
For more information, please visit www.austintexas.gov/rxfire.

Austin police seeking volunteers for Blue Santa deliveries on Saturday

From the Austin Police Department:

The Austin Police Operation Blue Santa needs volunteers to join in the fun of delivering packages to families and children starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, December 17, 2016. Those wishing to volunteer do not need to sign up ahead of time; they can pick up packages at the Operation Blue Santa headquarters located at 4101 South Industrial Drive, Suite 260.

This event will occur regardless of the weather.

Volunteers are also needed to deliver packages at the following sites on the same day:

  • Robert T. Martinez Sr. Central East Substation-812 Springdale Road, Austin, TX 78702
  • Jaime Padron North Substation-12425 Lamplight Village Ave., Austin, TX 78758
  • Clinton Hunter South Substation-404 Ralph Ablanedo Dr., Austin, TX 78748

Those going to the remote sites are asked to proceed to the main Operation Blue Santa warehouse after the satellite deliveries are completed. Only a few hundred deliveries will occur from aforementioned substations. Several thousand deliveries will occur at the main warehouse.

Austin Police Operation Blue Santa is a charitable outreach effort created in 1972 by two APD patrol officers who realized that some families in their area would not have gifts or food for their children at Christmas. The distribution began with 20 families from the back of a patrol car. Today, Austin Police Operation Blue Santa serves more than 6,000 families with 14,400 children receiving gifts during the holiday season.

For more information, visit www.bluesanta.org.

Safety improvements at Cameron Road, U.S. 183 frontage to start next week

News release from the city of Austin:

The Austin Transportation Department (ATD) will continue carrying out the city of Austin’s Vision Zero Program when it begins constructing safety improvements at Cameron Road and the U.S. 183 frontage roads next week. This is the second of five high-priority intersections that ATD and City Council selected for construction funding in September 2015 as part of ATD’s Safety Improvement Program.

City contractors will begin rerouting traffic on Sunday, Oct. 16, and begin constructing the project on Monday, Oct. 17, with anticipated completion in mid-November 2016.

The goal of this project is to reduce crashes involving both pedestrians and vehicles at this intersection by installing enhanced pedestrian safety features and a new traffic signal warning device. Improvements (see illustration below) include:

  • Constructing a new right-turn channelized island (also known as a pedestrian refuge island) at the northeast corner of the intersection.
  • Lengthening the existing raised median on the north side of the intersection to provide a pedestrian refuge space in the middle of the crosswalk.
  • Adding high-visibility “continental” crosswalks (see an example here) to all pedestrian crossing points on the north side of the US-183 overpass.
  • Installing an advance warning flasher on the eastbound US-183 frontage road ahead of the traffic signal at Cameron Road. The flasher, which has been constructed and will be activated upon completion of the project, will flash when the signal ahead is red in order to alert drivers to slow down.
Illustration provided by the City of Austin
This image is for illustration only – it is not to scale and not for engineering purposes. Artwork provided by the City of Austin

There will be no daytime closures to the main lanes of the U.S. 183 frontage roads at any point during construction. However, toward the end of construction, there will be limited nighttime lane closures to allow for final paving and striping work.

Other closures associated with this project (schedule subject to change due to weather and unforeseen circumstances):

  • During the first phase of construction (approximately two weeks), the right-turn lane for the US-183 westbound frontage road will be closed. Cars will still be able to make right turns onto northbound Cameron Road from the US-183 westbound frontage road, but large trucks will not be permitted to turn right.
  • After the first phase is completed, there will be closures to two travel lanes (one northbound and one southbound) adjacent to the median on Cameron Road, north of US-183, for approximately two weeks.

This project, estimated to cost $268,000, is a continuation of ATD’s Safety Improvement Program, which helps carry out the City Council-adopted Vision Zero Action Plan. Vision Zero is Austin’s effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries for all road users.

As part of these initiatives, ATD began constructing long-term improvements in September 2016 at the first intersection, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the I-35 frontage roads, and has substantially completed that work. Prior to that, ATD carried out interim improvements at most of the five high-priority intersections.

The schedule for commencing long-term construction on the remaining three intersections is as follows (subject to change):

  • Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane – November 2016
  • Lamar Boulevard and Parmer Lane – January 2017
  • Slaughter Lane and Manchaca Road – Spring 2017

ATD will continue to provide information about these intersections as they come nearer to construction.

Lanes on West 35th St. to close as Austin repaves at night, starting Oct. 9

From the City of Austin:

The City of Austin Public Works Department is scheduled to begin repaving West 35th St. between MoPac Boulevard (Loop1) and Jefferson Street on Oct. 9. This area is being repaved because the existing pavement is failing and in poor condition. The mill and overlay work involves grinding up the existing asphalt and base material, removing it, and then applying new pavement. The end result will be a much smoother driving surface. To shorten the duration of the project and to minimize disruptions to businesses and residences, most of the work will take place nightly between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The project is expected to be complete by the end of October.

Drivers can expect nightly lane reductions during this time with one lane remaining open in each direction. Drivers are encouraged to follow all traffic signs and to use caution while traveling near the work zone. Follow facebook.com/atxpublicworks for continued project updates.

See the affected area below:

City of Austin
City of Austin

What to Expect:

  • Nightly lane closures on W. 35th St between Mopac and Jefferson St. from Oct. 9 to Oct. 30
  • Cross streets and driveways closed intermittently when crews are working directly in front of the street or driveways
  • Possible uneven road surfaces in the construction zone
  • Crews and machinery around the project site, cones, and signs to help direct traffic

Barton Creek Greenbelt re-opens

From the City of Austin:

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department has re-opened Barton Creek Greenbelt.

After continually monitoring the safety of the Barton Creek Greenbelt, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department has made the decision to re-open it for public use today, Wednesday, August 24, 2016. Patrons using the Barton Creek Greenbelt are asked to use caution and avoid any areas of standing water or debris on the trail.

The trail was closed due to flooding and debris from heavy rains on Saturday, August 20, 2016.

NB lane of Lamar between 38th and 45th closed due to washed out pavement

From the City of Austin:

The northbound, outside travel lane of Lamar Blvd. between 38th and 45th streets is closed until further notice due to washed out pavement. Recently, Public Works crews were performing milling and overlay work in this area. Yesterday’s heavy rains washed away much of the recently applied overlay and severely damaged the driving surface. The lane will be closed indefinitely until the rain stops and work crews can repair the damaged area. Drivers should anticipate delays and plan accordingly.

Traffic advisory: Lanes reduced on East Riverside Drive beginning Saturday

From the City of Austin Public Works Department:

Beginning Saturday, August 13, East Riverside will be reduced to two east and westbound lanes between Shore District Drive and Lakeshore Boulevard.

The left turn lane on Lakeshore Boulevard onto eastbound Riverside Drive will be closed and traffic will be detoured via Town Creek Drive and Tinnin Ford Road.  Temporary traffic signs will be in place to direct drivers.

This traffic pattern is expected to remain in place for approximately five weeks during Phase 2 construction of the East Riverside Corridor Improvements Project at Lakeshore Boulevard.

For more information about this project, please visit our website at http://bit.ly/2a1aqZ5.

City of Austin
City of Austin

 

Traffic shifts on Colorado and Eighth Street beginning Sunday, July 31

From the City of Austin Public Works Department:

(City of Austin Public Works Department)
(City of Austin Public Works Department)

Beginning Sunday, July 31, the City’s contractor will move work to the north side of the Eighth and Colorado Street intersection. Eighth Street will be reduced to one westbound lane. Colorado Street will also be reduced to one southbound lane from Eighth Street to Tenth Street. These lane closures are necessary for the installation of new storm drain, water and wastewater lines, full depth street reconstruction, wider sidewalks, and curb and gutter. Once complete, the City’s contractor will continue working north to Tenth Street. This portion of work is expected to be complete in October 2016. At that time, the City’s contractor is expected to move to the west side of Colorado Street, beginning in November 2016.

Motorists are asked to use caution and be extra alert in the work zone during this time.

The City will provide updates to inform the public of any additional closures or upcoming changes to traffic controls related to this project. More information about this project can be found on the City of Austin Public Works website.

Find out where parking is illegal, what streets are closed for Blues on the Green

From the Austin Police Department:
The Austin Center for Events (ACE) will add additional temporary signage near Zilker Park identifying areas where parking is restricted for the remaining installments of this year’s KGSR Blues on the Green season, which will take place on July 13 and August 3.

Signs will be placed in the neighborhoods adjacent to Zilker Park, including all or parts of Barton Hills Drive, Trailside Drive, Kinney Avenue, Garner Avenue, Barton Boulevard, Spoffard Street, Sunset View, Cliff Drive, Linscomb Avenue and Virginia Avenue. Ticketing and towing will be enforced for violations in all no parking areas on the days of each event, between 4 and 10 p.m.

In order to streamline pick-up and drop-off operations, there will also be a designated passenger drop-off zone on Sterzing Street. See the map below for the location of the drop-off zone and parking-restricted areas, marked by red dashes.

City of Austin
City of Austin

Parking will be available at Stratford Fields and Zilker Park Polo Fields for a fee. Once these lots are full, no more parking will be available.

In order to avoid parking altogether, Blues on the Green attendees are encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation to get to the event, including transit, biking, walking and ride-hailing services.

Capital Metro bus routes 3, 4, 30, 338, 484 and 803 all drop off near Zilker Park, as shown in this map. Those planning to bike can lock up at one of the many bike racks located at multiple places throughout the park or use a nearby B-cycle station. For more options, check out KGSR’s “Getting There” guide.

The street closure plan that has been in effect for the Blues on the Green installments in May and June will remain in effect, though portions of it may change at APD discretion. See this map below for details.

City of Austin
City of Austin