Austin's police chief is sick of drunk drivers getting off easy when they kill someone. And he thinks our transportation downtown needs a major makeover. Chief Art Acevedo outlined his plans for a safer Austin Monday in response to another deadly weekend.
Acevedo opened a specially called press conference Monday by remembering blogger Kelly Noel. Noel is the latest life lost in a DWI crash.
"We spent a lot of time tweeting back and forth," Acevedo said.
Driver, Wade Atwood, who was arrested for DWI, told officers Noel walked out in front of his vehicle Saturday morning at 7th and I-35.
Noel's partner of 5 1/2 years said Noel was against drinking and driving and frequently offered his couch to friends.
"He was always out there to help somebody," said Josue Robles.
Chief referred to Noel as a twitter buddy, but all families of those lost were on his mind.
"I will tell you that the Austin Police Department is not going to rest on its laurels," said Acevedo.
Acevedo called for a summit to develop a comprehensive review of the transportation system in the entertainment district.
"If you don't think we need more taxis, then you try to get a taxis on a night Thursday, Friday, Saturday night in Austin, Texas from about midnight to three in the morning," Acevedo said. "Where I see when I'm on patrol, hundreds of people trying to flag taxis down to no avail."
Then he took a shot at the criminal justice system.
"Enough is enough. We need justice when people make those choices and they kill and they maim our neighbors and friends," Acevedo said. "How can you get probation when you kill two people? How? There's no excuse!"
"I'm thrilled that he's on the same page as us," said Sarah Levine, ATX Safer Streets.
Founder of ATX Safer Streets, Sarah Levine, recently filed a petition to bring attention to the transportation issues she witnessed as an employee downtown.
"A lot of people that I know have given up and gotten behind the wheel and drove because what else are they gonna do? It's so sad and so dangerous," Levine said.
She hopes Acevedo will have the power to make a difference so that more people won't have to go through what noel's family and friends are dealing with.
"He was my rock, and I don't have his shoulder to cry on," said Robles.
The general manager of Yellow Cab has filed a proposal with the city, asking for 150 additional cabs during peak hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
CapMetro does not have plans to expand the bus routes at this time. According to a spokesperson, the eight night Entertainment District buses served nearly half a million last year.