The Statesman has long been reviled by environmentalists as the RealEstatesman, with an apparent bias towards new greenfield construction (whose purveyors consume a substantial majority of the advertising space in the paper). This weekend’s fluff piece on the AMD development is no exception.
As SOS points out in an email today:
Then there’s the classic error by omission: the Statesman has been pathological in failing to report opposition to AMDâ€™s move by Austin Sierra Club, Save Barton Creek Association, Liveable City, and Texas Clean Water Action. Instead, their reporting has only listed SOS Alliance as opposing.
This is extra special since the Statesman has been giving Livable City plenty of coverage over the last year or two.
AMD’s proposed move would increase traffic over the Barton Springs watershed, as over 60% of AMD’s employees here don’t live in Southwest Austin. If AMD moves to Stratus’ land, 100% of AMD’s employees would be commuting over the Barton Springs watershed.
Personally, I think both SOS and the Statesman have dropped the ball on the transportation analysis – it’s fairly likely that a site downtown would reduce employees’ commutes even more, since it’s at dead-center for the region. IE, if 58% of AMD’s employees live within 10 miles of the Southwest Parkway site, it’s hard to imagine that a smaller proportion live within 10 miles of downtown, given the geography of the area. There simply isn’t enough residential development farther south of AMD to account for enough trips to make that true. All of the employees who live southeast, central, east, west-central, and especially north and northwest would be closer to work downtown. And employers who locate downtown put far less of a burden on the infrastructure than employers in the suburbs — more people bike, ride the bus, walk to lunch, etc.
So it’s crystal-clear to me at least that reducing EMPLOYEE commutes has nothing to do with AMD’s decision. Reducing the CEO’S commute, on the other hand, is likely part of the reason for AMD’s site selection…