💲Bye-bye, fave free parking lot
Cat DeLaura/Austin Daily
- 6 min read

💲Bye-bye, fave free parking lot

Plus, how many 100-degree days are we talkin' about this summer?


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☀️ Hi, Austin.

Hyde Park remains a rare pocket of the city that hasn't transformed as much as other neighborhoods amid Austin's booming growth. But today, we're breaking down plans for one beloved locale — which include turning a free parking lot into one that charges — that show even Hyde Park isn't immune to change.

Then, peep how many 100-degree days we're looking at this year. And, see if electric surfboards are legal to use on Lake Austin.

Saturday budget: $6 for your Quack's croissant, $3 for parking

A sign in front of Quack's Bakery that reads: "Attention valued guests: converting to paid parking May 1st."
Cat DeLaura / Austin Daily

That’s right. Parking for your Saturday morning Quack’s pastry runs might start to cost you if you’re not lucky enough to live within walking or biking distance of the neighborhood spot.

Of course plenty of street parking will remain free, but the lot behind Quack's that has offered free parking to patrons of the area’s businesses and restaurants will begin charging in May. 

And, it turns out, that's only the start of the property owner’s plans for the land. Changes are coming to the corner of 43rd Street and Avenue H. Let me explain.   

What’s going on? 

In January, City Council approved a rezoning request for two lots at that corner submitted by Hyde Park High Street, an LLC registered in 2021 under Jesse Lunsford. 

You might not know his name but you’re probably familiar with some of the ways Lunsford has contributed to Austin's ongoing evolution, including the development of the Rainey Street District and the saving and moving of the historic home that is now Lustre Pearl East. 

What's on the 43rd and Avenue H property now?

There’s not much more than meets the eye after a quick drive-by. It hosts roughly 45 surface parking spaces and a 628-square-foot commercial kitchen that is used by the Hyde Park Bar & Grill. The lots have been zoned for multifamily residences since the 1960s but never had a multifamily building built on them. 

What would change? 

Big picture: Hyde Park High Street wants to build a two-story building with a ground floor restaurant and retail space and upstairs office space. While Hyde Park isn't changing as rapidly as other parts of the city, the recent redevelopment of the old post office into a book store, French restaurant and grocer — coupled with these new proposed plans — is an indication the area is changing.

The details: 

  • There would still be parking on a portion of the lot. City Council documents show that “retain(ing) as much parking as possible off-street” was important to many residents in the neighborhood. And the coding changes will allow for excess parking on the property. 
  • The commercial kitchen will stay.
  • The new building’s entrance would face 43rd Street. 
  • The size of the building (or buildings) is not to exceed 12,500 square feet. 

Staff documents submitted when City Council considered the rezoning request recommended the approval because “Hyde Park is one of Austin’s most walkable historic neighborhoods” and “auto-centric surface parking lots do not support walkability or the cherished historic character of this neighborhood.” 

How has the neighborhood reacted?

Out of 12 comments submitted by the public and included in City Council meeting documents, only two opposed the development.

Both were concerned that removing the parking lot would lead to more traffic and parking on residential streets. Proponents generally said they felt the development would be a better use of the land and more in line with the neighborhood's goals and aims to promote walkability.

So why paid parking? 

Lunsford did not respond to multiple requests for comments about the project. However, the application to the planning department notes that charging for parking will help the property “generate income to help offset property taxes until (it) is able to be redeveloped.” The property owners also need to secure a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Landmark Commission, site plan approval and a building permit. 

What this means for you: According to a spokesperson for LAZ parking, which will operate the parking lot, the rate will begin at $3 with a max rate of $7.

Cat DeLaura, Reporter

Temperature: 90 degrees | Sun:  Playing peekaboo | What to Expect: Winds picking up

The day will start cloudy and a bit foggy with light south winds. As the day progresses, we’ll see some sunshine, winds picking up and a few showers and storms possibly in the late afternoon into the evening.

Mary’s Tip: It's a good time for a sweaty lift sesh at Atomic Athlete, a strength and conditioning gym in South Austin.

Well hello, 100-degree days. Didn't see you there.

Temperatures will be nearing the 90-degree mark this week, which has us thinking: When are we going to reach the century mark?

So far this year, the hottest temperature in Austin was 91 degrees on March 5. But just a week before that, on Feb. 27, our neighbor to the north, Killeen, hit 100 degrees. Woof. That not only marked the first Texas city to reach the century mark but also the first in the country this year.

This doesn’t necessarily set the stage for a brutal summer – even though we'll no doubt reach 100 degrees. We historically don’t record our first 100-degree day until July 4. In recent years though, we have seen triple-digit temperatures as early as May and June. The earliest date for a 100-degree day on record is May 4, when it happened in 1984.

If you look at all of Austin’s weather records, which go back to the late 1800s, the average number of 100-degree days each year is 15.

But if you look at the data from the past 30 years, as the effects of climate change have become more apparent, we see that average more than double: Austin now averages 33 days with triple-digit temperatures. So yeah, we're def seeing more extreme heat these days.

Austin Daily

Among the years that produced the most 100-degree days, 12 out of the 14 shown have been in the past 25 years. It's also worth noting that the last year Austin temperatures failed to reach 100 degrees was 37 years ago in 1987.

What do you think this summer will bring?

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist

What's an electric surfboard, you ask? It's what Meta founder Zuck was riding in those viral photos from 2020 and 2021. #RememberWhen

Marcus Higgins/X

And you may have also spotted folks riding them on Lake Austin. There are even some local rental companies, like this one, which charges a cool $300 for four hours.

Which begs the question: Is it legal?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, except Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day. The Austin Police Department's Lake Patrol unit enforces bans on jet skis, motorized surfboards and other similar doodads on those holidays.

Here's a snippet from the City Ordinance with the details.

  1. From sunset on the Friday before Memorial Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Memorial Day
  2. From sunset on the Friday before Labor Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Labor Day
  3. From sunset on July 3 until sunrise on July 5

Keep in mind this only applies to Lake Austin. A Travis County Sheriff's Office rep told us that there aren't any watercraft restrictions on Lake Travis.

So all bets are off over there.


Today's clue is for 36 Across: what your friends ask you for when they're already seated at Paperboy for brunch and you haven't even left your place yet.

Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura and Mary Wasson.