Edit: There is another blogger's take on the map here:
What people need to understand about the preliminary map is that, first, Austin has to be split into 10 districts with roughly 79,000 people.
1,2,3, and 4 are minority districts required by law.
Since Northwest and Far Northwest happen to fall neatly into two districts population-wise, NWACA and NWAC both requested using 183 as a possible dividing line for Northwest. District 6 and 10 reflect this request, although ICRC made a slight adjustment for population.
Next is UT. A lot of people requested a UT-centric district:
Here is the article from the Texan about district 9:
That leaves the ICRC an interesting problem - there are only 3 districts left to draw, and a large chunk of neighborhoods are now marooned at the north end between the City limits and Kramer.
Those of us in North and North Central suggested a possible compromise...
was to hook these neighborhoods (Scofield Farms, Scofield Ridge, Lamplight, Walnut Creek, Gracywoods, Quail Hollow, North Park Estates, Copperfield, Harris Branch and a few others) to the North Burnet/Gateway plan to the south and then to the North Central neighborhoods who had requested to remain together (North Shoal Creek, Brentwood, Crestview, Allandale). You can see this suggestion was accepted and creates the top 2/3 area of District 7.
I really don't have an opinion of the map as it currently stands south of 45th Street. I feel that the districts as created north of 45th Street are a reasonable compromise considering the many constraints and requests that the ICRC had to consider.
At National Night Out last night, I showed the preliminary map to about 30 neighbors and the general consensus was, while District 7 is very odd in neighborhood makeup (it pairs North East, North, and North Central neighborhoods up with Old West and Historic Austin), the actual rationale behind forming the district does make sense.
Also, I checked and most of the neighborhoods in this district (this my best guess - I am sure I have missed some!!):
North Oaks Hillside
Crossing at Parmer Lane
West View Canyon HO
Crossing at Parmer Lane
Woods of Century Park
Limestone at Walnut Creek
Parmer Lane Hieghts
Village at Walnut Creek HOA
River Oak Lake Estes
North Park Estates
Chelsea Row HOA
Reflections I HOA
Reflections II & III HOA
Gracy Meadows HOA
North Shoal Creek
Old Enfield HOA
As well as Substainable Neighborhoods (Burnet/North Central) and the West Austin Neighborhood Group (Enfield/Tarrytown), are facing the same three issues. Many of our neighborhoods were surburban/family residential when built and are now dealing with the by-products of Austin's rapid growth - transportation issues, density/infill, and a decreasing population of children.
The biggest problem I see with this district are that we also have some very disparate needs that not all our neighborhoods share.
Some of those needs are:
-Parking issues because of events
-Empty/undeveloped lots and land
-lack of infrastructure on key corridors
-lack of infrastructure for sewer/water
-lack of park space/recreational facilities
-lack of cross (East/West) routes
-response times for emergency and police needs
-issues/development of code for historic homes
-lack of mixed transit and lack of future transit planning
-development/future needs for high-density zoning areas
One other thing to consider is that because we passed Proposition 2, I believe only Chris Riley and Kathy Tovo can run again in the 2014 elections that will occur for all 10 districts (please fact check me). My understanding is that Tovo lives in District 7 and Riley lives in District 9 (again, please fact check me). So being in District 7 actually has an immediate political consequence for the neighborhoods in the district. I am not saying this is either a good or bad thing, it is just something else that neighborhoods in the proposed district should be aware of.