At the time of this publication, our long-anticipated, ADA-compliant, concrete-paved park trail nears completion. It’s even possible that, by the time you read this, all the concrete will be poured on “our side” of Lamar.
The entry there will be the last section completed to provide the 12-ft wide, hard-surface thoroughfare through Walnut Bluffs Trailhead, following the trail initially established by Gary Brewer in the early 2000s. It will allow almost anybody wishing to visit our little paradise to do so under most weather conditions, whether by foot, bicycle, wheelchair or other conveyance not engine powered. Twelve feet is wide enough to allow safe passing of two bicycles (assuming both riders know and follow the rules of etiquette), demonstrating how this project is also part of Austin’s mobility plan and not simply a park and recreation space. It won’t be used for through-transit for a while, though, as it ends with the circle near our Oakbrook entrance, just visible back behind Gary in the picture above (look closely!).
No doubt there are those of us, especially some long-time users of the park, who prefer walking on the softer natural paths, and most of the paths which criss-cross the area will remain such. And WCNA will continue to help with maintenance of most of these trails in cooperation with the city parks department. This will include working toward reducing invasive plant species and planting native ones suited to the particular environment of our park.
The “Walnut Creek Trail” has been “in the works” for nearly 40 years, mostly under the Public Works Department. The larger project comprises a network of similar pathways which ultimately will circle Austin and facilitate alternative forms of mobility to many parts of the city. The final section of Northern Walnut Creek Trail will continue from the circle on the concrete path near the park entrance on Oakbrook across Walnut Creek and under (or over) the I35/Walnut Creek bridge, generally to follow the creek and join with the existing Southern Walnut Creek Trail at Govalle Park. This final extension awaits funding.
Follow the overall project at https://tinyurl.com/WCtrailProj.
The latest estimate for the fencing to be removed is about the end of May. Completion of the section under the Lamar bridge and on the Lamar entrance to the trail west of Lamar to Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park will follow.