Recently, The Trail Foundation established criteria by which its projects are selected. These criteria centered around two focus areas: 1) Community need and benefit, and 2) TTF’s capacity and ability to complete the projects. With this criteria in mind, TTF selected 15 charter projects in honor of its 15th anniversary and created a Canopy Fund dedicated to financing the initial phases of each future project.
Slated for completion over the next five years, the 15 projects range from new trailheads and bathrooms to new water access points and playgrounds. Nine projects are on the east side of the Trail, four on the west, and two along the entirety of the Trail. The map below identifies the 15 projects and provides detailed descriptions of each (click to enlarge).
Master Signage (entire Trail)
Excellent signage is a critical component of a successful urban trail. TTF has already completed a Master Signage Package that has been installed west of I-35 that includes wayfinding and spoke trails signs. This signage promotes a favorable image of Austin characterized by originality, quality, beauty and civic pride. Not only does the master signage package need to be installed on the Trail’s east side, an inventory of all remaining Trail signs needs to be completed so that all signage is comprehensive coordinated and functional.
Ecological Restoration (entire Trail)
The Trail Foundation’s Ecological Restoration program is now entering its fifth year of implementation. Using the Ecological Restoration Guidelines as reference for this ongoing work, this program continues to grow in sophistication and impact for the health of the Trail and surrounding parkland ecosystems. This program encourages the strategic use of resources from all city departments, including the Parks and Recreation Department, Forestry and Watershed Protection, to have the greatest impact to the ecological and aesthetic value of an exceptional natural resource: our Trail.
With the growing use of the Trail, there is an increasing number of Trail users entering between the end of the Zilker berms and the Trail’s native areas. By creating a trailhead that addresses this increased use, while protecting the sensitive natural areas, we can accommodate the needs of nature and users alike.
Lamar Boardwalk Study (Northshore)
One of the few remaining pinch points, the Trail at Lamar and Cesar Chavez poses a safety hazard due to its proximity to the busy street. A feasibility study on an overwater boardwalk structure could provide a road map to a safer Trail in this area.
North First St. Trail Under Bridge
This project intends to improve the zone under the north side of the First Street Bridge, giving particular consideration to the water’s edge, the Trail surface and the concrete abutment of the bridge itself. It may also consider concessions, seating, lighting and artwork. While the focus is the area under the bridge itself, an extended zone on each side will also be considered. Funds will be used to hire designers for development of the vision, scope and conceptual design.
The parkland adjacent to the Four Seasons is steeply sloped, causing significant erosion of the Trail and the riparian edge when it rains. This project would address the stormwater that flows across this site in an aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sensitive manner that prevents further erosion of the Trail and the lake edge. This includes a deck along the Trail for users to gather or rest as well as to protect the existing shade trees’ sensitive roots.
Playground – East Side
As Austin continues to grow, more and more families are looking for places to gather, rest and play along the Trail. The Trail Foundation would like to provide creative spaces for play that will engage entire families and reflect the immersive feeling of nature the Trail evokes.
Festival Beach Restroom Replacement
The existing restroom at Festival Beach, east of I-35, has been identified for replacement in the Holly Shores Master Plan. The selection of an architect that is sensitive to the depth of history and cultural identity of this special park space is imperative to creating a successful design for this facility.
Holly Point Water Access
Anticipating the realignment of the Trail along Holly Shores in 2019, there will be increased desire to view and access the water, whether for kayaking, fishing or other recreation. By providing more formalized access in an area that is already well used, we can protect the riparian habitat while still allowing people to engage in the activities that they love.
Holly Trail Enhancement
As part of the future phase of the Holly Shores Master Plan, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department will realign the Trail to the lake edge. With this realignment comes the opportunity to provide shade and cooling through creative design solutions and trees.
Holly Shores Trailhead – Connection to EastLink Trail
Connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists is a growing priority for the City of Austin, and providing a safe connection to EastLink at the new Trail realignment at Holly Shores brings together two important trails that will connect all Austinites.
Pleasant Valley/Lakeshore Blvd Restroom
As the east side of the Trail continues to see increased usage, the Pleasant Valley and Lakeshore Boulevard intersection will function more as a Trailhead and entry point. With Country Club Creek Trail across the street and the nearest rest-rooms over a half mile away, there is great need for a restroom facility.
Pleasant Valley/Lakeshore Trailhead and Water Access
With the completion of the Oracle Campus across Lakeshore Boulevard, and the proposed upgrades to the Country Club Creek Trail across Pleasant Valley, the parkland and Trail at Pleasant Valley and Lakeshore Boulevard will become more heavily used than ever before. As shown in the TTF-created Southeast Shores Masterplan, a trailhead will create a gathering space for people to meet, as well as a water access point to interact with the water and nature, while protecting sensitive shoreline habitat.
Bridge Study: Holly/Lakeshore Peninsula
While the Trail’s west side has regular north/south opportunities to cross the lake, the 4 miles of Trail on the east side do not. TTF would like to conduct a feasibility study on the north/ south connection from the new Trail alignment at Holly Shores to the peninsula off Lakeshore Blvd.
Lakeshore Park: Deck and Overlook
On the Boardwalk’s east side, off Lakeshore Boulevard, are two opportunities to provide inviting gathering spaces through the creation of an over water platform at an existing outfall structure as well as a deck underneath the towering Live Oaks overlooking a playful, grassy field.