Officials to discuss Northern Walnut Creek Trail plans

Lisa Reed rides the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. A meeting to plan a stretch of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail is planned for Tuesday. Photo by Pam LeBlanc


City officials will hold a meeting next week to discuss the next steps in planning for Phase 2 of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail.

The 1.8-mile section of trail will start in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park and end near the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offices at Interstate 35 and Walnut Creek, and connect to the southern end of the Phase 1 project.

City staff and project consultants will discuss the current status of the trail, funding, planning and design, and gather input on how the trail will cross Interstate 35.

The meeting is set for 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 at Walnut Creek Elementary, 401 West Braker Lane.

Bypass trail under 24th at Lamar set to open this month

The railings on the pedestrian and bike bypass of 24th Street along Lamar Boulevard are almost finished. City officials say the trail should open by April 15. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/AMERICAN-STATESMAN


I ride my bike up Lamar Boulevard almost every day, and I’ve been eagerly (and lately, impatiently) watching the slow progress of the trail bypass of 24th Street.

For the past six weeks or so, welders have been assembling railings along the new pathway, which curves gently along the west side of Lamar, routing bicyclists and pedestrians below 24th Street and its whizzing traffic.

Then, a week or so ago, all the railings that had been built were suddenly yanked out. Had workers done something wrong? I checked with the city.

It turns out the railing removal is just part of the process, according to public information spokeswoman Courtney Black.

“When they’re assembling the railing, they have to weld it first, then they actually take it somewhere else to be galvanized,” Black says. “Then they bring it back to install it. Right now it’s in between welding and galvanization.”

Barring any bad weather or unexpected snafus, the handrails should be finished April 15. When that happens (and a few drain covers are installed), the trail will open.

The trail is part of the $9.5 million Shoal Creek Restoration project between 15th and 28th streets, which includes about 3,000 linear feet of stream bank stabilization, relocation of waste water lines from the creek channel into the Lamar Boulevard right of way, and park trail improvements. The project began in April 2014. It’s a collaborative between the Watershed Protection Department, Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Water Utility and Public Works Neighborhood Connectivity Division.

After the trail opens, the remaining work will consist primarily of invasive plant species removal and landscape maintenance, Black says.

‘Ruthless Good’ scavenger hunt to benefit United Way of Greater Austin

The United Way of Greater Austin will hold a fund-raising scavenger hunt this weekend. Photo courtesy United Way of Greater Austin


How well do you know Austin?

Teams of explorers will scamper around the city Saturday during a fund-raising event to raise money for the United Way for Greater Austin.

Participants in “Ruthless Good: The Great Austin Scavenger Hunt” will use the streets of Austin as a game board while they solve clues, answer trivia questions and take pictures of unique city locations. They’ll have three hours to complete as many activities as possible, earning points along the way.

All ages are welcome.

“There are so many wonderful and historic treasures in Austin,” says United Way for Great Austin’s chief executive officer, David C. Smith, who calls the event “a love letter to Austin.”

Check-in starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Long Center. Teams will leave on foot at 9 a.m. and must return by noon. Participants should be prepared to walk 2 or 3 miles. Awards, refreshments, lawn games and music will follow.

Entry fee is $35. All funds raised through the event will benefit the United Way for Greater Austin, which works to break the cycle of poverty and improve lives of Austin residents in need.

To register, go here.