An upcoming project by the Austin’s Transportation and Public Works Department aims to improve pedestrian and bike access along East Fifth Street as part of two planned efforts by CapMetro to double-track the Red Line rail transit network along its existing path through East Austin. The project’s pedestrian upgrades will focus on the stretch of East Fifth Street between Navasota and Pedernales Streets, which includes the rail-adjacent Red Line Parkway trail and connections to other pedestrian networks including the MoKan Trail, Crosstown Bikeway, and EastLink Trail.
In the general area between Navasota and Pedernales Streets, the Red Line Parkway itself will be rebuilt as a combination of “shared-use paths, shared quiet streets, and sidewalks,” according to the city. The currently poor state of the street surface in this area will also be addressed as part of the project. Designs for the streetscape along East Fifth Street will vary based on available space, with the narrower sections of the plan integrating “shared street” features. Here’s a look at cross-sections of the three proposed layouts for different sections of these trail improvements:
The pedestrian and bike infrastructure through this area tends to fly a little under the radar, unless you happen to use them yourself — but with the promise of Project Connect’s future improvements to Austin’s nascent rail network, now is a great time to pursue these adjacent infrastructure upgrades. The city is currently seeking public feedback on these plans, with a virtual open house now available for your perusal:
Of course, if you feel that our cursory overview of the plans for this area have informed you enough, you can always go ahead and fill out the city’s survey on the project between now and Monday, August 14. It doesn’t take long to tell the city your likes and dislikes about the design seen here, and if you’ve ever walked or biked in East Austin before — or perhaps would enjoy doing so if the infrastructure was more accommodating — we promise it’s worth five minutes of your time.