Austin’s great streets program has transformed second street into a prime downtown hub with wide sidewalks, rich landscaping, public art, controlled traffic, and crowded street cafes. Today, second street is a key destination for residents, tourists, and other visitors to downtown.
With the Waller Creek tunnel eliminating the flood plain on the East end of downtown, Sabine (the street between Red River and I-35) may be the next street to be transformed into a downtown destination.
According to the Statesman, the City is looking to transform Sabine “between East Fourth Street and East Seventh Street into a promenade that, according to a 2010 master plan for the Waller Creek district on downtown’s east side, “can become a catalyst for the revitalization of the area.”
Although the promenade details remain to be worked out, that master plan for Waller Creek, which meanders just east of this section of Sabine, anticipates that more than 55 feet of the street’s existing 80 feet of right of way would be given over to broad sidewalks on each side, with a double row of trees on one side and a single row on the other.
The makeover would be similar to other “great streets” designs the city has done and continues to do elsewhere downtown, but this one would be oriented even more toward those on foot and on bikes.”
Since much of Sabine Street is undeveloped — there are plenty of parking lots — the street redesign would create a foundation for developers to in the Area. The goal would be for the street work to be completed by 2014 to coincide with the completion of the Waller Creek Tunnel project. At that point, the Eastern end of downtown is likely to experience rapid and dramatic redevelopment as a large area is removed from the flood plain.