As part of its larger plan to improve trail connectivity and recreational spaces along Shoal Creek in downtown Austin and beyond, the Shoal Creek Conservancy along with the City of Austin and Downtown Austin Alliance hopes to create a new public destination in the heart of the area sometimes known as the Seaholm District, roughly centered around where West Third Street becomes a pedestrian-only path over the creek and runs parallel to the historic Third Street rail trestle.
Though surrounded by recent development like the city’s new Central Library and located at the intersection of several growing districts, the area itself is hard to define, so it’s good that the Conservancy’s working to nail down the region’s identity with the new name Cypress & Shoal Creek — of course, real Austinheads know the original name for Third Street was Cypress Street, so the project’s sort of a callback.
We’ve laid out the basics of its preliminary design by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects earlier this year, with the plan creating a series of five linked public plazas and improved trail connections providing easier access to its surrounding bits of downtown, the fixed-up Shoal Creek Trail, and the adjacent Hike-and-Bike Trail, among others. Some details of the project, such as the High Line-style renovation of the Third Street rail trestle into a public space, aren’t fully hammered out yet — but that’s why the Conservancy needs your input, with a draft copy of the plan’s public space strategy released to the public this month for feedback.
The Cypress & Shoal Creek Public Space Strategy represents an important step in implementation of the Shoal Creek Trail Plan, a community-guided vision for the future of the Shoal Creek Trail. Completed in 2018 with input from 100+ community groups, the Trail Plan calls for a seamless, connected pathway of hike-and-bike trails along the 11-mile Shoal Creek corridor and connections to other urban trails citywide. Ultimately, Shoal Creek will become part of the “Big Loop,” a 30-mile loop of trails and bikeways traversing the city. Improvements to the Cypress & Shoal Creek area emerged on the Trail Plan’s list of the top 5 stakeholder-identified priority projects.
As longtime scrollers of this site know, in many cases the input we solicit for these plans from our readers makes up a decent percentage of the overall comments they receive — not to brag, but you plugged-in folks are capable of significantly influencing this stage of the project. Do us a favor in the spirit of the holiday season and flex that awesome power by submitting your feedback before the deadline of January 31.