If you’ve hoofed or pedaled around the section of Hike-and-Bike Trail surrounding Lady Bird Lake east of Interstate 35, it’s no shock to you that the area has some issues, namely the “bottleneck” of poor connectivity along Longhorn Dam at the eastern edge of the lake.
As part of a larger assortment of improvements in the planning stages at the Holly Shores / Festival Beach region east of the highway, we’ve seen concepts for a pedestrian bridge across this part of the lake proposed for several years now. We even mocked it up earlier this year:
The bridge would stretch from north to south, from the Holly Shores area near the decommissioned power plant site, to the peninsula at what’s known as Peace Point in the Lakeshore district — basically on the front porch of the new Oracle campus, which we’ve argued before is likely going to have…well, let’s call it a catalytic effect on the development of the area near East Riverside Drive and Pleasant Valley Boulevard.
Late last year, we heard about some feasibility studies taking a look at the possibility of a bridge in this area, and whaddaya know, the City of Austin is now “currently identifying needs and issues for the construction of a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing Lady Bird Lake near Longhorn Dam,” with the first public engagement meeting scheduled for tonight at Fiesta Gardens from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
There aren’t any documents online yet for this particular item, so we can’t know until the meeting if this version of the bridge is still planned to cross the lake at the same spot as we’ve seen in earlier designs. Anyway, we’re really hoping it reflects these previous plans for the Holly Shores area, since a bridge there could eventually create a connected district from the Rainey Street area all the way across the lake to the Oracle campus and beyond.
Then again, this spot might not be close enough to the dam for trail connectivity purposes, so the Peace Point / Holly Shores bridge could even be a completely separate thing from this project — which potentially might even follow the path of the dam itself on one side, depending on what they end up building.
Might not wanna hold your breath either way, though — the event description for this first engagement meeting mentions potential interim improvements for the crossing at Longhorn Dam, meaning we could be waiting a while for this new bridge to materialize. Hey, at least we’re talking about it!
UPDATE: Here’s the Austin Monitor with a follow-up. Looks like the Peace Point bridge will have to wait.