City looks for best way to connect Violet Crown Trail to Oak Hill

August 2, 2014   // 3 Comments

VCTweb

by Bobbie Jean Sawyer

The City of Austin Urban Trails Program is seeking public feedback on a portion of the Violet Crown Trail stretching from Sunset Valley to William Cannon. An open house on the multipurpose urban trail was held Wednesday at the Hampton Branch Library.

Nadia Barrera, the Urban Trails program manager, said there are currently four options for the Oak Hill section of the trail, two of which require passing through private property and will be dependent on permission from the property owners before they may be presented.

“We’re looking at both sides of the creek—Williamson Creek—to get to Brush Country. We’re looking at an alignment that goes along Mopac and we’re looking at another alignment that may or may not start behind private property,” Barrera said. “There may be some—by the time that the open house happens in a week and a half—that might not be viable due to private property concerns.”

Barrera said one option is to build on city parkland.

“We’d have to meet all the existing codes and standards but it’s a viable option because we own it,” Barrera said. “We can build on our property.”

Barrera said the purpose of the open house was to learn what residents want from the trail, and how the trail would be used by locals.

“We would be using bond funding and grant funding to build this trail and we recognize that it’s an investment,” Barrera said. “We want it to be the best project it can be. We want people to be happy with it and we want people to use it.”

The Violet Crown Trail was originally developed by the Hill Country Conservancy, an organization dedicated to preserving nature in central Texas. The trail system, originally called the “Walk for a Day” trail, is planned to begin at the Barton Springs Pool and eventually stretch all the way into Hays County.

Barrera said the environmental concerns in the south Austin region require

special concern.

“We recognize that it’s a sensitive environmental area and we have to be cognizant of that—there are flood plain issues and there are actually caves there that we need to protect,” Barrera said. “There’s a lot of different elements that we’re considering in the design.”

Barrera said urban trails help the city meet the goals set in the Imagine Austin plan, such as developing a compact and connected city, advocating for healthy activities among citizens and cutting down on vehicular travel in favor of biking and walking to public transit stops.

“We recognize that if you can use a bicycle or walk to a transit stop then you’re saving money for other things like housing or food,” Barrera said.

Simply interacting with nature, which urban trails help promote, will help Austin citizens decrease stress, Barrera said.

“We all live very stressful lives. We’re stuck in a box all day looking at a screen,” Barrera said. “Being able to ride or walk as your form of transportation really does help to get into nature and separate from the daily grind.”

Rick Perkins, a member of the Oak Hill Trails Association, said if the trail is completed from Brodie Lane to Brush Country it will provide Oak Hill hikers and bikers a safer and more connected mode of travel.

“The (Oak Hill Trails Association) is most interested in part of the Violet Crown Trail to be on Williamson Creek, because that will start the connection for that trail that has been approved in the past,” Perkins said. “If the section from Brodie to Brush Country is built then everyone will be able to run, bike and hike safely without the risk of automobile interaction.”


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3 COMMENTS

  1. By Katy Roper, August 20, 2014

    The “trail” being proposed from Brodie to Brush Country would be a 12 foot wide concrete bikeway, with a minimum of 2 foot shoulders. It would pass within 20 yards of some greenbelt homes. It would add about 90,000 feet of impervious ground cover to the floodplain. This is in an area that flooded in mid October and required evacuations in Sunset Valley in the middle of the night. A final plan for the Violet Crown Trail was approved by City Council in 2010 that did not have these environmental and neighborhood concerns. Those of us who live along Williamson Creek are very concerned about the plans to build the trail along Williamson Creek.

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  2. By S. Green, August 22, 2014

    I don’t believe anyone is against an urban bicycle route. However, I and most of my neighbors oppose the proposed Option 1. The greenbelt between Williamson Creek and the homes is very limited and prone to flooding. We do not want to hear construction equipment disruption in our backyards – beeping, scraping, grading, concrete trucks, etc. A trail behind our homes would cause constant disruption from dawn to dusk – dogs barking nonstop and people hollering at each other while running/biking; the presence of strangers around all the time; the hard surface material would heat-up the area, stressing the trees and greenery; and we are further concerned about fire hazards, crime, homeless intrusion, dog poo/people relieving themselves; trash, etc.

    We urge our Oak Hill neighbors to support a route other than the intrusive Option 1. The Violet Crown Trail is a means to get from one place to another; other option routes are much more efficient.

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  3. By Christopher C, August 24, 2014

    I would think a hidden trail off of a roadway would not only invite illegal activity, but provide perfect access in and out of the neighborhood minimizing the fear of getting caught. A roadway for crime. If this proposed “trail” goes through will there be any police presence? Will there be quick access for emergency vehicles without having to go up and down down a one way street? Will they provide a nice safe gated community to ensure no additional parking clogs up the already busy roads? Who will be liable for personal injuries, decreased property values, cleaning up the beer cans, increased criminal activity, relocating the wildlife, six-foot privacy fences for those who had no need for them in the past? Going along Williamson Creek would be huge never ending expense to not only maintain, but because lack of safety, and civil action suits because of property value losses.

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