The Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk opened June 7. The 1.3 mile boardwalk completes a 10-mile loop of trail around the lake.

While a boon to runner and cyclists, the new boardwalk also lets users view downtown Austin from a fresh vantage point. Many in Austin have already utilized the boardwalk to capture new perspectives of the city after this weekend’s grand opening.

Mose Buchele/KUT

It's a safe bet that the new boardwalk opening along Austin's Lady Bird Lake will attract throngs of people. It’s a sleek, modern, structure. At about 14 feet wide and around a mile long, it provides plenty of space for joggers, cyclists, and people who want to take in a view of the city.

But if those people walk east, intent on realizing the boardwalk's promise of closing the loop of trails around the lake, they will find themselves at the Pleasant Valley Bridge over the Longhorn Dam– a river crossing that is neither sleek nor modern.

For years city officials have considered it potentially unsafe, and worry it could become more so with added foot traffic from the boardwalk. So far efforts to improve the crossing have failed. 

Mose Buchele/KUT / KUT

The Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk is set to open to the public on June 7.

The 1.3 mile boardwalk will complete a ten-mile loop of trail around the lake. Howard Lazarus with Austin’s Public Works Department says the boardwalk will play a key role in expanding biking and pedestrian options throughout the region.

Image courtesy courtesy of the Trail Foundation,

The City of Austin will host a walking tour of the south shore of Lady Bird Lake tomorrow to get public input on future development along the shore from Auditorium Shores to the area near I-35. The tour of the roughly 100-acre strip is open to the public and will feature a dozen experts on development, cultural and environmental issues that could arise over the next 20 to 30 years of development.

Alan Holt, a planner with the Planning and Development Review Department, says the tour will begin a long process of public outreach as the area develops, but that it will also highlight connectivity issues that won't necessarily be mitigated by the boardwalk project, which is nearing completion. 

"Right now, if you would walk down to the shore, or to the lake or to the boardwalk, you have to hop fences to get into gated communities to do that, or walk through acres and acres of parking lots," Holt says. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Two separate projects on Lady Bird Lake may temporarily get in the way of folks using part of the hike and bike trail.

The city is getting ready to begin work along the Shoal Creek peninsula near the Seaholm Power Plant. Construction begins soon, and is expected to last six months. Portions of the hike and bike trail near the peninsula and the parking lot west of Shoal Creek and South of Cesar Chavez will be closed and those using the trail will be detoured to Cesar Chavez.