Hike and Bike Trail

Jorge Corona for KUT News

Proposed changes to Auditorium Shores – and specifically, changes to the area available to dogs and their owners – have people talking.

As part of a $3.5 million renovation, the city’s proposed moving the off-leash dog area closer to the Lady Bird Lake shoreline – and away from joggers and cyclists using the trail. And while the change would shrink the current off-leash area, it would also restrict dogs entirely from the largest portion of Auditorium Shores – the so-called “Event Lawn.” (See a map of the proposed changes in the slideshow above.)

flickr.com/leftymgp

Update: A final public meeting on proposed changes to Auditorium Shores takes place tonight. And the plans have some dog lovers howling.

With a $3.5 million donation, the city plans to realign the hike and bike trail, put in new turf grass and redesign the off-leash area for dogs – moving it along the shoreline and adding a series of “dog launches” into Lady Bird Lake, but shrinking it in the process.

The donation comes from C3 Presents, the entertainment company that puts on the ACL Music Festival and the Austin Food and Wine Festival. (Its 2012 edition of the Food and Wine Fest, held at Auditorium Shores, was marred by dust.)

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Update: Austin City Council members unanimously approved a rental registration program early this morning (Items 11, 12).

Council members were considering two different proposals. One would have required the owners of rental property in certain areas of the city to register. But the proposal the council approved will require rental properties with multiple health and safety violations to be registered – no matter where the properties are located in the city.

The program requires properties on the registration list to be periodically inspected.

flickr.com/rutlo

Update: A sprawling discussion on the Austin page of Reddit - prompted by a photo of bicyclists on I-35 - has renewed interest in this topic. Read on for more details. 

Original story (April 3, 2013): Despite general public perception – and all standards of common sense – it’s actually legal to ride bicycles on the state highway.

Recently, users on the Austin page of Reddit got into a heated discussion about the legality of riding a bike on Mopac, when one user posted a photo of a couple people doing just that.

Andrew Weber for KUT News

Austin bikers will have the trails all to themselves for a few months, at night anyway.

The city clarified today that the 24-hour hike and bike trail is only open for those on bikes, not those looking to hike, walk or jog on the Butler Trail, Johnson Creek and Shoal Creek greenbelts.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The city’s Public Works department has given a midterm progress report on the Boardwalk Trail at Lady Bird Lake. 

It’s over a mile of extensions and renovation to the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail east of Congress Avenue, including newly-created boardwalk sections that will extend over the lake on concrete piers. 

txauction.com

Tomorrow, Austin running emporium RunTex will have its assets auctioned off.

It’s the end of the road for the local store, which once counted five locations. After RunTex was evicted from its location at Riverside Drive and South First Street, county tax assessor Bruce Elfant revealed the company owed over $17,000 in back taxes.

City of Austin

Austin is steadily pedaling its way to becoming one of the bike-friendliest cities in the country.

With more than two percent overall of Austinites biking to work – and in some parts more than eight percent – the city has surpassed commuter goals set in its bike master plan. (The plan’s linked here.)

twitter.com/RunTex

RunTex is losing its prime store location on Riverside Drive and South First Street. The Austin-American Statesman reports the company is being evicted because they didn’t pay the $20,000/month rent. But there’s also the fact that the location is reportedly set to become a mixed-use development.

As far as criticism of his business decisions go, RunTex owner Paul Carrozza told KUT News he’s learned a “valuable lesson and an expensive lesson around expansion and what it takes to go from one store to five stores.”

Looking forward, Carrozza says RunTex will continue its commitment to fitness and creating a healthier Austin. He says that may mean that retail sales become less of a priority.

Dave Fehling, StateImpact Texas

New legislation that’s been introduced in Austin is supposed to help build a lot more hike and bike trails. It would do that by using those long ribbons of green space called “rights of way”, what are now used by big, utility transmission lines.

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.

Courtesy of The Trail Foundation

Officials from the City of Austin and The Trail Foundation teamed together to celebrate the official start of construction on the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk.

The festivities brought together dozens of interested spectators, plus a Popsicle vendor, a mariachi band and water cannons courtesy of the Austin Fire Department. The boardwalk will close a 1.1-mile long gap in the trail circling Lady Bird Lake.

At the event, Mayor Lee Leffingwell said the project was about more than convenience for cyclists and joggers.

City of Austin

City to Break Ground on Boardwalk

Today the City of Austin and The Trail Foundation will officially launch the Boardwalk Trail Completion Project for the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake.

The project will close a 1.1-mile gap in the trail. The boardwalk will be over land and over the lake. Construction could be done by early 2014.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell, city officials and Trail Foundation officials will take part in today's groundbreaking. The ceremony will take place at International Shores Park near the trail. The Austin Fire Department will shoot off celebratory water cannons at the park to commemorate the project’s launch.

View Suspicious Death in a larger map

One eastbound lane of W. Cesar Chavez Street  is shut down and part of the Hike and Bike Trail is closed as Austin Police investigate a suspicious death.

APD says a bicyclist called police just after 8 a.m. when he found a man lying near the trail. The man was dead in a sleeping bag with obvious trauma. Officers say he appears to have been homeless.

Senior Police Officer Veneza Bremner says it’s unclear how long the man was there but says the location is noteworthy because it’s very public area.

Photo courtesy of the Trail Foundation

The planned 1.1 mile boardwalk to be constructed over Lady Bird Lake received a $2.4 million dollar commitment today from the Trail Foundation.

The organization announced it’s almost done raising $3 million needed as part of the construction cost to build the boardwalk in one phase. The City of Austin will spend another $14.4 million in mobility bond money approved by Austin voters last year to build the boardwalk. 

Photo by Alex Walton-Keeffe http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/5341

Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of former President Lyndon Johnson who led the charge to create a hike and bike trail around a stretch of the Colorado River in Austin, took her inspiration from a stretch of the Thames Path in London, according to the wife of former Mayor Roy Butler.

Photo by Susan Rankin

A new sign that explains the history of the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail will be unveiled at 6 pm tonight as part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of an amenity that has become one of Austin’s defining features.

It’s hard to tell by looking at it now, but the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail was not much more than tall grasses, trees, shrubs, and garbage forty years ago. In 1971, Austin City Council under then-Mayor Roy Butler created the Town Lake Beautification Project.

Rendering provided by the Trail Foundation

The most popular entrance for the hike-and-bike trail at Lady Bird Lake is getting a makeover. The Johnson Creek Trailhead, underneath MoPac near Austin High School, will get a wider trail, more blocks of granite for stretching and sitting, several water fountains and a rainwater garden featuring native plants, the Trail Fo