waller creek

Waller Creek Tunnel
1:47 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Once Neglected, Waller Creek Will Now Remake Downtown Austin (VIDEO)

Developers have tried to capitalize on the parts of Waller Creek stretching through Downtown – with mixed results. But a tunnel project is pulling the area out of the floodplain, radically remaking the urban creek.

From StateImpact Texas:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Waterloo Park, just east of the State Capitol, is a perfect example. There used to be houses there. But then in the 1970s, recalls former city council staffer and Waller Creek Conservancy executive director Stephanie Lee McDonald, “there was a lot of urban renewal efforts and the neighborhood was razed and the park was created.”

According to newspaper articles at the time, there were big redevelopment plans for the area, which sits along Waller Creek. There were even hopes that the space could become Austin’s very own version of the famed San Antonio River Walk. Of course, things didn’t really work out that way.

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5:05 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Waller Creek, I-35, and a Council Session That Could Transform Austin

The city has set plans in motion with far-reaching ramifications.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The Austin City Council is getting ready for summer recess, but before members take off they’ve been approving projects that eventually could drastically change the look and feel of the city. Thursday’s session may not have seemed like a game-changer, but it has huge implications for the future.

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1:56 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Council Approves Ambitious Park Plan for Waller Creek

As reported earlier this month, the Austin City Council got a look at the final version of a plan to redevelop the land along Waller Creek into a chain of parks.

They liked what they saw: Today, the council unanimously voted to approve the design plan developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with little argument.

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5:09 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

City Council Takes a Look at Waller Creek Revamp

Courtesy of the City of Austin and Michael Van Valkenburgh

The Austin City Council got a look at the final version of a plan to redevelop the land along Waller Creek into a chain of three parks at its Thursday meeting.

The multi-million dollar public-private partnership, designed by architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, includes hike and bike trails, playgrounds, a pavilion for hosting live music and theater events and even a pontoon bridge that could connect the north and south shores of Lady Bird Lake.

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Waller Creek
4:40 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Photos: Waller Creek Tunnel Project at Waterloo Park

The tunnel will feature a 30 foot deep pool to serve as a "shock absorber" for floodwaters.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

City officials say they're making progress on the Waller Creek Tunnel Project.

Construction crews at Waterloo Park have wrapped up excavating the tunnel and are moving on to building a treatment plant that will help filter floodwaters.

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10:22 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Eww... There's Too Much Fecal Bacteria in Four Austin Creeks

A storm drain empties into Waller Creek.
City of Austin Watershed Protection Department

The City of Austin and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are asking the public to come out tonight to be involved in finding solutions for cleaning up four Austin streams.

Walnut Creek, Waller Creek, Taylor Slough and the Spicewood Tributary of Shoal Creek all exceed the acceptable standard for E. Coli. The high levels of fecal bacteria make the streams potentially unsafe for people to get in the water.

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Waller Creek
4:44 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Video: Inside Downtown Austin’s Waller Creek Tunnel

City staffers lead media on a tour through the Waller Creek tunnel this May.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

In May, the City of Austin invited members of the news media into the Waller Creek tunnel.

Meeting at the construction site at Fourth Street and I-35, reporters traveled down a 26-foot wide shaft, in a metal box lowered by a construction crane. At the time, some 1,300 feet had been excavated. When we checked back in in September, over 3,200 square feet had been excavated.

Above ground, the tunnel is designed to keep flood-prone Waller Creek in its banks. And just what to do with the acres of land pulled out of the flood plain is a hot topic: in October, a design team was named to plot the transformation of the Waller Creek area.

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The Lead
8:46 am
Tue November 27, 2012

The Lead: Austin Dreams of a Subway, Legislature Gears Up

Good morning. After yesterday’s warm weather, Austin’s facing much chillier temperatures today with regional highs in the 60s. Here’s some stories KUT News has been working on:

“The Waller Creek tunnel project downtown is digging up an old question: Why not a subway for Austin? That thought was on the top of Downtown Commissioner Jude Galligan’s mind after he saw the inside of the tunnel.

‘During the tour, I overheard discussions of people saying, why don’t we have subways in Austin?’ Galligan told me. ‘For a lot of us who have been following transportation, that’s a decade or two decade old discussion of why don’t we. Well, we don’t, because everybody believes it’s prohibitively expensive.’ But Galligan isn’t convinced by that argument. “

“By law, Texas lawmakers can’t increase state spending by more than the rate of increase of personal income. A couple of weeks ago the Legislative Budget Board set that rate at 10.7 percent, or about $7.5 billion more than the present budget. But immediately Republicans on the board, led by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, said they would use a different standard to cap state spending – which won’t account for the cuts made last legislative session.”

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Waller Creek
11:11 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Waller Creek Design Winner Named; Plans to Turn Area Into 'Chain of Parks'

“The Poppy” at Waterloo Park, proposed by the winning Waller Creek design team, can hold some 1,000 people under its folds.

A winner has been named in the Waller Creek design competition.

The team of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and Thomas Phifer & Partners was named by the Waller Creek Conservancy and approved by the Austin City Council this morning.

As KUT News reported in our live blog of presentations from the Waller Creek design finalists, the team envisions Waller Creek as a chain of parks. They propose blowing out the concrete structure supporting Interstate 35 from Fourth to Sixth Street to allow more East-West connectivity.

“If I lived in East Austin I’d be mad as hell about that highway,” Valkenburgh told KUT News. “We’ve taken very seriously this notion of blowing out this section between Fourth and Sixth street, cutting out all the underneath and liberating Fifth Street as a new aperture, but also to redesign Waller so it’s accessible and friendly from the east.”

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Waller Creek
4:01 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Waller Creek Teams Design the Future of Downtown Austin

Designs from the four teams vying to remake Waller Creek.

Update: The final four design teams in the Waller Creek design competition  presented their plans to a packed house in City Hall today. Our live-blog is over; read below for details and images from the presentation.

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Bond Election
4:07 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

City Bond Proposals Pared Down Again - This Time, to $400 Million

In black and white: The latest bond proposal reduces spending to $400 million.
Photo by Wells Dunbar for KUT News

The Bond Election Advisory Task Force has continued to refine a potential bond package to send to Austin voters this November.

The latest iteration of the proposals comes in at $400 million. That's down from an initial $1.5 billion department-wide “needs assessment,” then packages valued at $650 million and $575 million. The Austin City Council will eventually choose the projects that make it to voters.

Funds are organized under the following categories: affordable housing, city facilities, community-based projects, parks and open spaces, and transportation and mobility. 

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Waller Creek
10:35 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Photos: Inside the Waller Creek Tunnel

A construction worker surveys progress of the Waller Creek tunnel project.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

On Saturday, members of the media were invited to check progress on the Waller Creek tunnel, currently being burrowed some 70 feet underground.

When finished, the tunnel will stretch just over a mile from Waterloo Park to an outlet at Lady Bird Lake. The tunnel will create a steady flow for Waller Creek, and inlets along the creek will prevent water from overflowing, pulling 1 million square feet of developable land out of the 100-year floodplain downtown.

A design competition plotting the future of the Waller Creek area is unfolding alongside the tunnel excavation.

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11:17 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Meet the Teams Re-Envisioning Waller Creek Tonight

One of the spaces along Waller Creek today.
Image courtesy flickr.com/ginapina

A design competition is underway to determine the future of Waller Creek, which winds through the eastern half of Downtown. And tonight, the four teams competing to lead the development of the creek and its immediate surrounds are holding an open house.

A little background: Waller Creek has received sporadic attention over the years, but with the advent of the city’s Waller Creek tunnel project, the flood-prone waterway should finally have a steady flow.  

The project will also pull some 28 acres out of the 100-year floodplain downtown, creating a massive redevelopment opportunity the Waller Creek Conservancy hopes the four design teams will help steer.  

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4:27 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Anchors Aweigh: New Waller Boathouse Opens

Preparations being made before the Waller Boathouse's opening today.
Photo courtesy facebook.com/WallerCreekBoathouse

The city’s nascent plans for re-envisioning Waller Creek took another step forward today, in the form of a new, $3.4 million boathouse on the north side of Lady Bird Lake.

In March of this year, city officials authorized Austin Rowing Club to operate the facility. Boat storage and office areas of the new boathouse will be reserved for the ARC, but according to KXAN , “builders say it is designed to be accessible to the public, with a scenic observation deck, vending area, and public restroom.”

The 10,800 square foot, two-story boathouse was built new, in part, because previous facilities had to gain way for construction of the Waller Creek tunnel.

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4:00 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Making the Pitch for Waller Creek

A portion of existing Waller Creek development, near Sixth Street.
Photo courtesy Larry Miller, flickr.com/drmillerlg

Could Waller Creek – currently a flood-prone, trash-strewn downtown creek – ultimately stand along New York’s High Line Park and Chicago’s Millennium Park as a premier urban space?

That was one of the rosy assessments the Real Estate Council of Austin shared at a lunchtime talk about the future of the Waller Creek, and its potential as a central riverwalk-style district.

Plans for redeveloping Waller Creek have lurched along with little success dating back to the 1970s. Things began falling into place in 2007, when the city and the county developed a financing agreement to pay for the tunnel that would create a steady flow, and preventing flooding.

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1:03 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

What to Do With Waller Creek?

Slated for redevelopment, Waller Creek is expected to transform from trashy to classy.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/baggis

The future of Waller Creek – if not downtown in general – is being drafted in a design competition.

Waller Creek, winding through the Eastern portion of downtown Austin, has received sporadic attention and investment over the years. The creek is prone to flooding during heavy rains, which has occasionally claimed the lives of homeless citizens sleeping along its sparsely-traveled banks.

Efforts to address Waller Creek received a boost in in 2006, when the city partnered with the county to fund a tunneling project. Currently underway in Waterloo Park, the tunnel will create a steady flow in the creek and pull nearby land out of the floodplain. But while engineering and construction of the tunnel continues, the city is facilitating a design competition to determine the function and aesthetics of the downtown areas along the creek.  

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parks and recreation
4:01 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Waterloo Park to Close Until 2015

You can say goodbye to one of Austin’s largest downtown parks for a while. Waterloo Park is closing November 1, and won’t reopen until the fall of 2015.  It’s all for a construction project that will keep Waller Creek running at a constant level year ‘round.

The Waller Creek project is part of a plan to develop a San Antonio-style river walk downtown between I-35 and Red River Streets. You can learn more about that project by checking out the Waller Creek Master Plan.

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