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Council considers directive for Red Line Parkway

Thursday, November 14, 2019 by Jo Clifton

Council seems likely to approve an item on today’s agenda directing City Manager Spencer Cronk to explore what types of agreements the city might enter into to spur development of the long-sought Red Line Parkway Initiative. Council Member Leslie Pool is the lead sponsor of the item. The Red Line trail is envisioned as a 32-mile stretch of hiking and biking trails, with adjacent parks, stretching the length of Capital Metro’s Red Line from downtown to the northern city limits. The Red Line goes into East Austin and turns north to near Mueller, past Highland and Crestview neighborhoods to near the Domain and finally to Cedar Park and Leander. Tom Wald, executive director of the Red Line Parkway Initiative, told the Austin Monitor the new trails would go through parts of the city where there’s “not very good walking and biking connectivity,” including “at least two major areas where there are parkland deficits. This would ameliorate the problem.” He estimated the cost for the entire project – which is to be done in phases – would be $100 million to $200 million. Wald said the parkway project already has some funding from the 2016 bond election, including money for the segment from Braker Lane to the northern Walnut Creek Trail where it meets MoPac Expressway. In addition, there are other segments that have their own funding, including the trail near Plaza Saltillo, which would run from Interstate 35 to Comal Street. That portion is being funded by Endeavor. Supporters of the Red Line Parkway Initiative are planning a launch party Nov. 21 at the Palm Door on Sabine.

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