Zilker Park plan brings worries over parking, ecology, athletic fields
, 2022-12-12 00:04:55,
Concerns about athletic fields, ecological impacts, and plans for major accessibility and transportation infrastructure were among the issues discussed during a recent feedback session with planners working on the future of Zilker Park.
Last month the city unveiled its draft vision plan for the 351-acre park, with stated goals including improving and rehabilitating areas of environmental distress as well as making the city’s major metropolitan park more welcoming and open to visitors from throughout the area.
Last week there were two input sessions on the plan, with an online virtual forum followed by an in-person information and roundtable event.
After the draft plan was revealed there was substantial discussion and criticism on social media sites about aspects of the plan, which is still in the early conceptual phase and will be revised based on community discussion. Some of the most pointed concerns focused on three proposed parking decks that would be located on the perimeter of the park, with substantial underground parking included.
Forum organizers and presenters noted during the talk that the 2,500 proposed spaces is roughly equal to the current formal and informal parking on-site, and that the parking structures could reduce the footprint of current parking needs while bringing up to eight acres of land back into use for parkland.
Claire Hempel, principal with consulting firm Design Workshop, said the reconfigured parking and eventual construction of transit routes around the park would better serve visitors who don’t live within the Zilker neighborhood.
“It is critical to serve people driving to the park, to serve the entire community of Austin, spanning from far Northeast Austin in Williamson County in some parts down to District 8 where you’re in Hayes County, so we need to have parking solutions at least until frequent realistic transportation options can catch up to the plan.”
Responding to a question about the possible use of nearby private parking, she said there are complications that make those options difficult to manage.
“We started off mapping out all of the existing parking, at least…
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