Shoal Creek proposed changes spark concern

A proposed project to improve the Shoal Creek trail is causing some concern.

Part of the $66-million project involves widening Shoal Creek boulevard and adding a two-way bike lane at the cost of local parking in a neighborhood. The project is being spearheaded by the local nonprofit Shoal Creek Conservancy. They say the goal is to improve both the creek and the trail from Lady Bird lake to 38th street and eventually extend the trail to Walnut creek.

Those who live on Shoal Creek boulevard say change is not needed. "When you do something that's right don't try to fix it," said Reed Coke. Coke has recently moved back to the area.

Right now you can either park or bike on either side of the road.

The proposed changes mean you could no longer park on the west side where many people park already. What concerns Reed the most isn't just losing parking, it's the safety for those who ride on the trail. "Since this is such a favorite road to ride bicycles on, big bunches of them come and now they're going to have 2 little lanes up next to each other and when 2 of those big bunches hit I think that's a bad thing," said Reed.

Turns out those who ride the trail have a different concern, and it's with how things are right now.

"Congested with cars in the way, you have to dodge around them and it gets to be very frustrating," said Richard Fuller a regular cyclist on the trail. Fuller said he has to constantly enter traffic just to dodge parked cars. "(You have to) be watch full of what's on the other side of you too so it's really dangerous," said Fuller. One thing Joanna Wolaver, the executive director for the Shoal Creek Conservancy, wanted to make clear is nothing set in stone. "The plan as it's presented now is the result of a yearlong community conversation. I want to underscore that it is a draft," said Wolaver.

Wolaver said the next step in the project is to hear feedback from people like Reed so they can move forward. The city of Austin public works, which is working with the nonprofit on the project, said the city also plans to reach out to the public for feedback as well.

To learn more about the proposed changes, click here.

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