Dreaming Big With Lady Bird

Team's preliminary recommendations for Lady Bird Lake's south shore

The design team has a few other ideas for this plot of land owned by the Statesman.
The design team has a few other ideas for this plot of land owned by the Statesman. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

An eight-member sustainable design assessment team released its preliminary recommendations for the Lady Bird Lake Special Waterfront Project on Wednesday night. While their full report isn't expected until later this year, the early word emphasizes a pedestrian-friendly lakefront with an eye toward more housing and stronger transportation.

The team, which comprises eight experts hailing from Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia; Seattle; and Northampton, Mass., spent three days earlier this week investigating the strengths and weaknesses of Lady Bird Lake's South Shore Central – between Travis Heights and Auditorium Shores. They presented their findings Wednesday night.

According to the team, some of the weak spots in the current scene include unfriendly streetscapes, limited access to the lake, and wasted land opportunities, but the proximity to Downtown and Austin's creative and diverse community intrigued them.

Their biggest qualm was clear: "A Code is not a Vision," reads line under the PowerPoint slide featuring the Waterfront Overlay District section of the Austin City Code.

In their vision, the area along the south shore would include a "sustainable solar farm," "dancing in the parking lots," repurposing the Austin American-Statesman's expansive plot of land to host a hotel, and a transportation system that includes streetcars, with Congress Avenue operating as that network's "spine."

A full, written report is expected from the team later this year, but to learn more about the initial proposals – including the simple eight-step program to make it all a reality – you can read the team's 95-page PowerPoint presentation here. Like what you see? Hate it? Submit your own ideas at SpeakUpAustin!.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More waterfront overlay
City Council Notebook
City Council Notebook
For the Thursday, Nov. 29, council meeting

Wells Dunbar, Nov. 28, 2007

More by Monica Riese
A Paramount Slate
A Paramount Slate
Paramount and Stateside programming heats up

April 3, 2014

Board Games and More
Board Games and More
Announcements from the Austin Film Society

April 2, 2014


waterfront overlay, Lady Bird Lake, south shore, SoCo, Downtown, hike and bike trail, Statesman, Austin American-Statesman

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle