Zilker Park Vision Plan Community Survey #4: Zones
Zilker Park Vision Plan Community Survey #4: Zones
The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan is a community-driven planning process to establish a guiding framework for the restoration and future development of Zilker Metropolitan Park. It is the first comprehensive planning initiative to encompass the park’s 350 acres and associated facilities. The vision planning process is at a critical milestone in the planning process when the host of ideas that have been contemplated will be presented for the community’s consideration as to where the plan will go.
The survey below follows Community Meeting #3 (watch meeting) and mirrors the Zilker Interactive Map website with the range of alternatives for Zilker Park. We appreciate your time and your review of the information and your feedback.
This survey is organized by park areas that correspond with the Interactive Map website:
- Park Overall
- Nature Preserve Zone
- ZBG Zone
- Great Lawn Zone
- Polo Field Zone (including Barton Springs Road)
- Barton Springs Zone
- Trailhead Zone
All questions are the same as Zilker Vision Plan Survey 4: Themes, just arranged differently.
Zilker Park Overall
The Zilker Park Vision Plan is a complicated puzzle with many pieces. Each of the pieces, or design alternatives, could be shaped in a variety of ways. Your input will drive the direction for the plan and how the puzzle ultimately comes together.
This page includes questions for overall park preferences as well as summaries of themes definitions of terms used throughout each park zone.
One idea that has been put forward in the past and may have value for Zilker Park is the idea of a Visitor Hub. Such a hub would be a major point of orientation for visitor to the park. It might contain educational or interpretive displays or be a staging area for recreational or educational programming for youth, seniors, or visitors or all ages. This could be a new structure or buidling or could be accomplished by repurposing an existing building such as the Zilker Clubhouse, Quonset Hut, Caretakers Cottage, or Girl Scout Hut.
Gateways can be valuable for orienting people to Zilker Park: What are the park activities, facilities, and expectations for visitors? They may be points for access to a park circulator system, restrooms, signage and wayfinding, and other park amenities. These gateways typically take two forms: (1) physical gateways which may contain an architectural element or formal gate, park signage, or artwork, or (2) more modest threshold which may be marked by a change in paving material or more modest demarcation. The questions below will guide the Zilker Vision team on where gateways could be and what form they could take.
Ecology and Nature
The ecology and nature of the park as it is today and what it could be serves as a foundational element of the planning process. How do we achieve greater biodiversity, better wildlife habitat, better stormwater integration, and a park that is more prepared to deal with climate change.
Ecological Uplift is the process or enhancing ecological systems ina landscape where they may not exist, are impaired, or simply can be improved. The primary plant communities and habitats found at Zilker Riparian Woodland, Upland Woodland, Savanna, and Meadow.
An ecological uplift approach in parts of the park allows us to make Zilker a part of the solution when it comes to climate change in Austin. By enhancing and restoring native plant communities, Zilker can help us adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This concept of additional restored open space provides a refuge from climate change and fits with the directive of the recently adopted climate equity plan as well as other city policies and programs.
For the questions below, please refer to the following definitions:
- Current Maintenance includes contininuing the current levels of mowing (regular, seasonal, no mowing) and ongoing care of trees with active management, which occurs mostly in mowed areas.
- More Mowed Park is the scenario where areas currently seasonally mowed increase in frequency and areas used as temporary parking are planted with turf grass and maintained regularly as turf. Active management occurs mostly in mowed areas.
- Ecological Uplift goes beyond the minimal efforts to expand the current areas and may change current function of some programming areas. More shade and stormwater management create a better user experience and increase ecological function in active park areas. Unused mowed areas are ecologically restored. Woodlands, savannas, and meadows are managed to increase their health. This scenario creates more chances to enjoy nature, increases biodiversity, reduces stormwater impacts, and addresses climate change.
- Ecological Uplift Plus prioritizes enhancing ecological systems, building further on Ecological Uplift. This scenario expands ecological restoration into some active park areas where those activities can be accommodated in other parts of the park or other parks.
Mobility, Connectivity, Transportation
The Vision Plan will address all modes of access: walking, rolling, accessibility, vehicles, public transit, and emerging options. Right now, if you’re not driving to the park, access options are fairly limited despite the park's central location. The questions below explore concepts and options for your feedback. The mobility concepts can be combined and assembled in various ways to respond to the other design concepts being considered.
Starting with active transportation – walking, biking, rolling – there are many opportunities to improve the comfort, safety, and accessibility of the existing mobility system, which is currently less than ideal in many places. Zilker Park touches two of Austin’s most revered trails: the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and the Greenbelt/Violet Crown Trails. Increasing visibility and providing intuitive access points for both is key to better integrating the park to the rest of the city.
A dedicated pedestrian network within the park will also improve safety and comfort. Concepts such as a recreational loop into the park will be explored as part of the mobility network for the future of Zilker Park.
Finally, safe crossings of Barton Springs Road will be a critical component of all active transportation concepts as well as options from the north side of Lady Bird Lake where there is a greater than 1 mile gap between the Roberta Crenshaw bridge and the Pfluger Pedestrian bridge.
Public Transportation, Drop-offs and Park Circulator
The project team is exploring the potential for additional connectivity between the Park and other parts of the city. Currently, there is only one way to get to the park today via transit, which is the 30-minute frequency Route 30 that connects to downtown and Southwest Austin. The route is mainly used to access the mall with ridership within the park being very low, even with recent promotions to increase frequency and reduce fares. Providing frequent connections between the park and the rest of the regional transit system can be an effective way of bringing people to the park.
In addition to tranportation to the mall, PARD is exploring transportation within the park through park circulator options.
Driving Network and Roadways
Today the park access and experience is shaped by the roadway network, largely servicing small parking lots scattered throughout the park, with Barton Spring Road as a major barrier dividing north and south. The Zilker Park Vision Plan is exploring opportunities to rethink which of these roadways are critical connections and ways to improve the ability to connect across the park.
Any roadway suggestion would need to be carefully coordinated with the parking strategy as most of the roadways connect to parking areas. Currently, some of these areas are also ecological concerns, such as the Polo Fields and the landfill site. For the park overall, one concept could be to consolidate parking options within the park to reduce the overall footprint of roads and parking areas, which could support ecological goals of removing impervious surface and expanding green space.
There may also be opportunities to better share parking resources. Individual parking spaces can serve multiple user types if demand is at different times of day or day of week, depending on park access demand. Immediately adjacent parking resources can be explored as parking options for Zilker Park, although any off-site parking strategy would also need to be coupled with a multi-modal circulation strategy that guarantees accessibility and functions well for park visitors.