From the City of Austin website: In February 2009, the City authorized the Roma Design Group to begin the Waller Creek District Master Plan. Over the next 10 months, ROMA will work to identify a community vision for the area, identify opportunities and challenges, and recommend ways to make the vision become a reality. Currently much of the land near Waller Creek cannot be developed because it is in the creek’s 100-year floodplain.
Yesterday’s town hall at the convention center to discuss Waller Creek District Master Plan was the largest turnout I’ve seen for Waller Creek. The large audience seemed to collectively understand the need for change. ROMA design group shared a draft vision for the district’s potential. A couple of things become salient yesterday. This will not become Riverwalk “2”. Development will happen to pay for the tunnel and also to encourage the creek’s use. Development recommendations should not be uniform along the creek as different sections offer unique settings.
Segments of Waller Creek:
- North bank to Cesar Chavez
- Cesar Chavez to 5th Street
- 5th Street to 7th Street
- 7th Street to 11th Street
- 11th Street to 15th Street
This is good. As an example of the necessity for different sections, compare the North bank to Cesar Chavez with 5th Street to 7th Street. The latter has a beautiful natural limestone bed (in most parts) but is narrowly channeled. The former has more rough terrain and dangerous erosion along the banks. Breaking up the creek into different sections allows for more focused discussion on highest and best use.
As one of the ROMA representatives said, I’m paraphrasing, “Waller Creek is the most significant urban planning endeavor of our generation”. Amongst a myriad of other benefits, this the Waller Creek Districrt has the opportunity to bridge East Austin with downtown, to fundamentally improve Waterloo park and Palm park, and to provide a green setting which to traverse downtown north-south and connect with Lady Bird Lake trails.