[youtube = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCtZ0N_W8wc]
With 50+ people in attendance, Saturday’s Waller Creek Bike Ride was successful at bringing people together to envision a future for Waller Creek. We gathered at the Mexican American Cultural Center, which is just a few hundred feet from the southern outlet of Waller Creek. From there we rode on along the hike and bike trail before entering what is properly known as the Waller Creek Greenbelt.
Click here to view the photostream from the tour
We stopped at several points along the way. There is a large gap in the trail at Cesar Chavez where the flooding and runoff have destroyed the path. As you ride back up behind Iron Works you can briefly reconnect by crossing Red River. At 5th and Sabine we stopped and gathered to listen to a vision for creating a promenade – pedestrian and bicycle only – along the narrow and sparsely traveled Sabine Street between 4th and 7th Streets. An interesting idea that can leverage the already wide sidewalks along Sabine Street.
[youtube = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vqm4otX8FE]
Pushing on we were able to reconnect with the creek bank between 6th and 7th Streets, below Texas Picnic Company. This is a notorious gateway for vagrancy and criminal activity, so it was no surprise that as our group pulled up we were greeted by five APD cars investigating something. Down into the creek, we begin to see the wonderful limestone creek bed. It’s beauty is ironically created from centuries of violent flooding.
As we rode past the Police Headquarters, gathered behind the Waller Creek Building, then continued to ride through Symphony Square and into Waterloo Park it became salient just how much property the city owns along Waller Creek. Once we arrived at Waterloo Park we had a Q&A. As it turns out there was someone from the State of Texas who joined the ride and commented that the State is very interested in working on solutions to improve Waterloo park by addressing the problems of unfriendly parking garages along San Jacinto. Having only heard that there has been no outreach, to or from the State, I took this as a very positive declaration.
[youtube = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ez0RpsqR4c]
The Waller Creek Tunnel Project, simply the infrastructure that will enable and entitle district improvements, stops at Waterloo Park near 12th Street. We continued to follow the path of the creek north bound past 15th Street and behind the UT Tennis courts. We ultimately stopped at Crown & Anchor where everyone was able chat over beers and burgers.
This was a unique experience and an opportunity to hear the whispers, subtle conversation, and sharing of opinions on how to utilize Waller Creek once the tunnel is complete. Jeb Boyt, Shawn Shillington, Jana McCann, Rachel Proctor May, and Councilmember Chris Riley provided great information and a fun time.