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The Downtown Austin Alliance is partnering with the Shoal Creek Conservancy and the City of Austin to enhance the area around 3rd Street and Shoal Creek.

The Cypress & Shoal Creek Public Space Strategy aims to make the area safer, more connected, and more inviting through better bikeways, new trail connections, and pedestrian plazas woven together with urban greenery. Through the Cypress & Shoal Public Space Strategy, it is possible to transform forgotten urban pockets into a beautiful, usable, breathable public realm. The name for the strategy is inspired by the historic name for Third Street, originally known as “Cypress Street.”

“The Cypress & Shoal district is a busy yet important gateway for many downtown destinations including the Central Library, a variety of retail shops, and the Butler Hike and Bike Trail. This is a great opportunity to improve safety and connectivity for everyone who lives, visits, or works in this area.”

— Dewitt Peart, President and CEO

Public Space Strategy

Final design concepts have been released following over a year of community engagement and site analysis. Informed by the active engagement of over one hundred community stakeholder groups, the plan calls for a seamless, connected network of hike and bike trails along the 11-mile Shoal Creek corridor with connections to other urban trails city-wide.

Read Public Space Strategy

Signature Projects

Based on feedback from the community, the following signature projects emerged as top priorities for the plan.

Market Plaza

This new public space, at the intersection of 3rd Street and West Avenue, transforms the pedestrian realm with shade trees, pop-up event spaces and dedicated travel ways. This new market plaza provides a critical link between the future Bowie Street Underpass and the creek. New signage and street enhancements reduce potential conflicts between people who prefer to walk, bike or drive. 

Convergence Plaza

Between the Independent and the Austin Energy substation and at the convergence of 3rd Street and the Shoal Creek Trail, this public plaza has many opportunities for pedestrian activity and enhanced multi-modal connectivity. This new public space can include public art, passive green space, dedicated bike lanes, shade, seating and native gardens with pet-friendly landscaping.

Third Street Bike-Pedestrian Bridge & Trestle

The historic trestle bridge at Third Street would be rehabilitated, and a new bike and pedestrian bridge would be added. The new extension of the creek-level path under the bridges improves connectivity, while creek restoration and the installation of native plants helps filter stormwater before it goes into the watershed.

New Shoal Creek Trail Connection at Third Street

Construct a new Shoal Creek Trail connection under the historic trestle bridge at Third Street and the new Third Street Bike-Pedestrian Bridge. In addition, add two staircases to street level for enhanced mobility and perform ongoing streambank restoration.

Margaret Moser Plaza Renovation

The reimagined plaza minimizes the presence of cars while maintaining service access. A shared street prioritizes bike and pedestrian activities while also allowing limited parking and vehicular access at low, safe speeds.

Shoal Creek Trail at Rio Grande

A cantilevered boardwalk provides generous space for cyclists, pedestrians and those wishing to sit along the creek. An expanded trail pathway that extends over the creek bed allows for minimal disruption to the existing the ecological habitat. This new public space provides a new educational opportunity for the greater community.

Next Steps

Downtown Austin Alliance will continue to partner alongside Shoal Creek Conservancy to:

  • Build awareness about Cypress & Shoal Public Space Strategy and encourage the community to become champions for the vision
  • Host activations in the area with programming and art
  • Consider partnering with neighboring businesses to create temporary plazas for outdoor events
  • Provide information and updates to community stakeholders about planned improvements
  • Place signage to educate visitors about future improvements
  • Engage downtown stakeholders, including business owners, property owners, homeowners’ associations and neighborhood associations
  • Create partnerships with citywide stakeholders, including nonprofits and community groups

Shoal Creek Conservancy

The Shoal Creek Conservancy is a proud steward of the 13-square-mile Shoal Creek watershed and works to champion the watershed in order to create a healthy and vibrant community. The Conservancy is partnering with the Downtown Alliance on this initiative.

Visit Conservancy's Project Page

Urban Greenbelt

The Shoal Creek Trail is also poised to be the western link in the Downtown Urban Greenbelt, a 6.5-mile loop formed by the Shoal Creek Trail, the Capitol Mall, Waterloo Greenway and the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. 

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