Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Mud, gravel cover parts of new Southern Walnut Creek Trail

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published July 22, 2014

That beautiful new bike trail I wrote about in Monday’s paper? Parts of it are now slathered in gravel and mud, thanks to recent heavy rains.

“We went on Saturday and were horrified to see the damage after the rains,” emailed Tela Mange. “Parts of the trail are subject evidently to flash flooding.”

A downed tree blocked one section, and a quarter mile stretch of the path remained under water two days after the rains. Mud and rocks were strewn over other areas, photos showed.

City crews are aware of the situation and it should be cleared in the next few days, said Nadia Barrera, urban trails program manager for the city of Austin.

She notes that parts of the trail aren’t yet complete. The city is currently responsible for maintaining the southern half of the trail (below the golf course), but the contractor is still responsible for the northern part. When construction is officially finished, the city’s Street and Bridge Division will maintain the entire trail.

Barrera said she will meet with Street and Bridge officials this week to discuss a proactive maintenance plan that will include regular trimming of the vegetation along the route. “It sounds like there are drainage issues that need to be reassessed, too,” she said.

On a related note, Barrera said she has received complaints about conflicts between cyclists and runners using the trail. The trail is a shared use hike-and-bike trail that is open to pedestrians as well as cyclists. That means we all need to work together to stay safe out there.

Some tips? Cyclists, call out or ring a bike bell when you’re approaching pedestrians. Pedestrians, stay alert and walk on the right side of the trail. If you’re going to listen to music, please make sure you can hear other approaching trail users.

Barrera said a trail runner using the trail last weekend was clipped by a passing cyclist.