TX: Urban Trail along MetroRail Red Line Opens

The evolution of Capital Metro’s commitment to a walkable, bicycle-friendly, connected region continued today as the urban trail connecting Crestview and Highland stations officially opened. The trail, created in conjunction with the city of Austin, connects transit hubs, businesses and the forthcoming Austin Community College Highland Campus.

“The new trail connects bicyclists and pedestrians to two rail stations and several bus routes, as well as the future ACC campus at Highland Mall and adjacent neighborhoods,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “Providing pedestrians and bicyclists with safe pathways is a key component in a comprehensive regional transportation network.”

The mile long trail features a shaded, 10-foot wide concrete path designed for use by both bicyclists and pedestrians. The trail is located within the City of Austin’s right-of-way along Airport Boulevard, adjacent to the MetroRail Red Line.

“This project represents an important step toward realizing the community’s vision for a revitalized Airport Blvd.,” Austin City Councilman Chris Riley said. “By providing appealing connections like this one, Capital Metro is fulfilling its mission of providing high quality and sustainable transportation choices, and helping demonstrate how our corridors can contribute to the quality of life in our city.”

The urban trail is landscaped with drought-resistant plants, including 144 understory trees donated by Austin Energy through its Heat Radiation Abatement Program. Once established, the trees will provide shade and also serve as a physical barrier between the trail and the vehicular traffic on busy Airport Boulevard.

The urban trail connects to the city’s existing on-street bicycle route network, and additional bike amenities are on the way at Highland Station. A MetroBike Shelter, a secure bicycle parking facility, will be built at Highland Station next to the trail later in 2013.

Per agreement with the city of Austin, Capital Metro will maintain the trail for the first year, at which time maintenance of the trail will be turned over to the city.

Smith Construction completed the trail on time and on budget after being awarded a $787,386 construction contract by the Capital Metro board of directors in December. A federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act grant funded construction of the trail.

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