Dear Springs Defenders:
Take the Zilker Park survey: If you enjoy Barton Springs and Zilker Park, please take a few minutes to take this Austin Parks Department initial survey that kicks off the City’s “vision plan” process for Zilker Park. SOS supports restoring Zilker Park’s natural and cultural heritage, reducing pavement and commercialization, and improving public transit access to the park. PARD public engagement for the City’s “Our Parks, Our Future” Long Range Plan shows that park favorites are trails, nature, and water features. (See PDF page 16 summary of public input for the City’s parks Long Range Plan.)
However, there is tremendous pressure to further develop, commercialize and privatize our public parks, including Zilker Park. The battle over the illegal parking lot, built by ACL without PARD permission, but which remains in the park today, is just one of many issues that will be addressed in this year’s Zilker park planning process. Let your voice be heard in this initial survey and throughout the planning process. Stay tuned!
Hays Transportation Plan public comment, round two: Hays County is inviting a second round of public comment on its draft updated transportation plan, through February 7th. The largest part of the Barton Springs watershed that is neither developed nor protected is found in western Hays County. Hays residents have voted time and again for more land and water protection, while opposing new and expanded roads designed to serve more unmanaged growth that threatens the Edwards Aquifer with pollution and overpumping.
Yet the draft Hays Transportation Plan continues to call for hundreds of millions (probably billions) of taxpayer dollars to be spent on new and expanded roadway construction in the Edwards Aquifer watershed based on unfounded population growth projections. Hays County is one of the fasting growing counties in the nation. But the vast majority of that growth is taking place along and east of I-35, in the Buda/Kyle/San Marcos corridor, downstream of the recharge zone. That’s where public dollars for transportation capacity should go.
Western Hays County should be kept forever green, with public dollars invested in buying more conservation lands and easements. Roadways should be designated “conservation roads,” with a focus on safety, scenic beauty, and watershed protection, not capacity expansion. It really is cheaper to save western Hays County, than it is to pave it. It’s time to stop using our own tax dollars to further pollute and pave over critical watersheds for Barton Springs and San Marcos Springs.
You can view SOS’s detailed public comments from the first round here and here, and view the proposed county plan update and make your own comments for the second round here.
For reference, here are the short comments we entered on the current survey:
“Please do not significantly expand capacity or build new roads in western Hays County, above and upstream of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. Designate existing roads in the Edwards Aquifer watershed as "conservation roads," with safety, scenic beauty, and water protection as the priority. Buy more conservation lands and easements to minimize growth, keeping western Hays County forever green. Expand transportation capacity downstream of the recharge zone, along and east of I-35, in the Buda/Kyle/San Marcos corridor, where most of Hays County growth is going and where transportation investments are needed most.”