The Red Line Parkway is a 32-mile trail and transit corridor that will serve Central Texas mobility, recreation, economic, parks, arts, affordability, physical & mental health, and public space needs. It is poised to become an iconic & welcoming Austin destination, creating the backbone of a metro-wide urban trail network connecting Austin’s urban centers. The Red Line Parkway Initiative will ensure successful planning, implementation, and activation of the parkway through coordination of stakeholders & experts, facilitating a strong parkway culture, and hosting events along the corridor.
About the Initiative
The Red Line Parkway Initiative (RLPI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2017 that empowers diverse communities to enjoy, develop, and enhance the Red Line Trail and Parkway corridor to serve Central Texas mobility, recreation, parks, arts, affordability, social equity, physical & mental health, public space, and economic needs.
The Red Line Parkway is a proposed linear park and public space along the planned Red Line Trail, extending 32 miles from Downtown Austin to Leander. Our vision is a thriving, inclusive, multi-functional parkway that provides convenient, enjoyable, car-free access to transit, parks, public art, and other urban, suburban, and rural destinations.
Donations made to RLPI are tax deductible as charitable contributions.
The Red Line Parkway is a proposed linear park and public space along the planned Red Line Trail, extending 32 miles from Downtown Austin to Leander. The 12-mile urban component of the Red Line Trail follows (from south to north) the Capital Metro Red Line from Downtown Austin, to Boggy Creek in East Austin, to Highland, to Crestview, and to the intersection of the North MoPac Trail and the Northern Walnut Creek Trail in North Austin. About half of the 32-mile trail is identified as a top priority (Tier I) trail in the City of Austin Urban Trails Master Plan (UTMP). Currently about 10-20% is completed or funded: Walnut Creek to Braker Lane, adjacent to Highland Mall, Boggy Creek Trail (part of EastLink Trail), and the Crosstown Bikeway (Lance Armstrong Bikeway). Community interest in a trail along the Red Line dates back at least to 2004, when voters approved the MetroRail proposal after a campaign that raised the possibility of a trail along the rail line.
Our Initial Vision
Our vision for the Red Line Trail includes a paved surface, separate parallel trails for bicycling and pedestrian access where feasible, complete grade-separation from motorized street traffic (bridges and tunnels at streets), and gentle inclines of 1-3% grade. Tributary connections will provide additional access to the Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake, Shoal Creek, Waller Creek (both downtown and near Highland Mall), the Northern and Southern Walnut Creek Trails (eventually creating a continuous 30-mile trail loop), Mueller, The Domain, Wells Branch, and UT Austin. The Red Line Trail will enhance existing trail assets, creating a central part of a continuous 200-mile trail network. Since the trail serves Central Austin, it will connect its population center to all existing and future trails extending into South Austin, suburban, and rural areas. Implementation of the Red Line Trail will raise the bar and build demand to increase investment in protected bike lanes, sidewalks, and active transportation accommodations in Austin.
How the trail can fit
within constrained urban space
The existing MetroRail right-of-way provides enough width for both a double-track rail line and for the trail in all or nearly all of the corridor. Adjacent commercial sites, brownfield sites, other transportation rights-of-way, and other parcels offer opportunities for creating wider trail corridor segments.
We have developed several demonstrative cross-sections showing how the trail can fit within the corridor. These are based on varied conversations with industry experts and initial conversations with local government stakeholders. Further research, planning, engineering, outreach, and conversation will be conducted to determine more refined parkway corridor cross sections.