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11 major changes in Zilker Park’s new master plan

Expect new walking trails, added amenities, and a land bridge across Barton Springs Road.

A rendering of the new Zilker Park land bridge

The plan proposes a land bridge over Barton Springs Road.

Rendering via the City of Austin’s Zilker Park Vision Plan Draft Document

Austin’s signature park is about to see some major changes.

The draft Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan was released last week. This effort to restore, upgrade, and maintain Zilker is the first-ever comprehensive update to the 351-acre park.

In addition to upgrading some of the park’s most well-loved amenities, the plan is meant to guide care and development of the park for years to come. So, let’s dig into it.

New amenities

The plan was developed with five guiding principles: sustainability, diversity and inclusion, nature and ecology, history and culture, and accessibility. The biggest additions include:

  • A land bridge crossing over Barton Springs Road, joining the north and south sides of the park
  • A Zilker Hillside Theater, integrated with the new land bridge
  • A new pedestrian and bike bridge across Lady Bird Lake
  • A new picnic area near the Great Lawn with bathrooms and concession
  • A new welcome plaza, repurposing the current caretaker’s cottage on the south side of the park
A rendering of the plan's proposed Hillside Theater

A new hillside theater could be coming to Zilker Park, under the current draft vision plan.

Rendering via the City of Austin’s Zilker Park Vision Plan Draft Document

Changes to parking and transportation

The plan envisions more shuttles and connections to the park to foster arrival by bus, bike, and foot. Here are some other changes you can expect:

  • Three new parking garages: one under MoPac, one underground near the newly added land bridge, and one connected to the revamped Welcome Plaza
  • Reducing Barton Springs Road to one lane on each side to add parallel parking and bus stops
  • Adding ~7 miles in trails
A rendering of people walking along a trail in a woodlands space, with the Austin skyline behind them.

The parking lot along Stratford Drive could be rehabilitated into natural woodlands.

Rendering via the City of Austin’s Zilker Park Vision Plan Draft Document

Ecological improvements

Overall, the plan is set to add about 91 acres of “ecological uplift,” which includes canopy enhancement, wetlands, and stormwater management adjustments. This includes:

  • Reverting the existing parking lot and former landfill space along Stratford Drive to restored woodland and meadow
  • Rehabilitating Barton Creek with controlled water access and erosion treatment
  • Reducing impervious cover — artificial structures like pavement — by ~8 acres

Give your feedback

After gathering community feedback and allowing various city boards, commissions, and entities to review the plan, it is expected to be adopted in early 2023.

Put in your input until Sunday, Jan. 8 by:

A map of the overall draft zilker vision plan

Read the full Zilker Park Vision Plan and share your input online.

Rendering via the City of Austin’s Zilker Park Vision Plan Draft Document