Tag Archives: Zilker Park

Holy Cow! Dallas Also Embroiled In Toll-Road-In-The-Park Battle

By Bill Oakey – May 8, 2015

Thursday night’s Austin City Council hearing on toll lanes over Lady Bird Lake brought back fond memories of grass-roots citizens coming together to fight for the Save Our Springs Ordinance (SOS) back in the early 90’s. The overwhelming majority of last night’s speakers do not want a double-decker bridge with unaffordable surge-priced tolls built over Lady Bird Lake.

Highlights from the meeting included Travis County Commissioner and SOS co-founder, Brigid Shea, reading a letter from Luci Baines Johnson. The crowd in the Council Chambers went wild! Several speakers pointed out that major cities around the world are now or have been removing highways from parks and waterways. These include Seattle, Portland, Boston, Singapore and even Seoul, South Korea.

When the dust settled and all the speakers had made their appeals, newly elected Mayor, Steve Adler, shined like a beacon. He spoke eloquently of Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores being the “Crown Jewels of Austin.” No one who engaged with him could match his grasp of the details. There wasn’t a person in the room who could match Adler’s acumen for citing Federal regulations, previous CAMPO grant application language or any other minute details. (My own whimsical thoughts of challenging the Mayor to a game of Scrabble have been placed on hold indefinitely).

After lengthy discussions and much nitpicking over the wording, the City Council voted 9 to 2 to adopt a resolution calling for an independent City study of alternatives for the road’s size and location. The resolution also calls upon the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), to work closely with City officials in their own study, which is already underway. Importantly, the resolution does not call for abandoning the road project altogether. Many speakers supporting the single option of four toll lanes over Lady Bird Lake characterized the Council resolution as nothing more than an environmentalist attack on traffic relief for South Austin.

Take a Look At What’s Happening In Dallas!

It turns out that the good people of Dallas are fighting a very similar battle. And it will all come to a head in a big City Council election happening tomorrow (Saturday May 9th). Take a look at the article below:

Poll finds Dallasites’ support for toll road within Trinity River levees tepid

 Follow @brandonformby bformby@dallasnews.com

Transportation Writer, Dallas Morning News

April 22, 2015

As the size of the Trinity Parkway grew in recent years, so did a chasm between how Dallas residents and top city officials view the controversial toll road, a poll by The Dallas Morning News shows.

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Highlights From The MoPac Rally And A Summons To The City Council Meeting This Thursday

By Bill Oakey – May 3, 2015

If you missed the big “Keep MoPac Local” Rally on Saturday, please take a moment to enjoy some photos from the event. Then mark your calendars for this coming Thursday, May 7th. Plan to come and join the gathering of citizens at the Council Chambers at 301 West 2nd Street. You are urged to come at 4:00 PM and support Item 26, which is a resolution opposing the construction of new toll lanes over MoPac through Zilker Park and across Lady Bird Lake. Speakers can sign up at the kiosks in the City Council Chambers from now through Thursday.

You can see the resolution here. The resolution is sponsored by Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie Tovo, and co-sponsored by Council Members Ann Kitchen, Leslie Pool, Gregorio Casar and Delia Garza. 

Why Should We Oppose Four Toll Lanes Over Lady Bird Lake?

This project is not a transportation plan. It is a TRANSFORMATION PLAN!

If you are a wealthy homeowner in a new subdivision built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, then you might love this new tollway and the bridge. It will only cost you upwards of $12 to $14 per trip to use the lanes. That adds up to a whopping $504 to $588 per month for 21 workdays! And many of us are opposed to the added noise and pollution in Zilker Park near and along the Roberta Crenshaw Pedestrian Bridge. We don’t like the idea of dumping thousands of cars onto Cesar Chavez at Austin High School as a route into downtown. The ultimate goal of this project is to connect SH-45 SW, I-35 and MoPac, transforming local streets in Central Austin near downtown into a totally gridlocked traffic nightmare.

Two Other Important Meetings You Should Plan to Attend

1. Attend -This Tuesday, May 5 at 10:AM – Travis County Commissioners Court, 700 Lavaca. Toll Road Authority presentation.

2. Attend and Oppose – Next Monday, May 11 at 6:00 PM – Joe C, Thompson Conference Center, 2313 Red River, Room 3.102. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) will vote to adopt the 2040 Transportation Plan. Come and speak against the Southern MoPac lanes over Lady Bird Lake. (Oppose inclusion of the 4 toll lanes on South MoPac, SH-45 SW, & Connection to I-35).

Websites to Visit for Project Background and Details

1. Keep MoPac Local

2. SOS (Save Our Springs) Alliance

Photo Highlights of the Rally On Saturday

Tremendous thanks to the many volunteers who worked to put the rally together and to keep us informed about the financial and environmental encroachment of toll roads over Lady Bird Lake. One person really stands out. Brigid Shea, the founder of SOS back in the 90’s, and now one of our Travis County Commissioners, did a fabulous job helping to organize the rally and serving as MC. Click to enlarge the photos.

Brigid Shea & Bill Bunch

Brigid Shea & Bill Bunch


Bill Oliver

Bill Oliver


City Council Member Leslie Pool


Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal


A Very Good Question

A Very Good Question


Tranquility At Risk

Tranquility At Risk

Rally Tomorrow To Stop $12 to $14 Toll Lanes Over Lady Bird Lake!

By Bill Oakey – May 1, 2015

One of the biggest rallies to hit Austin in a long time will take place at 10:30 tomorrow morning, and you need to be there! Even if you had other plans, this will be a moment in history not to be missed.

Mayor Steve Adler, Commissioner Brigid Shea, other leaders and  several of Austin’s most prominent grass roots organizations are hosting this event to stop a massive double-decker toll bridge over Lady Bird Lake. If it were built, not only would the tranquility of Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake be lost forever, but drivers who use these toll lanes would be hit with tolls up to $12 to $14 per trip.

Picture yourself strolling along the hike and bike trails like you’ve done for years. Now you are about to enjoy the peaceful breeze and the views as you step onto the Roberta Crenshaw Pedestrian Bridge. Suddenly you are transported to five years in the future. All you can hear is a deafening roar. The bridge vibrates and shudders as you try to walk. The person standing next to you can’t hear a word that you say…Then you’re back in 2015. You hear an old song with a new meaning, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Don’t let it happen. Come to the rally tomorrow!

RALLY to STOP the Double Decker Toll Roads over Lady Bird Lake

Saturday, May 2 @ 10:30am

Roberta Crenshaw Pedestrian Bridge – Under Mopac (near Austin High School on Stephen F. Austin Blvd)

The toll road authority plans to build FOUR TOLL LANES on MOPAC from Cesar Chavez to Slaughter Lane, including a double-decker toll road bridge over Lady Bird Lake & Zilker Park with a flyover next to Austin High School.  The plan will not increase public lanes, only add expensive toll lanes (possibly costing as much as $12-14 a trip) & expand MoPac to 12 lanes! (I-35 has 8)  The toll authority has added this plan to our regional transportation plan (called CAMPO 2040 Plan) – we’re urging them to scale this plan back. The CAMPO Plan also includes connecting I-35 to MoPac via SH45 SW, creating a western bypass and adding thousands of extra cars & trucks DAILY to MoPac. 

If you love Austin and want to protect our Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park, Barton Springs, Hike/Bike trails, Austin High School, Lamar Beach, Neighborhoods & Downtown – Please be at the RALLY this Saturday.

This four lane toll road / double-decker bridge plan was authorized by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Staff & Board of Directors.

Please visit the Rally Facebook page and Keep Mopac Local for more information.

CTRMA’s drawing of expanded MoPac, plus double-decker over Lady Bird Lake & Zilker Park (12 Lanes of traffic)  Will block out sky above Roberta Crenshaw Pedestrian Bridge!

RALLY HOST COMMITTEE (partial list)

Brigid Shea, Travis County Commissioner
Steve Adler, Austin Mayor
Kathie Tovo. Austin Mayor Pro Tem
Delia Garza, Austin Council Member
Leslie Pool, Austin Council Member
Amber Elenz, Austin ISD Board Trustee
Paul Saldana, Austin ISD Board Trustee
Laura Morrison, Former Austin Council Member
Jim Harrington, Founder/Director Texas Civil Rights Project
Nelson Linder, President NAACP
Dr. Sterling Lands, II, Senior Pastor Greater Calvary Church
Heyden Black Walker, Reconnect Austin
Clark Richards, Attorney & son of Ann Richards
Susan & Jerry Jeff Walker, Environmental Leaders & Musician
Robin Rather, Environmental Leader

Keep Mopac Local Coalition:

Save Barton Creek Association
Save Our Springs Alliance
Austin Sierra Club
Clean Water Action
Environment Texas
Friendship Alliance of Northern Hays County
Fix 290 Coalitions
Tex PIRG

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Bridge Over Troubled Water

Composed by Paul Simon

When you’re weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I’ll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on, Silver Girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind