Abandoned south Austin railway could be restored to offer trail, transit options

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — For years, a Union Pacific Railroad line in south Austin provided a critical connection to the Bergstrom Air Force Base, but after the base was closed in 1993 the railway was decommissioned.

Today, most of the Bergstrom Spur, a rail corridor stretching from Vinson Drive to U.S. 183, sits “vacant.” The City of Austin, along with Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, is looking at ways to turn the 6-mile corridor into a trail and transit connection for the community. They’ve divided that corridor into three sections: Western, Central and Eastern.

Source: The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

For the western segment of the corridor from Vinson Drive to South Congress Avenue, officials are proposing a trail-only option that would consist of bicycle and pedestrian paths.

Source: The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

“(The trail) would connect the neighborhood up to St. Elmo Elementary School and South Congress Transit Center,” Katie Wettick, the city’s Urban Trails Program manager said about the western segment.

Then, for the Central and Eastern segments of the corridor, officials are proposing additional trail and potential transit options, but Wettick said that would depend on the demand for transit. They’re currently working with Capital Metro.

“The goal of this study is to think not just what makes sense right now or within the next five years but to really think about how the area could change in the next 20 years or more,” Wettick said.

Officials are asking the community for feedback on the Bergstrom Spur Platinum Planning Study. Those who would like to comment have through Jan. 6 to do so online.

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