After walking the walk (biking the bike?) by bicycling to City Hall on Friday, Austin’s Bike to Work Day, U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) took to a handy podium to announce that he has secured $5 million in federal funding to begin closing the gap in the Walnut Creek Trail System, from the Southern Walnut Creek Trail to Braker Lane.

The extended trail will include a safe, dedicated crossing of US-290 and connect neighborhoods north of the highway to 15 miles of urban trails. The trail will also provide a connection to the Samsung Austin Semiconductor facility off Parmer Lane in North Austin.

“We are creating a world-class trail system in Austin to safely connect our neighborhoods and improve our way of life,” said Doggett. “Almost two decades ago, I secured about $8 million to construct the 7+ mile Southern Walnut Creek Trail, the first major trail in East Austin. Two years ago, I secured federal appropriations to extend that trail south to Plaza Saltillo where it can connect to both the Crosstown Bikeway and the Ladybird Lake Trail. Today’s additional $5 million investment will begin completing the gap between the north and south so that our trail can extend from Govalle Neighborhood Park in East Austin to the Balcones District Park in North Austin."

In addition to federal money, the trail system receives funding from 2016 and 2020 mobility bond funds.

The Walnut Creek Trail System was identified as a high priority in the 2014 Urban Trails Plan. The northern and southern ends of the Walnut Creek Trail System are complete and open to the public, and an approximately eight-mile gap remains between the Northern and Southern Walnut Creek Trails. Once complete, the trail will be about 19 miles long and connect the Govalle Neighborhood Park in East Austin to the Balcones District Park in North Austin.

The Walnut Creek Trail System also connects to the proposed Mokan Trail in East Austin and will provide access to downtown; to the Austin to Manor Trail; and eventually to the Shoal Creek Trail and Red Line Trail. Ultimately, the trail will become part of a planned 30-mile trail loop around the city.