As part of the Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan, a draft detailing the potential future of Zilker Park was released by the city of Austin Nov. 15 and will be open for public comment until Jan. 8.

The Vision Plan for the 351-acre park features four main components, including a land bridge connecting the north and south sides of Barton Springs Road; 91 acres of ecological uplift area to heal damaged areas of the park; improved mobility within and to the park; and a welcome plaza that repurposes historic buildings to serve as visitor hubs.

The plan breaks the park down into five geographic areas. Here are the major improvements proposed for each one:

Northern area:

  • construction of a parking garage near or on the east side of MoPac for visitors to access several park amenities

  • realigning Stratford Drive east of MoPac and potentially adding a sound wall

  • changing the existing landfill area to restored woodland and meadow

Central area:

  • land bridge over Barton Springs Road to stitch together the north and south sides of the park with an underground parking garage

  • sports area with several active recreation fields for various activities

  • Zilker Hillside Theater near the north end of land bridge

  • potential reduction of Barton Springs Road to one lane each direction, with on-street parallel parking and improved bus stops

Eastern side:

  • picnic area with concessions and restroom near Great Lawn

  • new bike and pedestrian bridge along Toomey Road to increase connectivity

  • turning Lou Neff Road into pedestrian- and bike-only trail

  • bridge over Lady Bird Lake to provide crossing point between Roberta Crenshaw Bridge and Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge

Southern area:

  • construction of third parking garage

  • repurposing of Caretaker’s Cottage and Quonset Hut for educational purposes

  • year-round access to Barton Springs Pool with new playscapes during large events

  • rehabilitation of Barton Creek with controlled water access and erosion treatments

Western area:

  • entry road to Girl Scout Cabin

  • new nature trail at southern part of Columbus Drive

  • turning Andrew Zilker Road into pedestrian and bike only trails

  • extension of disc golf area south

  • partially closing Columbus Drive with a roundabout

  • continuing nature trail from Barton Creek Greenbelt to Lady Bird Lake

  • pedestrian bridge on west side of Barton Springs Pool to increase connectivity across Barton Creek

The park restoration and future development planning effort began in 2020 after the city began work with consulting firm Design Workshop. Since its launch, the Vision Plan process has prompted several community meetings, discussions and online surveys.

The plan released in November represents the culmination of several thousands of comments from residents after viewing park options for the future. Prior to the most recent plan release, three options were put before the public for comment in February.

The community is able to comment and complete a survey on the draft plan document as well as participate in a virtual community meeting Dec. 7 and an in-person open house Dec. 10. During meetings, the draft Vision Plan will be shared in detail with opportunity for questions and comments.

More information on how to submit feedback and attend events can be found on the city’s website at