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Thread: Walnut Creek Trail Changes

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    Walnut Creek Trail Changes

    There is trail work going on at Walnut Creek. If you are on Inner Log Loops, you can see the new corridor that has been cut. In the near future we will be grubbing the trail tread. Everybody needs to understand what is going on and why some existing trails will be closed. There is a trade off of closing trails and opening trails.This post is to give riders a heads up on what is going on. Please share this post and its contents with other riders.

    Inner Log Loops - The big side walk (North Walnut Creek Regional Trail or NWCRT) replaced the trail that used to connect the Inner Log Loops to the start of Outer Log Loops. We are being allowed to replace that old trail with new trail. The new trail is just south of the NWCRT between the sidewalk and the existing Log Loops. Because of some heritage trees (large ones), the new trail has to be routed where the existing trail is now and the existing trail moved farther south. If this was not done, City of Austin Forestry would have not allowed the replacement trail to be built at all. Since the existing trail already impacts the Critical Root Zone (CRZ) of the heritage trees, the new trail can use that path and the existing path gets moved. To put this another way, there is no new impact to the heritage tree Critical Root Zone. As the new trail is completed, there will be changes to the existing trail. Please respect those changes.

    Power Line Hill - For as long as I can remember we have bombed down Power Line Hill and yelled a warning to anyone crossing our path on the one intersecting trail. Now the NWCRT is the crossing trail so bikes MUST YIELD to the walkers, dogs and baby strollers. Since the Power Line Hill is a fall line trail is has always been an erosion problem. We are moving the bike trail to the west and giving it some good terrain and flow (we hope). The idea is to replace the problem trail with one that is more fun to ride. When the new trail is completed the old trail will be closed by placing erosion control barriers across it. Because Power Line Hill is also a maintenance access for the power line, it cannot be blocked completely. We think this is a good trade off for mtb'rs - flowy single track for fall line double track that dead ends into the NWCRT.

    Both ends of the longest bridge will have a trail running under it. These are to allow mtb's to make a loop that doesn't intersect with the NWCRT. We will cross under the sidewalk instead of having to yield to it. The trail on the south end of the bridge will connect to what was the bottom of Power Line Hill, cross under the bridge, pass the return end of Endo Valley and Stair Step Climb, then connect to the new Power Line Hill trail. The other end is hard to describe but should be usable to make a riding loop.

    The last bit of trail from Windy / BMX Loops areas that climbs up to the parking lot is being replaced. That is another fall line trail with erosion problems. The new trail climbs that same hill but slightly farther south and makes turns to shed water and correct the erosion problems.

    There is a new trail that parallels Service Road Trail to the east of the pool. This will allow us to stay in the trees on single track instead of riding the gravel road next to the wall of poison ivy (Service Road Trail).

    We are still negotiating a big new loop between Power Line Hill and the retention dam area. We thought this one was approved but the permit came back with a single trail instead of a loop. More news as it occurs.

    There are several small trails that will close. Most of these are small "social trails" that I don't think the mtb's use much. However, there are three larger trails that the mtb's use that will also close. Power Line is discussed above. To the east of Power Line is the Stair Step Climb. This is a fall line trail that is eroding badly. I have ridden that climb for years and use it to check my fitness. I am sorry to see it close. To the west of Power Line is Ski Run. This is also a fall line trail and it has a blind intersection with the NWCRT to create a safety issue. To my knowledge, most mtb'rs take this trail down hill. So the high speed intersection with the NWCRT is a huge safety issue. It has not been seeing much use but the riders who normally ride it will be sorry to lose it.

    Recognize that we mtbr's have to be responsible park/trail users. All of these changes have been negotiated to try to keep the best mtb trails while still recognizing the land owner (City of Austin) can chose to open / close trails without us. We are always much better off to work WITH the landowner than to work against the landowner. We will need volunteers to complete the trail tread. Hint, hint.

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    Excellent news. Glad to hear we can continue to move forward with improvements around the NWCRT.
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    MoJo Mother Superior Tree magnet's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the effort that goes on behind the scenes to make these negotiations possible. Parks change and trails change but that isn't always a bad thing. Count me in when you start digging/work.

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    MoJo Mother Superior FJsnoozer's Avatar
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    I'm very excited to see what is in store for powerline hill reroutes especially heading under that bridge.

    I am sorry to see ski slope close. I only ever used that as sprint "up." Looks like mine and Desert nomad's KOM will die with the trail?

    Its all part of the greater progression and maintenance of the relationship. Thank you for all you do. Any help needed very very early on Saturdays or Sunday mornings?
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    I would say to get your KOM's while you can. But just as soon as I said that I would get another phone call or email about another collision at Walnut Creek... I have already had too many of those. PARD rules already say there is a 10 mph speed limit unless otherwise posted. I have never seen a speed limit posted so that means 10 mph everywhere.

    Of all the technology things that I thought were trouble, Strava seems to be winning.

    First it was Geo Caching causing "new" trails. Somebody hides a cache well off the trail, then people beat in a new trail to it.

    Then Poc-e-mon and the newer version of it have people chasing 'electronic ghosts' from the trial to no telling where. And they are watching their phone instead of the trail while they do it.

    But Strava has people racing even when there is no one else around them. Except that dog or baby stroller out for a leisurely mid-day stroll. Or somebody going the "wrong way" on a bi-directional trail.
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    So I guess this means a "sidewalk gap" is out of the running. I hope bunny trail stays open. Thanks for the info.
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    prodigal son of Austin Teamsloan's Avatar
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    Looking forward to riding something new at WC. I'll be sad to see the stair step climb go but I'm actually looking forward to power line being replaced. Yes, it was fun to bomb down it, but it was over quick and wasn't really all that challenging. Something as fast and flowy as the IMBA trail coming down from the church climb to the wall ride will be a great replacement.

    Question, while portions of the inner log loop are being re-purposed, will the inner log loop still be ridable?
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    prodigal son of Austin Teamsloan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamwa View Post
    So I guess this means a "sidewalk gap" is out of the running. I hope bunny trail stays open. Thanks for the info.
    I still say a step up to a whale tail would have worked perfectly there.
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    Believe it or not, a sidewalk gap jump was discussed. Can you believe someone as risk adverse as a government agency would have problems with a gap jump over a public sidewalk??? Look at what Wilco did at the train overpass of the Brushy Creek Regional Trail. There is a chain link "roof" over the sidewalk to make sure a train doesn't "drop something" on the sidewalk. You know how parts fall off of train all the time. So mountain bike flying over the sidewalk??? Not gonna happen.

    The intention is that the existing trails stay open continuously. There may be a hour or two where the existing Inner Log Loops is closed while rerouting, but it should truly be an few minutes per reroute. The new trail will stay closed until the new trail is rerouted. Then the new trail can open after it no longer conflicts with the rerouted existing trail.
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    An updated map is in the works. We have a preliminary GPX file. But that is subject to change as the trails get finalized. My guess is about the end of the year we should have a map ready. Then give it a month or two to get thru the City approval process.

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    MORE BERMS!!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxagent View Post
    But Strava has people racing even when there is no one else around them. Except that dog or baby stroller out for a leisurely mid-day stroll. Or somebody going the "wrong way" on a bi-directional trail.
    Yes and No. Strava didn't create fast riders. People have always trained outdoors and raced with or dropped their friends while out riding. This is no different than you using the ledgey hill east of Powerline as a measuring stick. It just so happens, you now get home and realize you went through a specific section of trail faster than others with the invention of strava and other services. Maybe next time you try a little harder and brake a little less, but you don't push over baby strollers and you stop for loose dogs, smile and live to strava another day.

    I said what I did in jest because I enjoy the anaerobic sprint up that hill. I agree that anything going down crossing the new Bike path is pretty dangerous. I'm ready willing and able to lend a hand on the new stuff. You know me though, I may prefer to go when I can have a big impact.

    Quote Originally Posted by cxagent View Post
    An updated map is in the works. We have a preliminary GPX file. But that is subject to change as the trails get finalized. My guess is about the end of the year we should have a map ready. Then give it a month or two to get thru the City approval process.
    Let me know when you do and if there is interest getting it mapped on google maps properly. Similar to Cameron park.
    Last edited by FJsnoozer; 11-14-2016 at 03:33 PM.

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    Mojo Riposte June Bug's Avatar
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    So glad that Power Line is being addressed. Last month I saw a racer boi bomb down Power Line, crossing the NWCMUP (did I get that right?) without slowing or looking, at a time of day when the concrete path gets the most use from kids, cyclists, dog walkers, runners, walkers. It's entirely possible for someone to die from a high speed collision with a mountain biker bombing Power Line Hill.

    RIP to the ledgy section. I'd always hoped that there could be a continuing line right on down with a big berm at the bottom to slingshot you under the bridge.

    However, the ledgy trail is also a problem now because people crossing the bridge on foot head right on up it to access the trail system, creating another potential point of conflict.

    cxagent, again, thanks for all your hard work in dealing with CoA and cultivating relationships with them, to improve mountain biking in Austin. With the many advancements in sustainable trail design and philosophy, I'm excited for the changes and improvements to come.
    Last edited by June Bug; 11-15-2016 at 06:37 AM.
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    Live Medium Bamwa's Avatar
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    Lets us pray for who ever is flagging the new routes. May the trail gods show the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamwa View Post
    Lets us pray for who ever is flagging the new routes. May the trail gods show the way.
    I've been out there with Charlie to some of the new routes. Cool stuff in the works!

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    Is the plan for Endo Valley to stay open? Currently I ride down Powerline part way, then turn right into Endo Valley, then at the end of EV I go up what I guess we're calling "Stair Step Climb". That seems like it's 100% rock to me (no dirt). At the top I turn right and then another right and go back down the short portion of Powerline, across the paved trail, and into a short section that crosses a little water, then crosses the paved trail, and heads up to Log Loop.

    Tell me Endo Valley is staying open.

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    MoJo Mother Superior FJsnoozer's Avatar
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    Is the connector under that bridge going to be One way at least for that section? I know that walnut is multidirectional.

    There is a blind turn under a bridge like that on the south walnut bike path and it is very dangerous due to folks who are coming out of that bridge tunnel riding in the wrong lane while going towards town.

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    Thanks for the proactive approach on all of this. Generally when it doesn't happen everyone freaks out and the bitching starts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASME Y14.5 View Post
    Is the plan for Endo Valley to stay open? Currently I ride down Powerline part way, then turn right into Endo Valley, then at the end of EV I go up what I guess we're calling "Stair Step Climb". That seems like it's 100% rock to me (no dirt). At the top I turn right and then another right and go back down the short portion of Powerline, across the paved trail, and into a short section that crosses a little water, then crosses the paved trail, and heads up to Log Loop.

    Tell me Endo Valley is staying open.
    So far so good. Endo Valley is staying open.

    But there are some closures on the rest of the route you described - Stair Step Climb. You win some. You lose some.

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    I know what you're talking about. Right under the train tracks? My bell gets a lot of use there.

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