Cepeda Branch Trail Project

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The Cepeda Branch Trail project will provide a safe, well-lighted pedestrian pathway from the Cepeda Branch property at 651 N Pleasant Valley Rd through to Gonzalez St under the adjacent East 7th St overpass. Funding for the project was approved as part of the 2018 Bond Election.

Construction is scheduled to take about three months.

In 1997, the Austin Public Library named this branch in honor of Eustasio Cepeda, a Latino community leader in the 1930s and 1940s. It is located at 651 N Pleasant Valley Rd, Austin, TX 78702 in District 3, which is currently represented by Council Member Pio Renteria.

Feedback ended September 15, 2020. Thanks to each of you who took the time to comment. We've considered your collective responses carefully and will be making security improvements to the area preceding construction.

Although the feedback period has ended, please continue to call or email with your questions and comments. We will post the project renderings when they are completed and collect additional feedback at that time.

The Cepeda Branch Trail project will provide a safe, well-lighted pedestrian pathway from the Cepeda Branch property at 651 N Pleasant Valley Rd through to Gonzalez St under the adjacent East 7th St overpass. Funding for the project was approved as part of the 2018 Bond Election.

Construction is scheduled to take about three months.

In 1997, the Austin Public Library named this branch in honor of Eustasio Cepeda, a Latino community leader in the 1930s and 1940s. It is located at 651 N Pleasant Valley Rd, Austin, TX 78702 in District 3, which is currently represented by Council Member Pio Renteria.

Feedback ended September 15, 2020. Thanks to each of you who took the time to comment. We've considered your collective responses carefully and will be making security improvements to the area preceding construction.

Although the feedback period has ended, please continue to call or email with your questions and comments. We will post the project renderings when they are completed and collect additional feedback at that time.

Give Us Feedback

The Library has an opportunity to build a trail pathway to provide easy access to the Cepeda Branch Library.

  1. What are your thoughts?
  2. What are your concerns?


CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

I strongly support the trail project. To begin with, the city funded this project two years ago in strong support of the community to provide a safe and clean connect to its local library. We shouldn’t let the current pandemic prolong this project any further. We have the opportunity to develop and grow our neighborhood of residents who’ve lived here for generations and are the original supporters and tenants of the library. The homeless camp, though fairly organized and well supported by the local law enforcement, COA utility department, EMS, shouldn’t be a reason not to provide what’s best for the residents. There are still many criminal activities taking place just right outside our doors. For the city to postpone our neighborhoods ability to make our streets a safer and cleaner place is unacceptable. I support putting our dollars back into our streets and cleaning them up. This is our home too, and we’ve earned the right to put our hard earned dollars back into our streets. This trail will offer a safer pathway for the mothers and fathers and their children to attend the library and continue our efforts in the education and safety of, not just our established residents, but to the many recent residents of the Guthrie and surrounding streets. Along with this, these funds can dramatically help reduce the number of stolen mail, stolen packages, robberies, indecent exposures, drug deals, prostitution, drug consumption, needles on driveways and in front yards, threats and so on.

Mjd512 about 1 month ago

Safety must be addressed before any such project takes place.

ghost000 about 2 months ago

I support! Two years ago a number of us who live in close proximity to the 7th street underpass (within one to two blocks) proposed a pocket park so that our children have a space to play and community members have a place to come together to support each other. Sadly, the COA did not support the project but some of us continued to use that space to teach our kids how to ride bikes and catch balls. Slowly the area became populated with those seeking refuge and initially it appeared to be a relatively peaceful environment. Then about a year ago we noticed an increase in crime in our area. On our walks down Gonzalez and Ramos we would find used syringes and come across people using drugs in their cars. We have seen unfamiliar people brandishing weapons and have had to contact law enforcement to report violence. My hope is that with the construction of the proposed path we will see a reduction in unlawful activity and that the community will have access to a valuable resource. Many of us who live within a three block radius of the proposed path feel strongly that a change is needed while being sensitive to the needs of the homeless community.

garwoodrez about 2 months ago

This project is ill-conceived and not that necessary. The library also needs to conduct far wider community engagement before proceeding with its myopic plan. With better planning and in different times (err, there's a deadly global pandemic happening with no signs of abatement) it has some merit but it should be postponed. Access to the library from the streets east of Pleasant Valley Road is perfectly possible now, via those streets (Castro, Prado, Garwood, Gonzales) and the crosswalk (with traffic lights) at the Pleasant Valley/7th Street junction. Pleasant Valley has a sidewalk and bike lanes. A new plan to improve library access via improvements to this junction should be considered - for benefit of the communities on both sides of Pleasant Valley Road. This proposed path would be routed through a well established and troublesome homeless camp that would clearly be disrupted - with impact to the entire community in the area. The City as a whole needs to address this factor before proceeding. Many concerns have been raised about this aspect and there have been no responses from the City to them - just lots of "well that's not my problem" or "we have a long-term plan" - clearly not good enough.

pch17159 about 2 months ago

Strongly support! I am really looking forward to this project as are many of the neighbors I have discussed it with. I also think canvassing the neighborhood within 1500' of the trail would offer greater visibility on community opinion and potential trail utilization. Since we now know the funds can only be spent on the current project as described and not diverted to a different use for the library, why would we not want this project to move forward? It would be a permanent improvement to facilitate greater and easier access to the library for all the families that live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed trail. Very few of us want to walk our children through the intersections at 7th and Pleasant Valley. Those have always been a little lively. Yes, this project will disrupt the current encampment there, but that is a newly established camp and should only be viewed as a temporary occurrence. For neither the individuals experiencing homelessness in that camp or the residents living adjacent to it, should it be a long-term living situation for them. The project should move forward and the COA should do it's part to help those individuals into a better and more permanent living situation that is not camping under a bridge. If they cannot do that, consolidate the 7th St. bridge camp into another nearby camp that is not positioned in a proposed community improvement project site. This neighborhood has been waiting many years for a project like this. and it would be short sighted to let these funds go unused. If the goal is increasing access and utilization of the Cepeda Library, then this project certainly meets that goal.

Jason H about 2 months ago

My thoughts are and question is " How are you going to make this trail a safe place? I am concerned that it will become very dangerous for women to go through the 7th street underpass if they are by themselves while the homeless people are still there. I would not like for this to become like the Terrazas Library. It is a dark place to begin with and there are still some homeless people living there.

Joyce about 2 months ago

I definitely like the idea of the connecting path, I think it greatly improves walkability for the area and will make the area easier to access, especially for the newer apartments on the other side of 7th. The path will definitely improve the look of the area. However, considerations will have to be taken for the current homeless population that camps in the area where the path would be built. The path would likely, unfortunately, not see much use if the area stayed in its current state. I don't have any easy solutions for that besides a fair relocation of the camp

jon.flowers about 2 months ago

My concern is the city has done nothing to help keep Terrazas library a safe and clean place for the neighborhood and putting money into Cepeda without addressing the current drug & homeless population will result in another Terrazas situation.

Msoto77 about 2 months ago

I love it. We need more sidewalks desperately! Libraries are good.

corvino1 about 2 months ago

Thoughts: The proposed trail for the $300K budget is not able offer the community a ‘safer’ access to the Cepeda Branch Library simply because of its location - under a bridge, in a secluded area. Even if the trail is well lit, it still would require the immediate and surrounding areas under the bridge to be further transformed to ensure enough usability for more investment. This places an ongoing burden on the community for engagement for maintenance and investment for improvements.Safety is an issue. The proposed path route takes it under a bridge and only at Ramos St. Bridge pillars are perfect cover for privacy or deviant behavior, from as simple as drinking or smoking weed, to stalking, robbery and violent crime. The existing library access via Gonzales, Garwood and Prado Streets and via the crosswalk at North Pleasant Valley Road across East 7th Street is safer than this proposed and ill-conceived path by virtue it is out in the open and in a heavily pedestrian trafficked secluded area. Whereas the path only exits at the library’s gated parking lot limiting its usability. A bike path across E. 7th Street and better crosswalk enhancements would be a better way to spend the $300K unless the City can make a bigger investment and commitment to the underpass. This would require a proper ‘underpass enhancement’ study involving the neighborhood.Most importantly - since we are in a pandemic and there is a homeless camp residing in the very spot where the trail is being proposed, City departments such as City Public Works, District 3 City Council and Austin Public Library Cepeda Branch should work first to help these most vulnerable community members, who obeying the homeless ordinance rules for camping only have that space to call a home. Concerns and Suggestions: The ‘build it and they will come’ approach being applied to this project will bring nothing but harm to the very community it is hoping to better assist. Further work on it should not commence until these issues have been addressed:1) The City shouldn’t displace the well-established large homeless camp before helping the residents there as part of its end homelessness goals. 2) The City conducts a localized feasibility study to determine how many people in the neighborhood traffic are actually likely to use the path.3) The pandemic is behind us, allowing the Austin Public Library Cepeda Branch staff or neighborhood groups to properly canvas the area without risking their safety or the safety of local residents. 4) The library conducts a mail survey of local residents - instead of relying on this electronic platform that many do not have access to or expertise to use. 5) The library conducts its own community engagement meetings at a safer time when people can congregate.6) The library provides a line-item budget of what is covered in the proposal and what is not (i.e. lights, benches, plants, trash cans, upkeep, signage). 7) A crime analysis of Gonzalez St. and the area should also be included in the decision-making using the City of Austin Police Department Crime Viewer GIS tool https://www.austintexas.gov/GIS/CrimeViewer/ .

Jen about 2 months ago

The proposed project will beautify the area immensely! My Concerns are about the homeless population that has swelled in mass numbers since the camping ordinance was put into place. The area all around the proposed project is a high crime area and residents no longer feel safe. The neighborhood has become dirty, polluted, smells of feces, prostitution is highly present, and drug sales have taken over Zaragoza Park as well. My concern would be the safety of the people who would be using the walk way especially at night.

Joni7811 about 2 months ago

Having lived here for a while now, and having reviewed this project's planned pathway, I have a few concerns and at least one recommendation. As you are aware, there is a sizable homeless encampment under the 7th Street overpass where the projected path for this project is located. I can guarantee this won't improve the community's connection to the library and most people will aviod walking on the path through this encampment. What is the plan for the relocation of these people? What steps will need to taken to prevent another homeless encampment from developing at this site. Frankly, I'm not sure this is the best moment for the implementation of this plan because the currently posted information does not address this issue. The photos on this page were taken in 2018, or thereabouts, when this encampment was periodically cleared by city employees and the police. That is no longer the case. In fact, there are now outhouses and a handwashing station at the site for homeless people to use. Please develop and publish your plans for dealing with this issue before it's too late.

csussman 2 months ago

1. THOUGHTS: I am in favor of adding pedestrian connectivity to the library, but there are serious concerns that will need to be addressed.2. CONCERNS: - The area is currently not safe and a path will not be used if the area remains unsafe. The path needs to be very well lit, and the area needs to be kept safe so that residents feel comfortable using the proposed path. This means removing the existing encampment and cleaning the area.- I'm concerned about the displacement of the people currently living under 7th street. Other public spaces in the area already have very bad homeless and crime issues and I'm worried the groups currently living under 7th will simply relocate to one of these other areas, like parque zaragoza.

rjhennessy15 2 months ago