Summary

Since 2013 the City of Austin has recognized the Red River Cultural District as one of Austin’s most important cultural centers, boosting the City’s tourism and creative economy through its concentration of live music venues and complementary businesses.

This site will provide regular updates on several improvement projects underway in the Red River Cultural District and coordinated projects adjacent to the geographic area. Improvement projects being explored and deployed include enhanced lighting, trash receptacles, pedestrian mobility improvements, alleyway improvements, and special projects.

This effort is being led by the Economic Development Department, in conjunction and leadership with multiple departments within the City of Austin.

Red River Cultural District Timeline

2022
2021
  • On December 13, 2021 the City of Austin began construction on planned Red River Area Improvements. Construction is expected to be completed in Summer 2022. This website will continue to provide regular updates on construction activity.
  • On December 8, 2021 the City of Austin Economic Development Department and Public Works Department distributed a Notice of Start of Construction to district stakeholders along Red River Street:
  • City of Austin Economic Development Department and Public Works Department hosted a Virtual Monthly Project Update Meeting on Thursday, October 28th from 11:00AM to 12:00PM.
  • On September 29, 2021 the City of Austin Economic Development Department and Public Works Department distributed a 14-day Notice of Construction to impacted businesses along Red River Street:
  • On August 4, 2021 the City of Austin Economic Development Department and Public Works Department distributed a Notice of Construction to impacted businesses along Red River Street:
  • On July 22, 2021 the City of Austin Economic Development Department held a virtual “meet and greet” with ASD Consultants. Meeting notes below:
  • On April 22, 2021 City Council authorized award and execution of a construction contract with ASD Consultants, Inc. (MBE), for the Red River Area Improvements project.
  • On January 25, 2021 the City of Austin published Solicitation No. IFB 6100 CLMC837 (Closed) to solicit contractors for work consisting of pedestrian safety improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and ADA ramps. The work also includes landscape beautification and lighting enhancements to improve the pedestrian experience in this district.
2020
  • On June 25, 2020 the Economic Development Department provided a summary of progress partnering Departments have made in addressing the directives of City Council Resolution 20170608-033
  • On April 16, 2020 the Economic Development Department provided a summary of progress partnering Departments have made in addressing the directives of City Council Resolution 20170608-033
2019
  • On November 21, 2019 the Economic Development Department provided a summary of progress partnering Departments have made in addressing the directives of City Council Resolution 20170608-033
  • On August 8, 2019 City Council passed Resolution No. 20190808-144 supporting the Economic Development Department in design and implementation of public infrastructure enhancements along Red River Street and securing project funds.
2018
  • On July 13, 2018 the Economic Development Department provided a summary of the progress partnering Departments have made in addressing the directives of City Council Resolution 20170608-033
  • On March 7, 2018 the Economic Development Department issued an update to Counil regarding the Red River Extended Hours Pilot Program that is produced by the Economic Development Department’s Music and Entertainment Division.
2017
  • On June 8, 2017 City Council passed Resolution No. 20170608-033 directing the City Manager to explore a variety of public infrastructure enhancements
  • On January 26, 2017 City Council passed Ordinance No. 20170126-019 which establishing a pilot program that authorizes extended hours to operate sound equipment.
2016
2015
2014
  • Business Leaders engage the Economic Development Department to assist in place-based economic development efforts through the Souly Austin district development program.
2013
  • On October 17, 2013 City Council passed Resolution No. 20131017-036 designating the 600 to 900 blocks of Red River Street as a Cultural District

Projects

Red River Enhancement Project

Resolution No. 20170608-033 directed the City Manager to explore a variety of public infrastructure enhancements along Red River Street. Projects include alley closure, trash receptacles, lighting, temporary art, and pedestrian mobility improvements including sidewalk redesign. Additionally, costs associated with design, engineering, and project manager fees are to be included. Project prioritization categories to include:

  • Level 1 Project Prioritization inclusive of Safety and Accessibility Improvement: alley closure, lighting as deemed necessary from the study, ADA compliance, addressing absent sidewalks, installation of trash receptacles and pedestrian crosswalks
  • Level 2 Project Prioritization inclusive of Hardscapes and Right of Way Enhancements: sidewalk repair, design and engineering for curb cuts and sidewalk redesign, and street alignment
  • Level 3 Project Prioritization inclusive of Beautification Projects: planter boxes, trees, and maintenance

Resolution 20190808-144 directs the City Manager to use available funds from the Great Streets Program to expeditiously deliver projects described in Resolution 20170608-033.

Progress to Date

Staff implementation efforts continue with the achievement of several significant milestones outlined in the most recent Memorandum to Mayor and Council (June 25, 2020).

Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) installed ten trash and recycling receptacles along Red River between 6th and 11th Streets. ARR is providing regular collection service to these cans.

Austin Energy (AE) completed a lighting study for the district. The light study concluded that the existing lighting meets and exceeds AE standards for street lighting. Staff has explored solar lighting options and this will be factored into the design and engineering phase of the project.

Conceptual designs have been completed by Public Works staff and will inform EDD and PW met with Red River Cultural District stakeholders on January 31, 2020 to share designs and gather feedback.

Design Phase scope has been approved including a service agreement and work has begun between Austin Public Works Department (PWD), Engineering Services Division (ESD) and Economic Development. The Design phase and scope will daylight any gaps in funding beyond the allocated $1.3 million and maintenance considerations. Design phase will include a full construction plan for review, permitting, bidding and construction.

Design and Scope documents for planned improvements have been completed and were published for solicitation on January 25, 2021. Solicitation No. IFB 6100 CLMC837 closed on February 25, 2021. Responses have been received and selection of final contractor is expected in April 2021.

Red River Alleyway Project

The City of Austin completed installation of a gate and fence system in the alley at the 700 block of Red River Street (between 711 and 715 Street) in late 2019.  The project was identified as priority by the stakeholder and City Council in an effort to increase safety in the area. The 10 foot gate and fence system spans two existing buildings at the front and back of the alley and restricts access to the alley from both Waller Creek and Red River Street. The installation meets various accessibility requirements and City Code (utility, fire safety, and private property access).

Progress to Date

Project completed December 23, 2019

Downtown Public Restrooms Project

The installation of three solar powered restroom units will take shape in the area surrounding the Red River Cultural District. The units will provide residents and visitors with access to safe and accessible restroom facilities. The project is a partnership between Public Works, Austin Transportation, Economic Development and the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA).

For Council Resolutions informing the delivery of these facilities, exact locations, and other details, please visit www.austintexas.gov/dtpublicrestrooms

Sidewalk Beautification at ARCH Project

A sidewalk reconfiguration project to enhance the existing right-of-way outside of the ARCH facility on East 7th Street has been completed. For project details and funding information, please view the project fact sheet.

For questions or comments on these projects contact:

  • Matthew Schmidt, Redevelopment Program Manager, Economic Development Department (Community Contact)
    Email | 512-974-6415
  • Jose Ibarra, Project Manager, Public Works Department
    Email | 512-974-7195
  • Nicole Klepadlo, Redevelopment Project Manager, Economic Development Department
    Email | 512-974-7739