Support Park Access for Workers

AustinParksFoundation Parks, 
People + Parks
, Blog Page, Advocacy

The City of Austin is drafting a new rule that would help improve parks access at places of work. Do you visit local parks or green spaces before or after work? On your lunch hour? For an afternoon mental break? Let us know what park amenities would help to improve your workday through this survey. Your participation will help the Parks and Recreation Department as they draft a new parkland dedication ordinance for commercial developments.

What does that mean?

As new residents and businesses come to Austin it is important that we provide parks for those that live or work here. 

One way that we do that is through the City’s parkland dedication ordinance. This City regulation means that new residential developments are asked to provide parkland or pay a fee to help provide parks for new residents. There is a direct connection between new homes, our growing population, and a higher demand for parks. The City’s parkland dedication ordinance currently only applies to residential developments and has helped to acquire 200 acres of parkland for the City of Austin in the last four years alone.

However, there is also a connection between new offices, retail, and industrial buildings and demand on parks. As of 2020, downtown Austin alone held 14,000 residents, but 96,000 employees that benefit from its parks. Currently, over half of Austin’s workforce commutes from outside of Austin, meaning that the majority of the workforce is not accounted for in the existing parkland dedication ordinance. When the City has plans for a greenbelt or urban trail, it is often able to secure pieces of the trail as parcels develop. However, when land develops as commercial rather than residential, the City doesn’t have a tool to acquire the land and important connections can be lost. 

As this workforce grows, people and their families use Austin parks, before, during, or after work or on the weekends.  It is time that the City asks commercial developments to also contribute to our park system.

Parkland dedication for commercial developments provides an opportunity to meet our trail and greenway goals.

In early April, the Austin City Council unanimously passed a resolution directing City staff to amend the city’s parkland dedication ordinance to include new office, commercial, and industrial developments. However, each of us that care about our park system need to help get this new rule past the finish line.  

Your input can help build our park system

Please fill out this survey by July 10th to help guide the Parks and Recreation Department as they draft a new parkland dedication ordinance for commercial developments.