Commerce Lexington will be going to Austin, Texas this year to see what we can learn from a successful university town of comparable scale and geography. The following case study material was prepared in 2001. Certain figures are not in 2008 dollars and undoubtedly the city has grown.
• Founded in 1838
• Population: 1,126,700 people in the metropolitan area. 632,833 in Austin city limits (Lexington population = 260,512)
• Austin is the second fastest growing city in the United States
• The 21st largest city in the country
• Area: 2,705 square miles in metro areas. 232 square miles within the city limits
• Time Zone: Central Time
• Sales Tax: 8.25 percent
• Location: Austin is 236 miles from the Mexican border. Within 200 miles of San Antonio, Houston and Dallas
• Austin ranked as “Best Place for Business” (Forbes, May 2000) More than 1,330 tech companies.
• Fourth most visited city in Texas, with more than 16 million annual visitors.
• Austin is a clean-air city. Smoking is prohibited in buildings open to public.
• Live Music Capital of the World with more than 100 live music venues
• Austin has 11,800 acres of greenbelt used for recreation18 miles of well-surfaced scenic paths
7.5 miles of natural surface trails
• several more miles of connected trails are planned
Current population of Travis County: 812,280 (Lexington 260,000)
Travis County population in 1960: 212,136 (Lexington 132,000)
NOTE THAT AUSTIN HAS GROWN FOURFOLD IN THE TIME WE HAVE DOUBLED IN POPULATION
Median age: 29.5 years (Lexington 33 years)
Household income: $42,250 (Lexington $39,813)
Bachelor’s degree 33.9 (Lexington 35.6%)
MAYBE QUALITY OF LIFE FIGURES INTO AUSTIN’S SUCCESS. TRAILS AND GREENSPACE ARE A BIG PART OF AUSTIN’S IDENTITY.
The Jogging Trails of Austin
Exerpts from Austin Parks and Recreation and the Austin Chronicle
Enjoyment of the environment has always been a way of life in Austin, and the most heavily used facilities within Austin Parks and Recreation Department may well be its excellent jogging trails- the ‘Hike and Bike’ ways that offer healthful recreational opportunities every day of the year.
Much of the city’s charm lies in its abundance of outdoor recreation areas and greenbelt which include miles of trails that make it a jogger’s paradise. Austin was one of the first cities in the nation to set up a trail system, starting with the Shoal Creek Trail created by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
In 1976 a masterplan was developed for a city-wide breenbelt trail system for Austin. Today more than 25 miles of inviting jogging trails have been developed along Town Lake, Shoal Creek, Blunn Creek, Waller Creek, Johnson Creek, and Boggy Creek. In addition to the dedveloped trails, primitive trails in undeveloped greenbelts provide exceptional opportunities for nature walks and rugged hiking. In 1993 a coalition of 25 different community organizations called Austin Metropolitan Trails Council or AMTC was formed to advocate for trail development collectively. In 1994 it won $7 million dollars from Federal and Local funds through the’ Enhancements’ funding of ISTEA, (a federal non-vehicular transportation fund). Many more trails and trail connections and extensions are planned.
The Austin Trail System, winding through the city with pebble finished concrete and granite gravel surface materials, beckons alike the beginning jogger or long distance runner. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, there are so many different jogging routes in and around Austin that there is always a place to keep up your running program.