South Congress

South Congress Avenue Streetscape Improvements, City of Austin

Consultant for Landscape Architecture to Binkley & Barfield Civil Engineers (prime)

Preliminary designs and feasibility studies were conducted for streetscape and traffic improvements along South Congress Avenue to support pedestrian activity, safety, and accessibility in the bustling SoCo shopping and nightlife district south of downtown Austin. As a subconsultant for landscape architecture, we were responsible for urban design and streetscape improvements within the city’s right-of-way. The initial design studies established a basis for planning and funding, and were used to seek buy-in from adjacent property owners.  Two portions of the project were implemented initially, creating inviting passageways where steep cliffs previously blocked pedestrian access.

A shady promenade on the block occupied by the Texas School for the Deaf provides a relaxed oasis that alleviates congestion and offers respite from the intense commercial activity on adjacent blocks.  On the second site, a stepped retaining wall and accessible sidewalk now offer an inviting connection between businesses along a route previously impassable to pedestrians. The retaining wall was carefully designed to address the steep topography with a consistent rhythm and seamless passage while protecting privacy for two historic residences sandwiched between commercial properties.