Historic Bryker Woods is an older central city neighborhood with a mix of young and old families. It is a predominantly single family neighborhood composed of mostly small homes in good condition. It has its own Elementary School and is convenient to retail, educational, recreational and medical facilities. The neighborhood is threatened by the intrusion of the Seton Medical Center and associated doctors offices from its northeast corner and the MoPac freeway the the west. Traffic generated by nearby commercial uses and traffic passing through the neighborhood are negative conditions which must be addressed. Nevertheless, the neighborhood has many positive features, such as its trees and park & greenbelt access, convenient location, well-built homes, and community spirit. Bryker Woods in it’s entirety is located within Travis County voting Precinct #214 – a precinct well known for active voter participation.
The Bryker Woods neighborhood is composed of approximately 747 lots (see map.) An assessment made in 1987 indicated that approximately 721 of these lots were used entirely for residential purposes; and it should be noted that there has been substantial additional non-residential land use along Jefferson Ave. to the north of the neighborhood between West 35th St. and Bull Creek. Historic bridges span Shoal Creek connecting Bryker Woods to the University of Texas campus and the central business district. While there are no large open spaces or areas of undeveloped land within the neighborhood, the natural environment of the neighborhood is one of its greatest assets. Within the neighborhood, mature trees line the streets and provide shade for the houses. Shoal Creek forms a part of the eastern border of the neighborhood and the hike and bike trail can be followed to Pease Park and beyond. Bailey Park is within walking distance. The Bryker Woods neighborhood is also located in a part of Austin where there is a tremendous diversity of running and cycling routes.
The urban environment is also important to Bryker Woods neighborhood. The retail and restaurant establishments along the 35th Street corridor are convenient and within walking distance. There is a residential scale in the neighborhood which produces an ambiance mentioned repeatedly by residents as one of the things they like best about the neighborhood. This is produced by the mix of housing ages and styles, most of them modest in size and scale, with lot sizes and setbacks large enough to provide for reasonable privacy but small enough to permit (indeed encourage) interaction among residents. The yards are unpretentious, but generally well kept. The streets are narrow and, as mentioned, well shaded with mature trees. Read more about Bryker Woods “style.”
The Bryker Woods neighborhood has recently experienced the construction of new homes, the remodeling and sometimes removal of older ones. Subsequently the Bryker Woods neighborhood has become extremely sensitive to developers coming into the neighborhood and violating SF-3 building regulations. Of particular concern are developers purchasing properties and scraping the homes (i.e. tearing the home down) without a city permit. While the Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association (BWNA) fully respects the right of property owners to do what ever is permitted within the SF-3 zoning regulation, the neighborhood association will see to it that builders and individuals desiring to remodel remain honest and true to the SF-3 regulations.
The neighborhood has traditionally enjoyed its proximity to the University of Texas, the Capitol Complex, and downtown. These are centers of employment, education, entertainment and public activity within the City. Its central location makes it equally accessible to north and south Austin. Convenient retail services and facilities are within walking distance to most of the neighborhood.
Bryker Woods is a vital part of a major asset to the City of Austin and its central city neighborhoods. It is a resource for home ownership and a quality of life for a variety of lifestyles including school age families. As a pleasant inner city residential neighborhood, Bryker Woods enjoys a mutually beneficial or symbiotic relationship with the Shoal Creek greenbelt on the east and the Pemberton Heights neighborhood on the south. Bryker Woods is a walking and bicycling neighborhood. It is conveniently located within the City and a convenient direct bus routes connecting the neighborhood with the University and downtown district. Traffic concerns continue to worry residents. While MoPac and West 35th Street provide convenient access to neighborhood goods and services the tremendous levels of traffic and potential development density pose a threat to the well-being of the neighborhood in the absence of careful planning.
Bryker Woods has been a part of the West Austin Neighborhood Group (aka WANG) since WANG was founded in 1973. In 1983, the Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association was formed. Although BWNA is an independent neighborhood association, it is also an affiliate of WANG, which means that both groups coordinate activities and that Bryker Woods residents are eligible for membership in both groups.