San Antonio Trail Design

January 2019   San Antonio, TX


  • San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department


  • Big Red Dog

Trail strategy guides to establish design principles that integrate sustainable and universal designs that highlight the unique character of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Key Points

A multi-functional trail design, envisioned as a seam intersecting surrounding neighborhoods, neighborhood seams, integrates recreation elements with Low Impact Design features.

Urban Ecology

The project integrated low impact development (LID) features, such as green infrastructure and flood-mitigating plants, in tandem with recreational aspects. The Low Impact Development Design Tool Kit provided recommendations for designs for rain gardens and swales, as well as pollinators and species of trees to integrate along the trail and in the LID features.

Culturally Competent Design

The Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System was divided into distinct “Character Areas” and envisioned the network of parks as not only a recreational feature, but intersecting seams of neighborhoods. Distinct designs for shade structures, bike racks, and other elements were produced influenced by the communities surrounding the parks.

Multifunctional Trails

The project envisioned trails as serving multiple users and functions, including accessible and inclusive recreation, regeneration and support of the surrounding natural systems, and mitigation of urban heat. The project created design visions and interventions, and toolkits for site furnishings, hardscape elements, LID features, programming and public art to activate the trails, and other potential interventions.

Asakura Robinson worked with the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department to develop a framework for enhancing and expanding the City of San Antonio’s ambitious Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System. While the current system already includes 65 miles of trail segments following four principal creekways though and around the city, with 8 additional miles of trail currently under construction and 40 miles in planning and design, the system needed standards to make it a truly signature feature of the city for residents and tourists alike. With over 1,450 acres of creekway lands acquired for the trail system at project kickoff, the system was in vital need of standard features and sustainable design principles that both facilitate new trail projects and make the overall system more cohesive.

Asakura Robinson’s scope included regional analysis and context research; development of a set of typical trail sections; identification of unique character areas on the trail; and, a design toolkit with site furnishing items focused on unifying the aesthetic identity of the trail, green infrastructure features focused on enhancing the ecology and connection to nature on the trail, and placemaking and infrastructure recommendations that further the City of San Antonio’s goals to unify the aesthetics, ecologies, and communities connected to the greenway system.

Souly Austin September 2018   Austin, TX