Hiking and biking trails have been very popular in Dallas, and city council on Wednesday approved several new segments.
The heavily trafficked Katy Trail ends at a dead end near the American Airlines Center where there are no lanes reserved for runners or cyclists heading south or west from there.
Garrett Rodriguez is a cycling commuter. He uses the Katy Trail to get to work. This is exactly the sort of thing the Dallas executives want to encourage.
“There aren’t a lot of cycle lanes in the whole city so if there was another link to cycle lanes that would be just great,” Rodriquez said.
The way west of the Katy Trail requires passage under the Stemmons Freeway and DART tracks.
Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved $ 1.5 million to add bike lanes and sidewalks to the Hi Line Drive underpass and a new trail in the middle of Hi Line Drive west of the freeway to connect to other trails.
“It would be great. I would love to see that as soon as possible,” said Rodriguez.
The Hi Line Connector is a key part of The Loop Trail, a 50 mile circuit planned around the entire city.
A section of the Trinity Forest Spine Trail of this loop received over $ 3 million on Wednesday.
Philip Haight directs the Conservatory of the circuit trail, which is the main booster of the loop.
“More than half of The Loop’s funding will now be spent on transportation funding and this is a big change from the past because in the past, trails were only considered recreation,” said Haight.
Haight spoke on Wednesday near another segment of trail under construction that connects an Oak Cliff neighborhood to a DART station. The trails provide transport on foot and by bicycle in a city designed primarily for cars.
“It’s absolutely a different philosophy,” Haight said.
Another $ 910,000 will link the Oak Cliff Trail to the Margaret McDermott Hike and Biking Bridge over the Trinity River.
Ronnette and Eric Horton, who live nearby, crossed this bridge on Wednesday with their 19-month-old son Ahsyaad in his stroller.
“That’s good, sure. Especially on this side of town. They’ve been talking about developing it for at least a decade and now they’re finally getting there, ”said Eric Horton.
Ronnette Horton said she grew up in West Dallas and appreciates the changes taking place in her city.
“It’s change. And for the good it seems to be, for the good,” she said. “If you are able to go somewhere, if you are able to walk and use your feet. or even a bike, you can’t beat that.
The trial decisions were unanimously approved on Wednesday. City Councilor Omar Narvaez, who represents West Dallas, has spoken out strongly in favor of the Hi Line link.
“That’s when we get things done, and we do them well and we do them well,” he said.
Councilor Chad West, who represents North Oak Cliff, has just been appointed mayor of Dallas Pro Tem.
“It’s a real victory for connectivity, for runners, walkers, cyclists,” West said. “The future of our city is to pay more attention to things other than cars.”
It will take several more years to complete all of the work approved on Wednesday.
Haight said approximately 21 miles of the 50-mile loop have been completed and all projects for the loop will be under construction over the next two years.