The Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association’s January meeting featured Betsy Edmond, Associate Director of Friends of the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is a 3.5-mile pedestrian and bike path which traces the greenbelt along which the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT or “Katy”) Railroad traveled through Dallas.
In 1993, three miles of railway were donated by Union Pacific Railroads to the City of Dallas. Initial funding for the Katy Trail was obtained by county and federal grants. The Trail currently features a 12-foot-wide concrete path for cyclists, skaters, runners and walkers.
Upon completion, the Trail will extend almost 4 miles, linking Mockingbird DART station between Central Expressway and Greenville Avenue to the American Airlines Center near downtown Dallas. In addition to the concrete path, an 8-foot-wide, soft-surface track made from recycled running shoes will be built parallel to the existing Trail.
The Friends organization has created a Trail that connects 125 acres of interrupted urban parkland for more than 300,000 residents who live within a mile of the park. The Katy Trail is also an essential piece in Dallas’ plan to connect White Rock Lake to the Trinity River via a county-wide network of trails.
Ms. Edmond was able to let us know about some of the exciting things happening on the Katy Trail.
The Friends completed its largest project to date this summer when the Reverchon Park Project opened in June 2007. The project features the Thomsen Overlook, Briggs Freeman Plaza, a 750 foot wheelchair-accessible ramp and a beautiful open meadow in the park that is sure to see many an afternoon football or soccer game.
The Friends has secured more than $1.5 million to build a plaza on the Katy Trail overlooking Lee Park, Arlington Hall and the beautiful fountain at Lee Park. Preliminary designs for the project have been presented, and construction will start later this year.
If you’ve seen a golf cart driving on the Trail, it’s okay because it’s the new Trail Monitor – Bill Williams. Bill is on the Trail several times a week to make sure things like graffiti removal and other maintenance are taken care of for Trail users. If you have any Trail questions, feel free to ask Bill.
The contractor who is installing the lighting was given the notice to proceed in January 2008. They’ve been marking where the poles will be and have started installing the conduit. Lighting installation up to Knox Street will be completed by May 3.
The Communities Foundation of Texas is giving the Friends of the Katy Trail $100,000 to go toward finishing lighting the entire Trail. There is some fundraising to do because lighting the rest of the Trail will cost more than $150,000, so click here if you want to help The Friends reach their goal. If fundraising is accomplished quickly, the additional sections can be added to the contractor’s project and could potentially have the entire Trail lit by June 1.
The City of Dallas currently has funding for construction for the four sections of Trail that will create the Katy Trail extension to White Rock Lake. While crossing Central Expressway will still require using the McCommas bridge, the trail will then continue up to Mockingbird and will follow the DART tracks out to White Rock Lake.
The City has run into design challenges regarding crossing Mockingbird, but they are working to develop that plan and have had public meetings regarding plans. Known as the Katy Trail Extension, the trail will run through Glencoe Park then between Hotel Palomar and Public Storage before crossing Mockingbird with a pedestrian bridge.
Final designs of the pedestrian bridge were unveiled December 2007 by councilmember Angela Hunt. At the open-house meeting, participants browsed presentation boards illustrating bridge designs. City staff and their design consultants gave a brief overview and listened to questions and concerns voiced by area residents, including members of your LGNA board.
The Friends have a new blog where you can ask questions and find out a variety of information about the Katy Trail and other trail-related news. Everyone is encouraged to check it regularly because it will be updated several times a week. Betsy Edmond urged area residents to learn about progress of the Katy Trail at www.KatyTrailDallas.Blogspot.com.
If you’re not currently a Friend, consider joining at www.KatyTrailDallas.org to help keep the Trail clean, safe and beautiful. Betsy Edmond can be contacted at 214-303-1180 or Betsy@KatyTrailDallas.org