Bike Friendly Richardson

A Blog Promoting Two Wheel Love in Richardson

More Progress On Central Trail South

Central Trail South

This section is heading south to Spring Valley Station.

We’ve been following the progress on the Central Trail South (what we are calling the DART Trail section between Arapaho Road and 635 LBJ) and we are seeing some great progress. The last time we checked, the biggest barrier – which was building the trail over some creeks and drainage systems (between Belt Line Road and Spring Valley Road) – was requiring some major, time consuming construction.

From our latest inspection over the past weekend, we discovered that most of that construction is complete. All that remains, of the full trail extension, are just a few small pockets of missing trail, as well as the final, finishing touches. We’re hoping these are finished soon.

Central Trail South

This section is covering the new drainage systems.

We’ve also discovered a new addition to the Central Trail south – trail construction NORTH of Arapaho. You may remember us pointing out the ‘gap’ in the original plans for the trail extension, back in 2010. We were concerned that the connection to the south extension was nothing more than a narrow sidewalk. We are glad that this issue was addressed and they are now continuing the wider trail from Arapaho Road, all the way to Arapaho Station. We would love to see that gap eventually connect to the north part of the Central Trail.

Central Trail Connection

This is the new section north of Arapaho Road.

Filed under: Bike Change, Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , , , ,

New Pics Of The Central Trail Construction – Buckingham To Spring Valley

DART Central Trail - South End: Spring Valley To Buckingham

The Central Trail, southern extension – from Buckingham to Arapaho – is coming along nicely. The Central Trail goes north and south along the DART rail line which runs through Richardson. It will eventually connect Richardson, Plano and other suburban communities to the various parts of Dallas.

We’ve already posted pics of the ‘northern’ end of this extension that runs from Arapaho to Belt Line. Now, we’re seeing some great progress on the southern end, between Buckingham and Spring Valley. The trail isn’t officially open, so don’t head that way yet.

We’re not there yet. Even when complete, there is still a huge gap between Buckingham and the White Rock Creek Trail. Although more trail is needed to complete the connection, this Central Trail extension takes bicycle trail commuters one step closer. This is something DFW cyclists can get excited about. Here are some pics and observations.

This is the southern most end at Buckingham (facing north):
DART Central Trail - South End: Spring Valley To Buckingham

Here is the Spring Valley End (facing south):
DART Central Trail - South End: Spring Valley To Buckingham

Here is the Spring Valley End (image, not bike, facing north):
DART Central Trail - South End: Spring Valley To Buckingham

Here is the path along Spring Valley, heading to the signal crossing at Business Parkway. When we saw the plans for this, it originally seemed to be pretty narrow. It actually appears to be wider than a standard sidewalk. Without proper marking it may be confused as one.
DART Central Trail - South End: Spring Valley To Buckingham

Here is the trail connection on the north side of Spring Valley. As you can see, this is pretty wide and feels more like a multipurpose trail. This leads right into DART’s Spring Valley Station.
DART Central Trail - South End: Spring Valley To Buckingham

Filed under: Bike Friendly, Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , ,

The City of Richardson Talks About Their Trail Expansion

The City of Richardson is starting to realize that they need to really promote their bicycling friendliness. Over the past few years, they’ve made great efforts to improve awareness, expand the trail network and add traffic-calming bike lanes. However, aside from us at BFR and our cycling neighbors, folks in Texas rarely get to hear about it.

It seems like that is starting to change. Here is a video that they produced to promote the expansion of the Central Trail, along the DART rail line.

They are also talking about the expansion on the front page of the city’s monthly newsletter, Richardson Today. Here is a digital copy of that issue, featuring BFR friend and local cyclist, Marshall Hallberg.

RichardsonToday_Sept2013

Filed under: Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , , , ,

WANTED: Richardson Cyclist For Interview

Central Trail

ATTENTION RICHARDSON CYCLISTS!!

Ann Marie Shambaugh works for the City of Richardson’s Communications Department, and she is putting together a video package about the Central Trail. They need somebody in the local bicycling community who is eager to use the trail once it is complete. She’d like to do an on-camera interview with a Richardson resident or two who use the Central Trail and plan to use the extension once it is complete. She’d needs to do the interview before August 17.

Would anybody be interested? This would be a great opportunity to show our appreciation for the City’s cycling efforts. Please post here or send us a message if you are interested.

Filed under: City Stuff, ,

Updated Pics Of The Central Trail (South) Construction

Here are some updated pics of the new, southern link to the Central Trail.

Central Trail

Test Ride

Towards Completion

Heavy Equipment

 

Construction is still looking a bit light, south of Belt Line. We’ll keep you posted on any new updates.

Filed under: Bike Change, Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , , ,

Central Trail Construction (South) Coming Along Nicely

We’ve been keeping an eye on the construction of the southern extension of the Central Trail.

Central Trail is the trail that runs parallel to Central Expressway, along the DART Rail Red Line tracks. Currently, it starts at Renner Road at Routh Creek Parkway (where it connects to the Spring Creek Trail), and runs south to DART’s Arapaho Center Station – well, sort of. In our opinion, it really stops at about Alma Road, and becomes a sidewalk, along Greenville, until it reaches Arapaho Center Station. Read more about that here.

This new addition is designed to extend Central Trail south, from Arapaho Road to Buckingham Road – at the city limit. Future extensions will eventually connect it to the White Rock Creek Trail. We were also given some information that lead us to believe that the trail extension will connect to the Arapaho Center Station train platform, instead of the bus transfer station on the east side of Greenville Road. That would be fantastic if it actually happens.

Once this extension is complete, people will be able to walk or ride their bikes to three of the four DART train stations in Richardson (Spring Valley, Arapaho Center and Galatyn Park). The Bush Turnpike Station will have to wait for a future extension.

Here are some pics and descriptions of the current progress:

This shot was taken at the southwest corner of Arapaho Road And Greenville Avenue. You can see the DART tracks to the right and Greenville Avenue to the left.

North End, Just South of Arapaho

This shot was taken a bit further south along Greenville Avenue. As you can see, they’re making every effort to save the trees.

Trees Saved

This shot was taken even further south along Greenville Avenue. Here you can see how the trail will coexist with the DART Red Line.

Morning Train

This pic was taken just south of the Jackson Street crossing.

From Jackson To Belt Line

As you can see, the trail isn’t ready to ride.

Missing Section

As the trail approaches Belt Line Road, it actually crosses under the DART Rail track overpass.

Under The Tracks By Belt Line

This is where the trail will cross Belt Line Road. The city has decided that the light at Interurban will be the best place to cross.

Belt Line Crossing At Interurban

Once across Belt Line Road, the trail is lost at this parking lot entrance. It eventually begins again at the rail underpass.

South Side of Belt Line (Facing East)

The trail construction seems to end at Polk Street.

Ends At Polk Street

I rode a bit further south to find this bridge being built at Phillips Street. Not seeing a current plan, I can only guess that this will have a roll in the extension of Central Trail.

New Bridge At Phillips Drive

I didn’t get a chance to ride down to Spring Valley Station. I’ll try to get down there next weekend to check on any progress down there.

Filed under: Bike Change, Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , , , ,

Richardson City Council Awards Bid for Central Trail Construction

End Bike Route - Red Line

 

From the City of Richardson weekly newsletter:

The City Council on Monday awarded a bid of $3.4 million to Ed Bell Construction Company to extend the Central Trail 1.9 miles from the Arapaho Road DART Station to the southern city limit. Construction of the 10-foot wide concrete multiuse trail is expected to begin in April and last for about one year. 

The $4 million project is funded through Dallas County and the City of Richardson’s 2010 Bond Program. The lowest bid to construct the trail came in about $400,000 over budget, so the City removed some amenities such as irrigation systems, landscaping, and benches to be constructed in a possible second phase at a future date. The City also hopes to use $600,000 in Regional Tollway Revenue funds awarded for the Central Trail to help enhance the project. 

The Central Trail currently runs from the Spring Creek Trail in north Richardson and ends at the Arapaho Road DART Station. The extension will run alongside the DART rail line and is planned to eventually connect with the Richardson city limit to the south and a future connection to the Dallas’ White Rock Creek Trail

Watch the City Council presentation at http://bit.ly/V6oiYQ.

We are extremely excited that this is happening and we’d still like to see the small gap in the plan addressed.

Filed under: Bike Change, Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , , , , , , , ,

Richardson City Council Receives Update on Central Trail

Trail

From the City of Richardson‘s weekly newsletter:

The City Council received an update Monday on the extension of the Central Trail, which runs from the Spring Creek Trail in north Richardson and currently ends at the Arapaho Road DART Station. Plans call for the trail to extend to Richardson’s southern city limit and eventually connect with Dallas’ White Rock Creek Trail. 

The City expects to begin construction on the trail in January and complete the project in early 2014. The 1.9-mile extension will cost $4 million and is funded through Richardson’s 2010 Bond Program and Dallas County. 

Watch the work session presentation at http://bit.ly/P8H54b.

We’re pretty excited about this extension and what it would mean for connecting the east side of Richardson to the White Rock Creek Trail (although the current plan doesn’t extend that far, just yet). This would make commuting into Dallas – via multi-purpose trails – pretty easy.

We still have our reservations of how the trail is planned just north of Arapaho, connecting to the Arapaho DART station and the existing portion of the trail to the north. So far, it’s just a narrow sidewalk and there are no plans to re-route or widen it. Click here to see our post on this.

Filed under: Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , ,

Trail Under Central Progress – West Side Ramp

Sidewalk Ends - Ready For Forms

View of the underpass from the west side

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve checked the progress on the trail passages under Central Expressway. The north underpass looks about the same, but I believe there has been progress on the actual west side trail heading to Alama (along the PGB Tollway). We’ll investigate that in a couple of weeks.

The south of Renner Road underpass has made some great progress. All of the heavy construction equipment is gone indicating that most of the structural work is complete. All that remains is actually building the path. The ramp on the west side of Central Expressway (next to the QMACS building) is mostly complete as well. Check out some pics that we took:

Ramp To The Under Central Trail - West Side

Start of the west side ramp

Down The Ramp

West side ramp leading to the underpass trail

Going Back Up The Ramp

View of the west side ramp - from the underpass

Follow our coverage of this trail construction:

November 28, 2010
September 26, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
July 25, 2010
June 13, 2010
May 8, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 11, 2010
December 5, 2010
February 13, 2011

Filed under: Bike Change, Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , , ,

We’d Like To Address A Small Gap In The Central Trail Plan

Trail End

Here's Where The Good Trail Ends

We are very fortunate to have such an aggressive Bike and Pedestrian Plan in Richardson. The city planners are doing a great job retrofitting some new trails and bike lanes into an older, built-out infrastructure.

In that plan is the Central Trail, which will provide passage through Richardson. When completed, it will run through the central part of town, along the DART Rail Red Line, giving us, and all of our northern neighbors, a nice connection to the Dallas trail network.

Earlier this month, the City of Richardson presented the first draft of their plan to continue the Central Trail further south. Right now, the only existing part runs from Renner Road (patched through the Spring Creek Trail until it connects at Glenville Drive) to Arapaho Road. The new plan shows how the trail will continue from Arapaho Road, south towards Buckingham Road.

Although it’s a great plan, we feel that there are usability gaps within the existing part of the Central Trail that should be addressed as well. The following is our evaluation of the the part just south of Campbell Road and how we think it can be improved.

THE CURRENT TRAIL:
If you’ve walked or biked this part of the trail, you’ll be familiar with our references. Technically, the trail is complete from Campbell Road to Arapaho Road, which is why this section is not in the current extension plan. The concerns we have are with some minor aesthetics as well as some issues with usability that hinder the trail from being a complete success.

See The Rough Parts Of The Existing Trail

First, the minor aesthetics. About a third of a mile south from Campbell Road, you’ll note that the nicely paved trail ends. From there it becomes rough, narrow and overgrown with grass. This rough patch continues across and down the east side of Greenville Avenue until it reaches the Tecktronics parking lot at Collins Boulevard.

Rough Trail

Rough Part Of The Trail

We realize that this is nitpicking, but if the City is spending the money to continue the trail, they should look into completing the trail experience by matching the rest of the trail.

Next is trail usability. Because of limited real estate next to the DART tracks, you can see why the trail jumps to the other side of Greenville Avenue. Since this trail leads to the DART Arapaho Station entrance, which is on the east side of Greenville Avenue, we’re okay with that. Considering the limitations in the existing infrastructure, we also understand how the trail runs narrow in some parts.

East Side Greenville at Woodall Facing South

Trail - a.k.a. Sidewalk Just South Of Woodall Drive

Our bigger concern is when the trail passes just south of the Arapaho DART Rail station. After the trail crosses Woodall Drive, it becomes a glorified sidewalk all the way to Arapaho Road. Here it’s too narrow for multi-use traffic. To make this worse, the shrubs along this part of the trail are overgrown and blocking even more space. In our opinion, this becomes a gap in the trail plan.

WE PROPOSE THIS SOLUTION:
Since the current plan to continue the Central Trail south from Arapaho Road starts on the WEST side of Greenville Avenue, perhaps we should look at crossing Greenville at Woodall Drive instead of Arapaho Road. This makes sense for a few reasons.

Click To See Our Suggested Solution

Let’s talk space. As mentioned, the limitations of real estate made sense to pull the trail to the east side of Greenville Avenue. This becomes less true at Woodall Drive. There is actually more space on the west side of Greenville Avenue at this point — plenty of space for a wider trail.

West Side Greenville Facing South

Wider West Side Of Greenville

Let’s talk convenience. If you put a crossing at Woodall Drive and continue the trail from there, connecting the new new addition of the Central Trail (which is planned to start on the west side of Greenville Avenue) becomes more seamless.

Let’s talk safety. The current plan is to get trail traffic to cross the intersection at Greenville Avenue on the north side of Arapaho Road, and then cross Arapaho Road on the west side of Greenville Avenue. From experience, we know this to be an extremely busy intersection with lots of auto traffic coming from multiple directions. We feel that reducing the crossings at this intersections to just one would help with safety.

We realize that putting a crossing on Greenville Avenue, at Woodall Drive – an intersection not protected by traffic lights – might seem less safe. However,  the trail already crosses Greenville Avenue – further north at Alma Road – under the same traffic conditions. If it’s safe enough at Alma Road, why not at Woodall Drive. In fact, we feel it’s easier for crossers to watch for auto traffic in just two directions instead of the many at Arapaho Road.

Greenville Crossing West Side Greenville

Trail Crossing Greenville Avenue at Alma Road

WHAT DO YOU THINK?:
Of course, this is all based on seat-of-our-pants, traveled experience on this trail and we haven’t pulled any statistical data that supports this as a better solution. We’d love to hear what you think about this. IF you’ve been on this part of the Central Trail, we’d like to hear your opinion on our solution and/or what you would do differently.

Click here to see a map.

Click here to see more shots.

Filed under: Bike Trails and Routes, City Stuff, , ,

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