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.
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.
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.
This shot was taken a bit further south along Greenville Avenue. As you can see, they’re making every effort to save the trees.
This shot was taken even further south along Greenville Avenue. Here you can see how the trail will coexist with the DART Red Line.
This pic was taken just south of the Jackson Street crossing.
As you can see, the trail isn’t ready to ride.
As the trail approaches Belt Line Road, it actually crosses under the DART Rail track overpass.
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.
Once across Belt Line Road, the trail is lost at this parking lot entrance. It eventually begins again at the rail underpass.
The trail construction seems to end 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.
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.
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.
Last night, the City of Richardson had a public input meeting over the planned southern extension of the Central Trail which runs along the DART Rail Red Line. Representatives from the city as well as consultants from Newman Jackson Bieberstein and Freese and Nichols were there to explain the first public draft of this plan. Here are some brief notes from that meeting.
First let’s talk location. The extension of the trail will run along the DART Rail from Arapaho Road at Greenville, all the way to Buckingham Road (approximately 1.9 miles). This will be a continuation of the Central Trail that already runs from Arapaho Road to Renner Road and will eventually be part of the larger, Dallas plan to have a connecting network of trails within several neighboring cities. The city already has an existing agreement with DART to run the trail from Arapaho to Main Street and is now negotiating the remaining distance.
We won’t give you much information about the trail itself, since they are still in the preliminary planning stages. An updated, more detailed version will be available early next year. Currently, the plan is to have a 10 foot wide multi-use trail that continues the same aesthetic of the existing portion of the trail. Beyond the hurtles of having to negotiate these trails cross major cross streets, the city is also having to deal with drainage and other infrastructure issues. When completed, the plan is to have multiple access points for users as well as emergency vehicles.
Here is the tentative schedule of this project:
– Now- April 2011: Continued studies and design
– May 2011: Second public meeting to discuss the updates to the design
– Summer 2011: Bidding
– Fall 2011 – Spring 2012: Construction
– Summer 2012: Completion
As a side note, the city will eventually extend this trail further south, beyond Buckingham, and connect with the Cottonwood and White Rock Trails.