Thursday, February 26, 2009

We are Not Alone

There's a new Katy Trail joining our favorite one in Dallas and the other, rural Katy Trail in Missouri. Please welcome Houston as the newest member of the Katy Trail family. While it's still under construction, supporters in the Heights area of our fellow Texas city are getting more excited. Check out this blog post from Houston Press for the latest.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Opera Buffs Love the Trail

What did Opera Conducter Pietro Rizzo notice when he came back to Dallas to conduct La Boheme this week? The Katy Trail, of course. Click here for the full story.

Red Oaks Staying Put -- For Now

The Red Oak trees on the east side of the Katy Trail adjacent to the Thomsen Overlook at Reverchon Park were supposed to be moved in mid-February to another location along the Trail. The reason they need to be relocated is because Oncor (formerly TXU) said they are too big to be under their power lines.

Unfortunately, the company that was going to do that for the Friends of the Katy Trail pro bono has backed out. So the job is on hold pending other options that won't cost the FKT thousands of dollars.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Complete Streets Generating Interest

Following a column in The Dallas Morning News by FKT Executive Director Eric Van Steenburg in December, several media outlets have shown interest in the concept of "complete streets."

First it was "Think" with Krys Boyd on KERA radio that discussed the topic when Van Steenburg and bike-ped guru Mia Birk were interviewed. Now, the Advocate magazine is on the case with a cover story in all of its editions about the Dallas trail plan. Included on the Advocate website is a podcast interview with Councilmember Angela Hunt and our favorite Executive Director. Click here to check it out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Light at Hall to be Fixed Next Week

The contractor that installed the lighting on the Katy Trail informs us that the parts are in for the replacement of the light on the Trail just south of the Hall Street bridge. Expect to see crews repairing that light sometime next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tell Us What You Like ... Or Don't

We've got a fun online survey that takes almost five (5) minutes to complete. If you haven't had a chance yet, please take it by clicking here. We definitely appreciate your feedback and interest in the Trail.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Congress Keeps Trail Funds

Last week we mentioned that the House of Representatives had millions of dollars for Transportation Enhancements -- the largest federal funding source for trails as well as bike-ped improvements -- in the stimulus bill, but that the Senate version did not. We suggested that you could contact your elected officials to help protect the TE funding if you wanted.

Apparently a lot of people did. And Congress listened. Click here to see a news release from the Rails to Trails Conservancy on the bill.

Congress allocated $825 million to TE. While this is less than 2 percent of transportation funding in the whole bill, it is twice as much TE spending for communities like ours than ever before.

These hundreds of millions of dollars for TE will allow communities across the country to create jobs by building trails and other infrastructure immediately, while simultaneously addressing congestion, environmental concerns, the obesity epidemic and economic challenges in the long-term.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No, that wasn't KT naked on the Trail

Contrary to popular belief, KT informs us that it was not he who was naked, painted orange and hanging out at 11 a.m. on the Trail last Thursday. The witnesses of the bizarre act say that the naked man was painted a terracotta color. KT says he prefers terra firma.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dallas and the Bike Queen

When the Friends of the Katy Trail helped lead a feasibility study to improve the bicycle and pedestrian connections between the Trail and downtown, the consulting firm hired was Alta Planning+Design out of Portland, Ore. The principal and founder of Alta is Mia Birk, who personally worked on the design of what has become known as the Katy Trail-Arts Loop Connection. Here's a great story about how Birk became the expert she is, and how Dallas is on her list of cities to convert.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Safe Routes to School - our Poster

A column in Sunday's edition of The Dallas Morning News talked about the growing obesity epidemic in Dallas, and said the City and DISD needed to implement the "safe routes to school" program as a way to combat the problem. Click here to see the opinion piece.

The Katy Trail -- along with other trails, bike lanes and improved pedestrian access -- is a great way to get kids active again and could be part of these programs. And today, someone sent the Friends of the Katy Trail a link to what could be the poster to support this initiative. Check it out by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Federal Funds for Trails

The U.S. Senate passed the stimulus package today. Officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, the Senate version left out something that the House version had that is very important to trail lovers -- funding for Transportation Enhancements.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy, of which the Friends of the Katy Trail is a member, identified more than $3.4 billion worth of shovel-ready Transportation Enhancement projects that create new bicycle and pedestrian routes and trails across the country. Among those, the Katy Trail leadership has identified almost $8 million in projects that improve the Katy Trail or make important connections to other trails and destinations.

If you'd like to help make sure these Transportation Enhancement funds remain in the final bill, simply call or email your U.S. Representative and encourage them to protect these funds as this bill goes to the House-Senate conference committee.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New York Times Loves the Katy Trail

The New York Times did an article on "36 Hours in Dallas." Most importantly the Katy Trail was mentioned. Click here to check our what New Yorkers are saying about the Trail you already know and love.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Turf Tales

At the end of this month, Moore Lawn and Garden will adjust the mowing length of the turf on the Trail in order to remove damaged blades. Now, because Moore Lawn and Garden understands that healthy turf makes Katy Trail users happy, they will be adjusting the height by one setting over a two week period in order to ensure that the turf remains healthy. Even more exciting news is that Moore Lawn and Garden is a good friend to the Trail and has recently gone green! They now recycle their lawn and garden waste and now use burlap bags, which are more eco friendly than trash bags. So next time you travel down the Trail, be sure to admire the beautiful and healthy turf and remember that your membership helps to pay for upkeep of the Trail.

Dedo's Place Nears Construction Phase

The official pre-construction meeting for the plaza/entry project near the north end of the Katy Trail -- a.k.a. Dedo's Place -- was Wednesday and went well. The only thing standing in the way of starting construction is approval by the City of the contractor's certificate of insurance. The contractor, Valley Crest Landscape Development, said they'd get that certificate to the City by the end of the week. If all goes well, it's possible that we will break ground by March 1. To see a rendering of Dedo's Place, click here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trees Moving North

The dozen Red Oaks that are along the back of the Thomsen Overlook adjacent to the chain link fence will be getting a new home. Sometime in the first two weeks of February, Fannin Tree Farms will be digging up these trees and moving them about a mile north along the Katy Trail. The new home for the trees will likely be in the median between the main trail and pedestrian path around Lemmon Avenue.

So don't be alarmed when you see these trees being dug up. They're moving to a better place and will be replaced with other trees.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Plaza Bid Package Complete

SWA Group -- the landscape architects of record for the Friends of the Katy Trail -- has substantially completed enough of the designs on the project to build a plaza on the Trail overlooking Lee Park that it has put together a bid package. The package will be sent to general contractors who have the capability to construct such a delicate project in the green public space that is shared between the Katy Trail and Lee Park.

Once the bid package is mailed to GCs with an invitation to bid, a pre-bid meeting is held to answer any questions the bidding companies may have. Bids are typically due three weeks after the bid package is mailed. If the current dates hold on the construction schedule, expect to see work begin by the end of March.