Richardson City Council approved the city’s Active Transportation Plan and the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plan, commonly called the Parks Master Plan, during a Feb. 27 meeting.

According to Parks and Recreation Director Lori Smeby, updating the Parks Master Plan will allow city officials to refocus efforts on improving trail connections within the city, implementing a signage program and adding gathering areas in specific parks, such as amphitheater space, civic plazas and lawns—all things she said residents need in terms of parks and other recreation uses. The plan also serves as a planning guide for prioritizing future projects based on funding opportunities.

The updated parks plan also includes expected trail connectivity improvements and plans to begin investing in a citywide Aquatics Facilities Master Plan, which would evaluate existing neighborhood pool conditions and explore the construction of an indoor aquatic center.

City officials said Richardson conducts an update to the parks master plan every five years and schedules a rewrite every 10 years. The last update to the plan was adopted in 2017.

The newly approved Active Transportation Plan, which is designed to connect off-street and on-street infrastructure for nonvehicle transportation, includes increasing the level of comfort for bike riders, creating bike trails that are safe for all ages and abilities, making transit connections within the region, and eliminating gaps in the biking network.

The proposed biking network would total 141 miles by adding 54 miles of bike trails to the 87 miles that already exist within the city. Project Manager Christian Lentz said during a February Council meeting the active transportation plan will allow 96% of all Richardson residents to be located within a five-minute walk, or 0.5 miles, of the active transportation network.

Both plans have been discussed by council since the start of 2022 and are part of a 2023 update for the city’s upcoming comprehensive plan. Updating the comprehensive plan is expected to last through 2024.