Richardson makes headway on major trail projects

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Richardson is weeks away from making good on a nearly two-decade-old agreement to provide a key trail corridor within a regional system.

The 1.5-mile extension of Duck Creek Trail begins at the intersection of Apollo and Plano roads and runs north along Plano. At Arapaho Road, it goes west and enters the creek corridor before proceeding north to Collins Boulevard. From there, it jogs west to connect with an existing concrete hike-and-bike trail on Collins. The $3.1 million project—paid for by federal, county and city dollars—should wrap up in November.

“When we are done with this current project, we will have fully completed the entire trail corridor that was identified in the Six Cities Trail Plan,” Parks Superintendent Kurt Beilharz said at a June meeting.

In 2001, Richardson, Garland, Plano, McKinney, Frisco and Allen entered into the Six Cities Trail Plan, which sought to create a main trail spine that could connect the six cities, Beilharz said. The original plan identified a handful of trail corridors and connection points; however, the system has grown as each city builds upon its respective trail system.

The Duck Creek corridor includes several existing and future connections into nearby cities. At Collins and US 75, it will meet up with the Central Trail, which runs north to CityLine and connects with city of Plano. The southeastern point of the Duck Creek Trail at Belt Line and Jupiter roads abuts the city of Garland, where planning for a future connection is underway.

The extension will also provide residents with a more direct route that eliminates some of the detours made to avoid dangerous roads, said Richard Wezensky, founder of advocacy and social group Bike Friendly Richardson.

“Sometimes, the safest route isn’t the quickest or shortest route,” he said. “Having things like the Duck Creek connection helps reduce [the need] to go out of your way to get places in a safe way.”

Another goal is to provide a future southbound connection into the city of Dallas via the Central Trail, Beilharz said. Dallas County is heading up a feasibility study to make that project a reality, he added.

“I am completely psyched about that,” said Wezensky, who bikes to Dallas to get to work. “It will make my commute a whole lot better.”

Officials in Richardson are positioning the Duck Creek Trail as a key feature of the newly minted IQ, a 1,200-acre industrial area east of US 75 that has, for the past several years, been the subject of an in-depth, city-led revitalization effort. The hope is that the trail will encourage residents and visitors to access new businesses and restaurants by bike or on foot.

“As we look at these new spaces we create and the places we create, ... it is neat to see these systems being incorporated,” Mayor Paul Voelker said.

In August, the city wrapped up another trail extension in the Breckinridge Park trails system that connects into Plano and Murphy. The $780,000 project was partly funded through a grant from Collin County, which has set aside $2 million per year until 2023 for open space projects, such as regional trails and trail connectors. The money comes from a $10 million bond proposition approved by voters in 2018.

Park and trail construction and maintenance was deemed essential by the city during the pandemic; as such, fiscal constraints tied to a slowdown in economic activity have not affected the progress of either project, Beilharz said.

Another trail project began in August in the Spring Creek Nature Area. The city is building two new concrete segments of trail extending from entrances on Renner Road into the nature area. The $614,000 effort is expected to last through January.

Trails in Richardson are being used now “more than ever,” Beilharz said. This increased demand could serve as a boon for future local and regional projects, said Beilharz, who is engaged in talks with the city of Plano about a potential connection via Alma Road under the President George Bush Turnpike.

“We are always interested in opportunities where we can bring a trail into our city to create a connection,” he said.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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