Correction: The improvements did not include the installation of bulb-out curbs at the intersection of MKT Trail and Houston Avenue.

Officials with the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority announced Sept. 21 the completion of improvements on Houston's MKT Trail as well as an extension of the trail's westbound end point.

The big picture

The MKT Trail connects parts of the Greater Heights, Woodland Heights and the Sawyer Yards Arts District while also connecting White Oak Bayou to the area where Buffalo Bayou heads toward Downtown Houston. MHRA officials said they targeted the trail for safety and accessibility improvements after noticing increased use, which they said was causing more crashes and confusion among trail users.

The details

The work done on the MKT trail took the form of several smaller projects, a spokesperson for the authority said, including improvements on Heights Boulevard and specific improvements on the MKT Trail itself.

The improvements announced Sept. 21 included:
  • The installation of 30 new concrete street name markers to serve as wayfinding aids
  • The installation of new signage and pavement markings, including some that are equipped with new stop signs
  • The installation bulb-out curbs at where the trail crosses White Oak Drive, a design meant to shorten pedestrian crossing distances in high-traffic areas
  • Straightening the trail crossing of White Oak Drive to reduce the number of people in the roadway
  • Adding a new raised crossing at where the trail crosses Heights Boulevard at Seventh Street in an effort to slow cars down and make trail users more visible to drivers
  • Restriping and widening bike lanes from Washington Avenue to I-10
  • Adding a shared-use path between Washington Avenue and Center Street
What they're saying

"The improvements made to the MKT Trail are aligned with our commitment to enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors to the area,” MHRA Chair Ann Lents said in a statement. “We are encouraged, knowing that pedestrians and cyclists will be able to navigate the trail more confidently, assured that their safety has been the top priority in implementing these changes.”

What else

The MHRA also built a new MKT Trail segment from the White Oak Bayou Trail at Moy Street that travels under TC Jester Boulevard and around to Kansas Street. Along the trail, officials also placed new sod, trees and fencing to help keep trail users separated from the rail lines, according to the Sept. 21 release.