Cypress Creek Master Trails Plan could feature pathways, sidewalks, bike lanes

Parks, pathway projects ongoing along Hwy. 249 corridorA plan nearly four years in the making, the Cypress Creek Master Trails Plan provides a blueprint for several miles of pathways and other amenities that could be built throughout the area around Louetta Road and Hwy. 249. If funded by local utility districts, the trails would connect several communities to Cypress Creek, various parks and retail development in The Vintage.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity for maintaining the vitality of this area," said Jim Robertson, chair of the Cypress Creek Greenway Project and one of the project partners for the plan. "If we can pull partners together and get funding together to get a common vision for connectivity for the area, we feel it could really set this area apart."

Houston-based consulting firm EHRA and several local municipal utility districts presented a review of the plan to dozens of residents Jan. 28 at the West Dining Room at Lone Star College-University Park. The plan outlined possible trails and connectivity improvements in the 13.5-square-mile area that stretches roughly from Eldridge Parkway to Old Louetta Road and from Spring Cypress Road south to Grant Road.

Katie Golzarri, department manager of landscape architecture for EHRA, presented four kinds of pathways and standard changes that could be added to the area's 16 square miles of existing trails: major corridor trails, minor trails, sidewalks and bike paths. Major corridor trails—the widest proposed paths—could follow Cypress Creek, Faulkey Gully and Pillot Gully, while minor trails would connect from other neighborhoods to those trails.

The bike lanes could be added to roads with existing roadway space, such as Cypresswood Drive or streets within the Prestonwood subdivision, Golzarri said. Sidewalks were proposed for some locations, including The Vintage, where residents and employees could get to and from retail and dining and to the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve—a future park that could be built within The Vintage.

"[The Vintage developers] are very interested in improved connectivity," Golzarri said. "They definitely see the economics of bringing more people onto that property."

EHRA presented maps of proposed roadways for each of the five MUDs who are partners on the project, including the Lake Forest Utility District, Prestonwood Utility District, Malcomson Road Utility District and Harris County MUDs No. 286 and 468.

Golzarri said EHRA would collect input from residents and partners from the meeting and make necessary changes to the final plan, which will be available online in mid-February. She said estimated costs for many of the projects will be included in the final plan. Once it is complete, project partners can take the information from the plan back to their boards and consider how to fund projects within their districts.

"[For] those trail segments that are in each MUD district, that MUD district will be responsible for the design," said Jack Sakolosky, president of the Lake Forest Utility District and chair of the trails project. "They would be under their jurisdiction and responsibility whether they want to go forward."

However, Golzarri said some of the proposed roads provided by the plan are located outside those five MUDs. The project partners could approach other districts to help fund the projects or look at other funding sources, such as state and federal grants money.

Aside from trails and pathways, other improvements suggested by the plan include rest areas, seating, parking and shade. Golzarri said the plan also includes the possibility for some equestrian trails for the horseback riding community.

To provide feedback to EHRA before the plan is finalized or for more information, visit www.facebook.com/CCTMP.
By Matt Stephens
Matt Stephens joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2012. A Tomball native and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Matt joined as a reporter for The Woodlands team before being promoted to help launch the Spring | Klein edition in spring of 2014 and later to North Houston managing editor in late 2015. He has served as managing editor to the Phoenix and Nashville papers since August 2020.