Eleven years passed between the start of construction and when the 2-mile stretch of Lake Highlands Trail opened to cyclists and pedestrians in 2014. The second phase of the trail won’t take eons to complete. But it has been a complicated endeavor to connect the path to the White Rock Greenbelt Trail, and ultimately, White Rock Creek Trail.
Lake Highlands Trail currently ends north of Lake Highlands High School at White Rock Trail (the residential street, not the trail of a similar name). Initial plans for a second phase to Lake Highlands Trail meandered across Skillman at Church Road to Tory Sound Drive.
That proposal lacked safety, City Councilman Adam McGough says. Vehicles often travel at 50 to 60 mph through the intersection.
Several public meetings and hours of research later, City staff formulated a new plan. The trail’s design work is now underway, and construction is slated to begin this year.
Here’s how the trail will expand:
Narrow Arborside Drive and White Rock Trail (the street)
Taking 10 feet from White Rock Trail and Arborside, respectively, will force drivers to slow down and allow a buffer between the trail and the roadway.
“The goal is to have a 12- to 14-foot trail along White Rock Trail,” says Robb Stewart, District 10 Park Board representative.
The path then travels west on Church Road, crosses Skillman and leads to Arbor Park and the future White Rock Greenbelt Trail.
A pedestrian-controlled traffic signal will be installed at the Abrams Road crossing, where the trail continues to follow the power-line easement and cut through Moss Park.
The trail then snatches part of the roadway at Arborside, where the curb will be moved to narrow the roadway and make room for the parallel path.
“That was to address concerns of people who wanted to minimize pavement in the park,” Stewart says.
The need to keep students safe walking to Lake Highlands High School shaped the plan for expanding the trail northward.
Plans call for the trail to start at the Lake Highlands DART station and run parallel to White Rock Trail.
“We have a number of students who walk up White Rock Trail, and this will make it much safer for them,” Stewart says.
The design is challenging; public works engineers must minimize flooding and avoid wetlands. They’re almost finished with the final drainage alignment, and trail construction is expected to begin this year.
Get involved Friends of the Lake Highlands Trail
City Councilman Adam McGough and several other neighbors are organizing the Friends of Lake Highlands Trail, a group to advocate for amenities such as lighting, landscaping and benches. Visit the Friends of Lake Highlands Trail Facebook page for more details.