The City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department will add nearly 2.5 miles of new 12-foot wide concrete trail in Lake Highlands, with construction expected to begin in fall 2020. Here are the top eight things we learned at Monday’s public meeting.
1) The new Phase 2A trail will begin in Moss Park near the Fair Oaks Transfer Station and intersect there with existing Phase 1 trail. It will proceed eastward through White Rock Greenbelt, cross Abrams Road and run under Oncor power lines to Arbor Park. Phase 2B picks up there to run along Skillman to Church Road, then splits north-and-south to run along White Rock Trail, linking with existing trail at the Lake Highlands DART Station and just north of Lake Highlands High.
2) Users of existing trail know it can get boggy after a big rain. The new plans include planked boardwalks in various places, with slightly raised construction and drainage over low spots.
3) In two places, adding the trail will narrow the road. In those spots along Arborside between Fair Oaks and Moss Haven and along White Rock Trail between Church and Walnut Hill, the curb will move out to divide cyclists and cars. The upside: planners expect narrower lanes to have a “calming effect” on traffic.
4) A wall currently blocks access from the Oak Highlands neighborhood to Abrams, so a cut will be made in the wall between Moss Haven Drive and Moss Meadows Drive to enable trail users to hike and bike on through.
5) The trail will cross Abrams Road near Scofield Church where no traffic light currently exists. HAWK (high-intensity activated crosswalk) beacons will be used there to assist hikers and bikers when they approach to cross.
6) The trail will run under power lines behind Scofield, but the Oncor station and mature trees there will interfere at the west end. For that portion, the trail will run down the alley behind Hilldale Drive.
7) Jersey barriers will be used to keep trail-goers safe on the dicey section of trail between Arbor Park/Stone River Road and Church Road, where they must travel on Skillman Street. The barriers will separate people from vehicles, which tend to whiz by above the posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour. Planners looked at other ways (including a bridge) to cross Skillman, but none were feasible.
8) Organizers must meet deadlines, including putting plans out to bid by summer 2020, or Dallas loses access to the $5 million in federal funds currently budgeted for the project.