The Santa Fe Trail Update
The Dallas Morning News published an article last week regarding the status of the Santa Fe Trail construction through E. Dallas. It’s an interesting and timely article. Phase 2 of the trail is being constructed at this very time. I live in the Casa Linda area less than two miles from the bike trail around White Rock Lake. I office in the Lakewood Shopping Center perhaps a mile from the current “beginning” of Phase I of the Santa Fe Trail. These two trails will soon be linked. I’m excited! This trail happens to very conveniently be located in just the right spot to make a difference in my bike commuting and bike enjoyment. I would like to make a few comments about the article.
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“TRAIL TO NOWHERE?”
Not exactly. This is where the Santa Fe Trail currently ends at Hill St. That is I-30 in the background.
The bridge that you see down the bicycle trail in this next photo is crossing Peak St.; there is another bridge a little farther down that crosses Haskell. Look closely and you will see a man on a bicycle coming torwards me. He and a woman rode past me as I was taking pictures and said hello to me as they did so. Did they seem shocked that this bike trail currrently dead-ends into the back-end of a warehouse district near Fair park? No, not at all. Would some people freak out and think that they were about to die? Yes.
The next photo (sorry about the shadow, Chris) that you see is the view back toward Main St. down Hill St. as you come off the bike trail. You are about two blocks from Main, and you emerge on Main about halfway between Peak and Exposition Park. You are right next to the new DART Green Line to Fair Park. In fact, Phase 3 of this trail will continue this particular section another block or so until it buts into the DART right-of-way and goes in one direction to Baylor Hospital (where I was born) and in the other direction to Fair Park. I officed in this neighborhood for several years. There are homelsss guys wandering around, but it isn’t that bad. I have never had any problems down here.
Clearly, this end of the trail is a work in progress. But when you come off of this trail, you’re five minutes from Baylor Hospital. You’re ten minutes from Fair Park (I commuted on this trail to the State Fair this year). You’re ten minutes from downtown. The ride down Main all the way through Deep Ellum is great, and on a weekend, you have downtown practically to yourself . Now, at this point in time, would I recommend that one of my female friend’s from Plano come and ride this trail alone at night? No, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do that. During the day, it’s not too terrible of an area, and I ride through here pretty often by myself. But I’d prefer to ride with someone else. You’re basically paralleling I-30 and Columbia through E. Dallas. You decide.
“THE OTHER END: WOODROW WILSON H.S.”
Here is the lovely old E. Dallas high school where the other end of the trail currently ends/starts. This is about five minutes by bike from my Lakewood office. It is located on S. Glasgow near Santa Fe Ave:
This next photo shows where they are working on the trail behind the high school as they begin the extension of the trail to White Rock Lake. This is where the trail begins to get a bit woodsier and will be less urban:
The trail will then go through some older neighborhoods before it goes under E. Grand Ave. and curves back around to go over Garland Rd.. This next photo shows where the trail will go by bridge over Garland Rd. Long-time Dallas residents will recall this as the former location of the railroad bridge that used to chop the tops off of all the 18 wheelers that came through here. The 7-11 in the distance is right by the Spillway on Garland Rd. at Winsted Dr. They sell beer there. I think that they also sell those “power drinks” that so many bicyclists consume, but I’m not certain about that. I’m certain about the beer, though. And there is a liquor store across the street.
Here is a view of the prep work being done to put in the bridge:
This next photo is a view back the other way to see the approach to the bridge through the woods. There is a little encampment of homelss people that live about a hundred yards from this bridge. They have lived there for years. I keep wondering how much longer they will be able to stay there and harass people for money on Gaston Ave. once there are about a thousand people a day going through there on bicycles, as well as Dallas P.D. bike patrols. They say that bike trails are a great way to begin to clean up and invigorate these sorts of slightly rundown urban areas that the police have ignored. It brings activity and people into an area. Generally speaking, that’s good. I guess we’ll see what happens.
Finally, a better shot across Garland Rd.:
As you can see, they are beginning work on the supporting column for the bike bridge out there in the median strip. On the other side of Garland Rd., they only need a few hundred yards of trail to connect to the trail around White Rock. Apparently, it is the timing of the actual completion of the bridge itself that will dictate when this trail opens. But it should be within six months, perhaps less. And when it opens, if you can get to the White Rock Trail, you can get to downtown Dallas. The inter-connectedness of the City of Dallas’ bike trails continues.
Stay tuned to Biking in Dallas for more updates.
Michael W. Hubbard
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