Katy Trail

The Katy Trail is a jogging, walking, inline skating, and bicycling path that runs through the Uptown and Oak Lawn areas of Dallas, Texas (USA), following the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, which was known as MKT or the Katy.

Dallas' abandoned railroad tracks, which once divided the downtown core, are being transformed quickly into the unifying Katy Trail. It is a linear 3.5-mile-long (5.6km) landscaped pedestrian, inline skating, and bicycle trail that runs through the densely developed area of the city. Construction began in spring 2000. Many features have been completed, including the primary trail measuring 12 feet wide (3.7m) and two of the four new entrance plazas. There are also four of the six planned pedestrian bridges. Construction was completed on the Thomsen Overlook plaza overlooking Reverchon Park in 2007. A 1 mile (1.6 km), 8-foot-wide (2.4m) secondary jogging path is still under construction. Once more funding is secured, it will be completed. The Friends of Katy Trail is currently carrying out the work under a masterplan created by The SWA Group office in Dallas.

The dominant species in the planting plan are native Texas trees and plants. These include chinkapin, Lacey oaks, perennial grases, Flame Acanthus, and many species of native salvias.

The abandoned railroad tracks were home to drug dealers, homeless, and gangs for many years. The master plan includes strategies to change public perceptions of Katy Trail via landscaping, lighting, and especially in the design nine public spaces at critical crossings and intersections. Reflective shield lamps, which are 25-foot (7.6m) tall, shine light onto the trail for night-time safety. Public spaces have unique light fixtures and more intimate lighting.

The original plan was to create a basic concrete pathway system that ran along the railroad right-of-way. Friends of the Katy Trail greatly expanded their vision by hiring The SWA Group, a global landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm. They created a $23,000,000 master plan for two trails, as well as an urban park linking the West End district and Mockingbird Station.

[When?] When will it be completed in the next few years? Katy Trail will be a 3.5-mile-long, 5.6 km-long concrete path for bicyclists or in-line skaters. An adjacent 3.1-mile-long, 5.0 km, soft-surface track for pedestrians will be available. There will also be four major entrance plazas with ADA-compliant entrances, benches and landscaping. It will be connected with the Trinity Strand Trail.

The initial funding came from the Dallas County and state grants. Friends of the Katy Trail is a non-profit organization that was established in 1997 to coordinate public and private support for the development and maintenance of the Katy Trail. Their capital campaign has raised $11 million from the government and $12 million through private funding and land donations.

The Katy Trail connects the various Dallas city parks, starting at White Rock Lake and ending at the Trinity River Project park system. The rail trail runs alongside Reverchon Park, and the parks system along Turtle Creek (a tributary to the Trinity River).

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