Renovations to East End hike and bike trails underway

May 15, 2013 4:33:22 PM PDT
Residents in the East End will soon have new places to walk, hike and bike as a big renovation is underway.

The upgrades to the East End hike and bike trails involve connecting 10-foot sidewalks to light rail stops. This is all part of a process that continues to lay the groundwork for a pedestrian experience in the East End.

It's been about 15 years since the hike and bike trails were constructed next door to Karina Viloanueva's house.

"We didn't have any of this a few years ago. It was nothing but tall grass; it looked abandoned. So I'm glad they are making use of it now," Viloanueva said.

More than 30 percent of East Enders walk, bike or use transit to commute to school and work. Now the upgrades plan to increase that number and complement the soon to be completed light rail.

"The rail doesn't have parking going in adjacent to the rail stops. So people are going to need to walk or to bike to catch that light rail," said Diane Schenke, President of the Greater East End District.

So over the next year and half at more than more than $7.6 million the worn asphalt will be replaced with concrete. Landscaping, lighting, trees, and benches will also be among the enhancements. Part of the design process involved walking the area with the idea of creating a pedestrian friendly experience

"Some of the trails are off the street so, they are off the main path of the cars; some will be assigned on streets. So it provides them with an area where they can ride their bikes and they can walk," said David Evans with McDunn Engineering.

Being nestled in between the port and downtown with the Texas Medical Center nearby means East End leaders laying down infrastructure for future residents.

"What we are hoping to see is that people think of the East End as a place to live and do business," said Schenke.

Work on the trails should begin in the next couple of months.
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