trails

While it may be years before dirt is turned, the plan for a large mobility network in Frisco is at least official now.

Tuesday the Frisco City Council approved an update to its Hike and Bike Master Plan.

The plan, an update from its 2008 plan, focuses on trails, sidewalks and on-street bike options and how they all work together.

Among the components of the plan are projects and programs designed to provide more options for bicyclists. Approximately 400 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities are proposed – more than 200 miles of trails and 200 miles of bicycle facilities.

"It's a strategy for moving forward that basically shows that if the decision is made to add a trail connection at any particular place that it would be done in concert with what might become an ultimate network," Paul Knippel, director of engineering services said.

The plan includes maps of where possible trails, sidewalks and bike lanes could go. Most of the trails would be constructed at utility easements.

"The idea being that when it comes time to go build any particular segment, the city staff goes out to verify that we have the right to do that, whether it’s on public rights-of-way, or if it's on private property we need to go obtain an easement," Knippel said.

Knippel said while the goal is to have a mobility network, each project would be handled separately.

"Any element within this plan needs to be reviewed on its own merits and feasibility related to property rights and so forth,” he said.

The council supported the plan, though a few concerns lingered. Resident Robert Skinner, who serves on the HOA board at the Newman Village subdivision, said he is concerned that a map shows a proposed bike trail stretching from the subdivision to Eldorado Parkway.

"If any of you have driven down Eldorado Parkway going west from the toll road, that's not a place I would want to be on a bike."

He also said he is concerned about a proposed walkway through the Brazos easement from one side of Newman Village to the other.

"That would open up the gated community up to public access," Skinner said.

City officials said there are already trails that run through gated communities, such as Starwood.

"It was controversial years ago when it was planned as a public thoroughfare through a gated community," Mayor Pro Tem John Keating said of the trail that runs through Starwood. "But since then it's been viewed as an amenity and people enjoy it. It's the people in that community who use it the most."

Keating said while he supports the plan update he struggled with the idea of creating bike lanes to put more people on streets.

Knippel said any on-street facility that would require additional pavement would come back to the council for approval.

Mayor Jeff Cheney said while many of the trails on the map may not come to fruition anytime soon, he said the plan is a good starting point.

"It's better to be on the planning document so people will be aware that all of our utility corridors could potentially be future trail access points," Cheney said.

Cheney said he likes that the proposed trails along the utility corridor, the rail corridor and the major trail networks, they seem to intersect near where the University of North Texas will build its campus.

"If you're a student at UNT, you can get to the campus on a bike almost from anywhere in the city without having your pathway altered in any way or without having to stop at a light," Cheney said.

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