The Cullen Park Trail Connection is a proposed bicycle and pedestrial trail, connecting the 7.9 miles of trails on the northern side of Interstate-10 in West Houston with the 22.7 miles of trails on the south side. Initial design of the trail has been completed, and organizers are working on next steps, which include funding the final design and construction.
Together with the local community, the Houston Parks Board is planning and will oversee the construction of the Cullen Park Trail Connection.
In October 2020, the City of Houston applied for Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) for the portion of the Cullen Park Path along Barker Cypress Road (Segment 1). Notification of the HSIP awards, which provide 90% of the funding, is expected in March 2021. If successful, this will provide most of the funding for the most expensive portion of the project.
Once this effort is complete, we will have a much clearer view of the source of funding and cost of the project. We will then be able to provide funding sources, particularly area MUDs, with a specific and detailed request. With funding secured in the third quarter of 2021, construction could start in 2022.
The mission of the Houston Parks Board is to create, improve, protect, and advocate for parks for all residents in the greater Houston area. Parks play a critical part in the health, happiness, and economy of our city. But more than that, they're alive with possibilities for connection, growth, activity, and the imagination.
Since 1976, Houston Parks Board has invested over $258 million supporting over 250 parks and creating more than 14,000 acres of new parks and trails. By 2020, they expect to connect 150 miles of trails along Houston's major bayous to bring 1.5 million people within 1.5 miles of a greenway.
Cullen Park is a City of Houston Park located within the Addicks Reservoir and a vital part of the One Creek West community. This 9,270 acre park is one of America’s largest urban parks with ball fields, soccer fields, pavilions, and the Alkek Velodrome. It has 7.9 miles of trails throughout but is not well connected to the communities to the South of I-10.
Across Interstate 10, in Barker Reservoir, is George Bush Park. This park includes a shooting range, a model airplane field, and an equestrian center. A 15-acre dog park invites Houston dogs to exercise and play off-leash. Ball fields and picnic areas are plentiful. Its trails connect to Terry Hershey Park Hike and Bike Trails and together they offer a continuous 22-mile ride.
One Creek West supports this trail connection for a number of reasons. Continuing a safe pedestrian and bicycle path north of I-10 about 2 miles to Cullen Park would connect 29.9 miles of existing trail while giving the community safe access to surrounding schools, stores, and recreational areas.
The trail connection would replace the existing path along Barker Cypress Road, used by cyclists and pedestrians today. Despite heavy traffic along Barker Cypress and the lack of adequate space, this path is used frequently by residents on the north side of I-10. As with many corridors in the Greater Houston region , this path is decidedly unsafe. Indeed, as recently as August 2019, a male cyclist traveling on Barker Cypress Road was struck and killed by a vehicle at South Park View Drive.
But it is the trail’s important contribution to our quality of life – helping to make the area north of I-10 a place where people want to live. In our view, this project will benefit our community, not only from a safety perspective for cyclists, but by attracting new, younger residents to the growing apartment communities - who value and increasingly demand walking and hiking paths - and by positively affecting the satisfaction by all residents toward the community in which they live.
The preferred route consists of two segments. Segment 1 is a new side path along Barker Cypress Road. A side path is a 10’ wide shared use path with 5’ separation from the road. The route requires extensive review from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to get over the dam, and easements from five private landowners.
Segment 2 along South Park View Drive consists of reducing the street from 4-lanes to 2-lanes to provide a new high comfort buffered bike lane. Sidewalk gaps would be filled as needed for continuous pedestrian access. Three crosswalks would be added, and the existing maintenance drive to Cullen Park parking lot would be upgraded for access. Additional community outreach is needed for feedback on the lane reduction.