City of Tyler seeks funding for bike trails


Tyler Bicycle Club cyclists periodically pedal to Faulkner Park to cruise down mountain bike trails together, but the ride can be dangerous.

"There's no way to get to Faulkner Park other than taking Broadway, which is crazy or Old Jacksonville, which is crazier than Broadway," Elite Bicycles Store Manager Joe Self said.

The destination could be made safer for cyclists if the city of Tyler receives a grant for federal funds to make new trails to connect the Rose Rudman Trail to Faulkner Park and add a regional trail from Old Jacksonville to Gresham.

On Wednesday, the Tyler City Council approved a resolution in support of applying for a federal Transportation Alternative Program grant to construct two new biking and walking trails.

The project is estimated to cost about $7.4 million, of which the city would be responsible for about $2.2 million. The city's portion is anticipated to come from the half-cent sales tax.

City Engineer Carter Delleney said as part of the Cumberland Road extension, the city designated $2.9 million in half-cent revenue for the Tyler Legacy Trails, which would connect Grande Boulevard to Cumberland Road, connecting Southside Park, the South Tyler Trail and Rose Rudman to Faulkner Park.

Delleney said the grant would allow the city to complete the already planned connection inside the city, plus expand its trail system regionally for less money.

"We can extend our trail and extend our dollars and get a regional piece — it's a great opportunity for us," he said.

The proposed regional trail would begin at Three Lakes Boulevard, near FRESH. It would follow along an out-of-use railroad right of way, owned by the Texas Department of Transportation, and end in Gresham, behind a shopping center.

"Technically that rail corridor goes all the way to Bullard," Delleney said. "There is potential for some type of trail system to extend all the way to Bullard."

Self said the trail would make travel safer for cyclists in the area. Over the past year, two cyclists have been struck near the proposed route on Old Jacksonville.

Delleney said Oncor, TxDOT and the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority are all in favor of the proposed trails. If approved, TxDOT would retain ownership of the railroad right of way, and the city would be responsible for the trail's maintenance through an interlocal agreement. Local bicycle clubs could also help with its maintenance.

Tyler will submit the grant in early May to TxDOT, which will review the grant applications through September. The state agency would then submit the proposal to the Federal Highway Administration for review. 

The city should know in late 2015 or early 2016 if it will be a recipient of the grant.

Delleney said even if the city does not get the grant, it will move forward with its plan to connect Grande and Cumberland Road, but will not be able to add the regional piece.

"It's going to be a cool deal," said Tyler Simpson, owner of Simpson's Fitness and Adventure Sports. "Something Tyler desperately needs is more recreational tails."






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Faith Harper is an East Texas native working for her hometown newspaper. She specializes in digital content for the Tyler Morning Telegraph. In her spare time, she loves tacos, road trips and is currently learning to sail.