The three-phase Katy Trail Extension, which includes a section of the SoPac Trail, a portion of the Flag Pole Hill Trail and the Ridgewood Trail, is something of a tangled web on the map, but once you hit any part of it, multiple miles of smooth, shaded road exists for your running or rolling pleasure. A few trail tributaries now connect at a slick new Ridgewood trailhead near the Ridgewood Belcher Recreation Center, forming one long path that extends about eight miles from American Airlines Center to White Rock Lake. Large segments of these trails already are useable. Ridgewood Trail pedestrian bridges over Abrams Road and Skillman Street went up last November. And a bridge over busy Mockingbird Lane, whose plan dates back to 2005, is finally under construction. Since the planned overpass crosses the Mockingbird Station DART tunnel, “unique design and coordination challenges were faced to translate the visions to reality,” the Park department’s Peter Bratt says. The Ridgewood Trail is increasingly operational; it runs beneath the Fischer Road bridge just north of Mockingbird Lane to Skillman Street, and connects to the under-construction Flag Pole Hill Trail. Other swaths, such as the just-under 2-mile stretch of the SoPac Trail from Fisher Road to Lakewood Park at White Rock Lake, remain unfinished (standing by for construction crews, Bratt says). It makes for a fun, rugged, unpaved dirt-trail hike even now. According to the 2013 SoPac Trail master plan (viewable on advocatemag.com), “the area south of the Mockingbird overpass between Santa Barbara Drive and Fisher Road is a good location for a trail connection to the adjacent communities while still allowing easy pedestrian and cycle access to the corridor.” As for actually connecting to the uber-popular Katy Trail, which runs north/south on the west side of Central Expressway, the Ridgewood Trail offers easy access by way of the neighborhood trail at Glencoe Park — situated south of Mockingbird, east of Central — and by crossing the McCommas bridge over Central. SoPac’s master plan also shows future, yet unfunded, extensions through the Vickery Meadow, Fair Oaks and northern Lake Highlands areas, which would connect over Central Expressway to the Northaven Trail.
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