Bicycle commuters and moms pushing strollers already know — the first leg of the Santa Fe Trail, between Glasgow Drive and Hill Street in Deep Ellum, is almost finished. Plenty of people already are using it every day, even though it doesn’t officially open for about a month. Construction of the second phase, which will stretch from Glasgow, near Woodrow Wilson High School, to White Rock Lake, is expected to begin in August and be finished about a year later.

The Friends of the Santa Fe Trail is planning "a series of gatherings" where neighbors can hash out what they want for the trail and linear park, such as public art. "The Katy Trail is one of the best in the country. But this is East Dallas and we want it to be reflective of East Dallas and not just a rubber stamp of what they’ve done," said the fundraising group’s president, Monty Watson.

The city is building the 12-foot-wide pathway and bridges. But the Friends of the Santa Fe Trail raises money for all the extras, however essential they might seem, including landscaping and benches, as our Christina Hughes Babb explained in March. The friends group also is concerned with public safety. The trail doesn’t have lighting yet, and there have been reports of scary stray dogs, broken glass and graffiti. Besides that, there needs to be some caution for drivers where the pathway crosses busy streets, such as Munger Avenue, Watson said.

Read more about public safety efforts for the Santa Fe Trail after the jump.

Watson noted that residences face much of the trail, so "you’ve got a lot of eyes out there. And the more people use the trails, the safer they’ll be," Watson said. The city treated the two new bridges near Peak and Haskell with a coating that makes spray paint easy to remove, but vandalism is "something we’ll have to stay on top of," said David Recht, the city’s project manager.

Plannig started in 2004 on the Santa Fe Trail. "It’s been a long time coming for the people who live around it, but it’s finally happening," Watson said.


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