(New raised crossing at Heights and 7th. Click here for additional photos.)
Houston, TX, September 21, 2023 – Houston’s MKT Trail has long been a beloved destination for hikers, runners, and bikers. However, as more residents move into the area, accidents and confusion among trail users have become a common occurrence. Recognizing the need to improve this popular destination and gathering insight from the community, the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority (MHRA) recently implemented several enhancements to the MKT Trail with the goal of making it safer and more accessible for pedestrians.
The trail connects active destinations in Houston, linking together Houston Heights, Woodland Heights, White Oak Bayou, Sawyer Yards Art District, and Buffalo Bayou with connections into Downtown destinations such as the Theater District and the Skyline District. “The improvements made to the MKT Trail are aligned with our commitment to enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors to the area,” said Ann Lents, Chair of the MHRA. “We are encouraged, knowing that pedestrians and cyclists will be able to navigate the trail more confidently, assured that their safety has been the top priority in implementing these changes.”
Prioritizing Wayfinding and Navigation
One significant improvement has been the installation of 30 new concrete street name markers. These markers serve as wayfinding aids, helping trail users navigate the trail more easily. The Houston Heights Association and Sawyer Yards have agreed to split the responsibility of maintaining these markers, ensuring a seamless experience for years to come.
Additionally, busy trail crossings have become much easier to navigate with new signage and pavement markings – some equipped with new stop signs for added safety.
Ensuring Pedestrians Have Access to Safer Crossings
To address safety concerns, the trail crossing of White Oak Drive has been straightened, with a curb bulb-out to reduce the number of people in the roadway. There is a new raised crossing at Heights and 7th, resulting in cars slowing down, and making trail users more visible to drivers. South of I-10 on Heights, there has been restriping and widening of bike lanes from Washington to I-10 that now allow for greater separation from car lanes, and a shared-use path has been added between Washington Ave and Center St. to protect pedestrians and bikers.
Introducing Thoughtful Changes to Improve Long-Term Connectivity
This section of trail improvements was completed in response to a citizen-led effort to create a connection between the White Oak Bayou Trail and Memorial Park and several entities agreed to contribute by completing separate trail segments. MHRA has built a trail segment within the zone from the White Oak Bayou Trail at Moy underneath TC Jester and around to Kansas Street. The MHRA project also included new sod and trees, as well as appropriate fencing to help keep trail users separated from the rail lines.
With these recent improvements, the MKT Trail offers a safer, more accessible, and more enjoyable experience. To schedule interviews with MHRA staff or board members, contact Ashley Small at 281-827-3419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.