Love/Hate on the Katy Trail: Bike Accessibility



The Katy Trail is an urban oasis with few Dallas rivals (the White Rock Creek Trail is the only one that comes to mind…) I wish more of the pedestrian/bike routes through Dallas were this pleasant – especially at lunch. As an exercise trail for nearby neighbors it’s a gem. But as a cycle transit route it can get tricky.

Yes, it’s annoying that this great route through the city gets SO packed, but purpose here is not to rant about how crowded the Katy Trail is.

And for some, riding a safe speed is a bit of an inconvenience – though it’s a perfectly pleasant ride at 5-8 mph while trying to not sweat-out my office attire.

But there’s a more practical issue I discovered on the trail today. The connectivity for a cyclist is a serious inconvenience when using the trial as a route to destinations in Uptown/Oak Lawn. Most of the trail north of Reverchon Park is above the streets with few bike-accessible connections to the world below.

So here’s the rundown.  For entrances/exits, we have:

A well-landscaped new stairway to Hall St,


To Hall

a beautiful new sitting area and connection to Carlisle St,


To Carlisle

some dirt cut-throughs from a parking lot just north of Lemon, (much steeper than it appears here)

Dirt path to parking lot

Dirt path to parking lot

and a treacherous little stairway down to Blackburn.

To Blackburn

To Blackburn

Then the beloved short stairway I stumbled upon (with bike slide!!!) at the Tao of Warren little plaza where Armstrong dead-ends

Bike slide at Armstrong

Bike slide at Armstrong

All before you get to the at-grade entrances/road crossings at Knox St and at Harvard Ave, 2.5 miles from Reverchon Park (which by the way has some great paths and stairway entrances to the Trail, not to mention the seamless transition to city sidewalk by the American Airlines Center nearby.)

For today’s adventure, biking from my office downtown to Luke’s Locker on my lunch break, I bounced my trusty road-bike-turned-cruiser down the Blackburn stairs on the way to Luke’s (at Oak Lawn & Lemon) and swore to find a better route back. The suggestion I got was to bike up to Knox, which added a good 1.6 miles to my 6 mile lunchbreak trek. Luckily, at Armstrong & Abbot I spied the short stairway entrance with bike retrofit and made my way back downtown.

I’ve seen this type of bike slide on stairways in other countries (such as these in the photos below) but this is the first in Dallas. It seriously made my day and I realized that yes, there are retrofitting options to better integrate the trail to surrounding destinations, even after the stairs have been built.

So, Katy Trail developers, my plea is thus: can we please get some more of these bike slides on Katy Trail stairways?! Specifically to the Blackburn and Hall stairways. You guys do a great job of continuously improving this great asset of Dallas – would you add this on your list of To Dos?

A sincere thank you in advance.

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About UrbanPedal

A urban planner by degree, bicycling enthusiast by birth, this is a forum to share the crazy biking and urban design inspiration that crosses my path.
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One Response to Love/Hate on the Katy Trail: Bike Accessibility

  1. Pingback: Sunday Monday Supplement | Renny Rambles

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