Help Troy Aikman make the Katy Trail safer

In the wake of the tragic death of jogger Lauren Huddleston, who suffered fatal head injuries when she was struck by a bicyclist, Friends of the Katy Trail is kicking off a Safety Awareness Drive with the help of former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. Aikman will be on the trail from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, and hey, maybe this will be a good opportunity to show off your purple. From the Friends:

Friends of the Katy Trail will ask Trail users to sign a pledge stating how they will use the Trail safely. The Safety Awareness Drive kicks off Oct. 20 with Troy Aikman and lasts all weekend!

If you want to help with the Safety Awareness Drive, please contact Ashleigh Falk at Ashleigh@KatyTrailDallas.org. Volunteers will ask people to sign the safety pledge and distribute tips for safe use of the Trail. They also will take new or renewed memberships in the Friends of the Katy Trail. We need volunteers on Oct. 23 and 24. at various points on the Trail.

Friends of the Katy Trail and Dallas city officials met last week and are working on a plan to address safety concerns, which will be released no later than Thanksgiving. City Councilwoman Angela Hunt reports in an e-mail:

Last week, I met with city staff and Friends of the Katy Trail board members to discuss ways to make the trail safer in response to Lauren Huddleston’s tragic death. We will have a plan to address trail safety for all users within 45 days.

Last month’s unveiling of Dallas’ Bike Plan was a great success, with over 200 people attending the meeting at City Hall. Please take a look at the draft maps and give us your input.

The updated bike plan will help us address overcrowding on the Katy Trail by providing alternatives for cyclists. Right now, many cyclists feel that off-street trails are the only safe place to ride. As we develop safe on-street facilities like separated bike paths and well-marked bike lanes, as envisioned by the bike plan, cyclists will have more options and we can take some of the pressure off our trails.

UPDATE: Moments after we posted this, yet another accident was reported on the Katy Trail. The Dallas Police Department says a bicyclist was struck by a vehicle at about noon on Monday:

According to witness, a bicyclist stopped at stop sign at Harvard Street and Cole Avenue and then proceeded to cross Cole Avenue, when she was lightly struck by a vehicle traveling on Cole Street with no stop sign. The bicyclist was transported to Baylor with minor injuries.

—  John Wright

How to make the Katy Trail safer?

Lauren Huddleston

As you may have heard, a 28-year-old woman died Sunday after suffering head injuries in a collision last week on the Katy Trail near Routh Street.

Lauren Huddleston was jogging and listening to her iPod when she abruptly changed direction and was struck by a bicyclist, according to reports. Naturally, Huddleston’s death has prompted debate about what can be done to make the trail safer, including a front-page story in Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News.

In the article, one man proposes a 10 mph speed limit for bicyclists on the trail. Others say more signs are needed directing walkers and joggers to the pedestrian-only path alongside the main trail. However, this path doesn’t run the full length of the trail and — like the trail itself — becomes overly crowded during peak hours.

Anyone who’s ever walked, run or biked the trail has undoubtedly had a close call — one Dallas Voice employee was involved in a collision last year.

Perhaps the mere perception that the trail is unsafe will keep some away and make it slightly less crowded in the short-term, but that’s hardly a long-term fix. The ultimate solution is more jogging and biking trails throughout North Texas, so that the trail’s limited space isn’t so heavily in demand.

In the meantime, given that the gays are among the trail’s biggest users, what if anything do you think could be done to make it safer?

—  John Wright