Dallas Restricts Use of Katy Trail To Ease Congestion

If it always looked like this, there wouldn't be any problems.EXPAND
If it always looked like this, there wouldn't be any problems.
Thomas Lowery
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Beginning Thursday, Dallas Park and Recreation officials are restricting weekend use of the Katy Trail to certain people each day based on the first letters of their last names.

The plan is part of an effort to reduce congestion on the trail and enforce social-distancing measures the city and Dallas County put into place to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

People whose last names begin with letters A through L will have access to the trail on Thursdays and Saturdays. Those whose last names begin with letters M through Z may use the trail on Fridays and Sundays. Anyone will be allowed to use the trail on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In a statement, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the measures were designed to ensure that the trail stays open without becoming a public health hazard.

“The Katy Trail is an incredible asset to our city, and I love that Dallas residents want to use it to get fresh air and exercise during these difficult and unprecedented times,” Johnson said. “But I support the Park and Recreation Department’s approach to creating adequate physical distancing on the Katy Trail. We cannot allow this amenity to become a health hazard. We have to be willing to adjust our practices and behaviors and take personal responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can save lives and get through these challenging times as quickly as possible."

Dallas County's stay-at-home order allows residents to go outside for exercise or to walk pets. City officials have tried, with limited success, to persuade trail users to practice social-distancing measures while using the popular Katy Trail and White Rock Lake Trail. City officials have threatened to shut down the trails if users don't keep their distance. Earlier this month, Dallas city marshals began patrolling the Katy Trail to make sure trail users practice social distancing.

John Jenkins, director of Dallas Park and Recreation, said the city wants to keep its outdoor spaces accessible. Visitors need to do their part to protect themselves and others, he said.

“We know that getting outdoors is another way for families to cope with stay-at-home regulations," Jenkins said. "Overcrowding and congestion on the Katy Trail make it nearly impossible for users to practice adequate physical distancing. Our communities’ safety remains our key concern. We are working together to reduce the spread on this pandemic."

Johnson and Jenkins encouraged residents who are looking to get outside to go to smaller, less crowded parks and trails in their own neighborhoods rather than flock to the city's bigger parks.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.