Oak Cliff Trails: Can a planned $56-million, 50-mile loop make us truly bike-friendly?

Trinity Levee Trail (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)
Trinity Levee Trail (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

The City of Dallas began making comprehensive plans for a citywide trail system about 14 years ago. Since then, the city has built almost 150 miles of trails and another 37 are under development. With more that are planned but currently unfunded, Dallas eventually will have some 300 miles of trails.

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While many are disconnected, there is a plan in the works to create The Loop, a $56-million project that would create one 50-mile loop connecting North Dallas, White Rock Lake, South Dallas, Oak Cliff and West Dallas and include all 14 City Council districts. The Loop is the idea of pals Jeff Ellerman, a real estate executive and oilman Larry Dale, who became frustrated one day while riding bikes on the dead-end Trinity Skyline Trail inside the levees. “We were saying, ‘this is so frustrating because there’s no trail to get here. Once you’re down here, it’s unbelievable, but it doesn’t go anywhere. The Great Trinity Forest is amazing, but you can’t get to it. Wouldn’t it be great if these trails connected and they were longer?’”

With encouragement from Mayor Mike Rawlings and Katy Trail mastermind Philip Henderson, they created a nonprofit, the Circuit Trail Conservancy, and about two years ago began working with the city’s Park and Recreation Department and Trinity Watershed Management on a plan to connect the trails.

Now plans for The Loop are complete and the nonprofit already has raised about $17 million, including $5 million from Dallas County.

The city’s portion is $20 million, and if approved, The Loop could be open in the next four years.

Here we offer an update on our neighborhood’s trails and how they fit into The Loop.


Detail of Oak Cliff trail mas on comprehensive Dallas Trails map
Click for a larger local and comprehensive trail map. (Maps courtesy of the City of Dallas)
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  • District 4 and 3 are getting neglected. That’s because we have no real political leadership; just the Establishments paid lackeys and figureheads. If we had real leadership, like District 1, we would be reading about the Five Mile Trail, Cedar Crest and Polk Wisdom extensions, and Mountain Creek Pkwy.

  • The Zoo doesn’t have a trail around it, just a tall chain link fence that hasn’t been maintained. Way to make the Zoo appear better than it really is to the neighborhood.

    Does anyone know who the decision makers were for these trails? Seems like District 4 (Oak Cliff) got the short end of the stick.

    Sorry to be a grump, – I do think this will be great for the area and Dallas.

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