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  1. #1
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    Houston: Tanner Road to Addicks Dam Trail: Need to contact frequent users

    I am working with a group to re-establish the connection between Tanner Road (about 1/2 way between North Eldridge Parkway and Brittmoore) and the Addicks Dam in unincorporated Harris County, Texas ("northwest Houston"). We are identifying users or potential users of the trail to show local support for the project. This would be of particular interest to cyclists and hikers in the subdivisions Lakes on Eldridge, Lakes on Eldridge North, Twin Lakes, Eldridge Park, and Villages at Lakepointe as well as the business parks Brittmoore Park and Brittmoore-Tanner.

    This connection, which will require about 1000' of trail, will provide access to the concrete top of spillway south to Clay Road, then the gravel top-of-dam road to the shared use path at Chatterton. From this point there is connection east to Westview bike lane; south to the Kirkwood bike lane; and west to the Dairy Ashford bike lane. Current amenities near Dairy Ashford include trail under I-10 to Terry Hershey Park and trail to Addicks Park and Ride.

    Also in scope is sidewalk trail from subdivisions to Connector trail and improved grade crossing at Clay Road (access gate modifications).

    The project status as of July 7, 2014:

    • Harris County Parks will submit this project for consideration in the 2015 budget.
    • In July/August 2014, we are working on securing a funding commitment for trail along Tanner from Ginger Ponds to meet up with the Connector.
    • Around August 2014, the County will begin planning the 2015 budget. That will be a key time for us to demonstrate local support so that it makes it to the actual budget.
    • The County fiscal year will begin in March 2015. If the project is funded, then the County will proceed with engineering, negotiate access to the private property, and obtain Corps of Engineers approval.


    We are all anxious to get this access in place, but actual construction can’t happen until all the permits and approvals are in place. Construction in late 2015 is a best-case scenario, but sometime in 2016 is more realistic.

    If you would support and use this connection, please contact bryan.dotson@live.com.
    Last edited by flangehead; 07-07-14 at 08:50 PM. Reason: Update status of project as of July 7 2014

  2. #2
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    Please note project status update. We're getting really close, and mid-August is when we'll need letters of support. Contact me at bryan.dotson@live.com.

  3. #3
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    There are no bike lanes on Kirkwood or Dairy Ashford, and given the state of each of those roads (they look like a WWII European city after an Allied carpet bombing), I don't think there will ever be many cyclists on them. I live off Dairy Ashford and I only ever see a couple people riding on the sidewalks.

    I think a good project would be to connect the THP Extension that goes under I-10 to Addicks Res to the path to the east that ends between Conoco and Shell - which looks like connects to your path coming down the east side of the res. That would add a bunch of miles to the already 50 you can do if you cycle the entire THP/GBP/Mason Creek connection.
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    There are no bike lanes on Kirkwood or Dairy Ashford, and given the state of each of those roads (they look like a WWII European city after an Allied carpet bombing), I don't think there will ever be many cyclists on them. I live off Dairy Ashford and I only ever see a couple people riding on the sidewalks.

    I think a good project would be to connect the THP Extension that goes under I-10 to Addicks Res to the path to the east that ends between Conoco and Shell - which looks like connects to your path coming down the east side of the res. That would add a bunch of miles to the already 50 you can do if you cycle the entire THP/GBP/Mason Creek connection.
    Thanks for the opportunity to clarify the current state and also the possible future state.

    From Clay Road south to I-10 in this area there are 4 well-drained routes: Highway 6, North Eldridge Parkway, top of Addicks Dam and Brittmoore. Hwy 6 and Eldridge are high speed arterials. Brittmoore will be a good paved city street once the current construction is complete.

    The only non-motorized route is the top of Addicks Dam, which is gravel. Though very passable with hybrid or wider tires, it is not appropriate for most road bikes. (It can be muddy immediately after heavy rains.)

    Under current conditions (July 2014) the routes to Terry Hershey Park from Clay Road range from completely off-road to bike-lane-in-poor-condition:

    a) As you mention, the gravel road on top of the dam extends from Clay Road (lift-over gates) to Eldridge (bike gates open) just north Dairy Ashford. (Dairy Ashford stops as a west-bound segment at Eldridge.) This is a grade crossing and on the west side of Eldridge there is a dirt ramp down to the concrete trail that runs between Terry Hershey Gazebo and the Addicks Park and Ride. This route involves no cycling parallel to motorized traffic but does have grade crossings at Clay and at Eldridge. The sight lines at the Eldridge crossing can be a bit limited, especially when crossing from west to east. I’m always very careful crossing here. Using the Geller classification scheme, this route could appeal to “Interested but Concerned” cyclists.

    b) The second alternative, which involves using the bike lanes on Dairy Ashford from I-10 to Eldridge, involves descending from the top of the dam at Chatterton and using the trail at the base of the dam, terminating at Dairy Ashford between Shell and Conoco-Phillips. The bike lane along Dairy Ashford is relatively clean and smooth, and the traffic speed in this segment feels less aggressive to me. This provides commuter access for those two businesses. Proceeding west, a cyclist can cross at the Eldridge/Dairy Ashford light and pass north and west of the hotel and then reach a sidewalk at the I-10 access road that then connects to the Terry Hershey trail. Using the Geller classification scheme, this route could appeal to “Enthused & Confident” cyclists.

    c) The City of Houston has an established bike route along Kirkwood from the trail at the foot of Addicks Dam to Westheimer. The 4’ wide (maximum) bike lanes were not well designed (paint on existing roadbed) to begin with and are in bad repair (unpassable sections, debris and vegetation, and water ponding). In all fairness, the street itself isn’t much better. In my opinion this route is only appropriate for cyclists a) with fat tires, as there are a lot of cracks, b) good front/rear situational awareness (mirror), and c) who are willing to take the lane. Many people would consider this infrastructure worse than nothing. When I have to use this route I take the lane as my primary position and then use the passable sections of the bike lane for “catch-and-release”.

    I would agree that the current state of affairs is not ideal. However, getting better accomodations for non-motorized traffic will necessarily be a process of “a little bit here, a little bit there” with a vision to link up in the future.

    Are you aware of the “West Houston Trails Master Plan” which is available (145 MB) at West Houston Trails Master Plan - Energy Corridor District - Energy Corridor District? This is the vision of how this area could stitch together smaller, achievable projects. For example, the Patterson/North Eldridge Spine Trail (page 31) envisions the Eldridge crossing you mentioned, linking the east and west trails with paved off-road trail. Similarly, the Wycliff Highline Spine Trail (page 58) could use the powerline right-of-way agreement recently reached to provide a very good route combining trails and quiet residential streets to get from Clay Road to Terry Hershey.

    The proposed Addicks/Tanner Connector trails is “a little bit here” that we think is achievable in the near future. It can be used immediately, and as other infrastructure develops in the area, it will become more valuable.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the terrific explanation of what's going on! I am not sure my wife and I would be prime candidates as advocates for the Tanner Road reconnection. We are not local, we live in WestU, we are relatively timid (elderly) riders, and we have not yet ridden the Addicks Dam roads. We do very much enjoy the multi-use trails in Terry Hershey and George Bush parks and ride them often. More than once, I have looked longingly at the underpass under I10 from the Terry Hershey Gazebo, but lacked the confidence to try it. (We ride cyclocross bikes which are somewhere between road and mountain bikes in off road capability, probably fairly similar to a hybrid.)

    Bottom line, feel free to use us if you think it helps, but I want you to be aware of factors that may limit our value.

    If it is not too much trouble, I would be delighted if you could post a link to the Geller classification scheme. FYI, I write a cycling blog which among other things discusses cycling in Houston: The Zombie Cyclist

  6. #6
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Hey Zombie, the THP extension that goes under I-10 is fully paved, you have nothing to be timid about.
    If you park in the lot where the Gazebo is on Memorial, ride up behind it towards I-10, then there will be a path to the right that goes over a little bridge through some trees. Hang a left after the bridge and follow the path - you'll go by another parking lot, under I-10, and then the path bears to the left along the Reservoir.

    Alternatively, if you're already in THP, when you get to the part where you have to go over the Eldridge Parkway bridge, go straight up the path that is along Memorial Mews St, and that will connect to the same path I just mentioned above. (Look at Google Maps to see what I mean).

    I've done it dozens of times and it's a good little way to get some extra miles - and it's pretty much flat, too.

    I also blog about cycling in Houston, and other stuff too. I just posted about about my rebuilding of an '84 Raleigh to commute on.
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