Saturday, August 10, 2019

No cookie cutter parks please!

As you all know I am an advocate of unique park amenities and I especially believe by making our parks unique, we can draw people to Baytown. "No cookie cutter parks" has been my battle cry for some time.

Because of my endless droning over the years about how hostile Baytown area drivers are to pedestrians and people who still enjoy walking, hiking, and/or riding a bicycle, I was shocked to see the Baytown Poll recently. 31% of our citizens chose the option that our Parks are a waste of money? I sat in disbelieve when I read that.

The simple answer here is fully one third of our population don’t get out of their cars except to shop or get gasoline. If their doctor ever orders them to get exercise, they will suddenly become an advocate for places to walk, let me tell you. My area is near Blue heron and daily I watch as seniors “pound their feet” on the cement trail.

When the hard-working Dustin Schubert was the park planner, I begged him to install not only a certified 5K trail with obvious markers, but to add elevation changes, as we live on the flat, right? Runners, cyclists, and exercisers have nothing short of our bridge or overpasses to get in some hills. No park that I know of has a certified 5K trail for runners to practice on. Believe it or not, our brains are not working as well as we think when we are running, so putting a person a course that is easy to follow is very important to runners.

To my knowledge and disappointment, this has not happened.

The grandest fantasy of us walkers/runners/cyclists would be a flyover pedestrian trail from Blue Heron Parkway over the RR tracks to Jenkins. I envision a steady stream of exercisers coming to Baytown specifically to walk/run/cycle this new pedestrian bridge. I cannot exaggerate how big of an attraction this flyover would be.

Finally, I propose we add 3 elevation changes to the new trail addition in Jenkins Park. This will get people to the far South side trail like flies to a potato salad picnic and give Baytown something many other parks do not have. I'm including an image and each elevation could cover an easy 150 feet beginning to end. Fill dirt could be used and I do not believe this is a budget breaker. If it is as successful as I think, we can add numerous more elevations changes and soon runners are coming from all over to use the new challenge.

Input from the public can be shared by writing your city council person and believe it or not this is exactly the kind of input they need and desire before they make changes in the city policies.

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