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To manage the increasing number of Katy Trail users and encourage physical distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, Dallas Park and Recreation will implement a trail management strategy that gives visitors access to the trail on specific days according to their last names.
The public will have normal access to the Katy Trail on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
But beginning Thursday, April 23, for the rest of the week and on the weekends, users whose last names begin with A through L are asked to use the Katy Trail only on Thursday and Saturday. Users whose last names begin with M through Z are encouraged to use the trail on Friday and Sunday.
The Dallas Park and Recreation Department worked with the Friends of Katy Trail to create this approach to lessen congestion and encourage physical distancing. Mayor Eric Johnson’s office and Park and Recreation also consulted with Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang regarding the guidelines.
If users comply with the guidelines, the City expects a significant reduction of congestion on the trail, which will lessen the risks of spread of COVID-19.
“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,” Mayor 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."
“We know that getting outdoors is another way for families to cope with stay-at-home regulations. 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,” said Dallas Park and Recreation Director John D. Jenkins. “We want our outdoor spaces to be accessible and we want visitors to do their part to protect themselves and others.”
If families want to get out during the day, Director Jenkins and Mayor Johnson also suggested they go to parks within walking distances of their homes. Neighborhood parks may be considerably less crowded than larger, well-known ones. With more than 397 parks and 160 miles of urban trails, some sites are well-known, while others are not.
Dallas Park and Recreation staff have selected some of their favorite parks and trails for people to explore. Check out Dallas’ Best Kept Secret Parks on the department’s website at DallasParks.org.
And for more information on the novel coronavirus, visit dallascityhall.com/coronavirus.