Imagine getting from one part of town to just about any other part of town without driving a motorized vehicle. Planning has already begun to accomplish this vision. Development of a comprehensive plan was initially conceived as two separate plans — one for a comprehensive system of hike and bike trails and the other for a system of bicycle-friendly streets.
It simply made good sense to merge these two closely-related initiatives, since they both address the movement of people across our city in a non-motorized fashion. The resulting combination is the Allen Consolidated Alternative Transportation and Recreational Trail Plan.
Allen currently has more than 61 miles of paved hike and bike trails. As each new trail segment is built, Allen gets just a bit closer to having a genuine trail system.
Cottonwood Creek Trail Bridge
The stunning 14' x 105' Cottonwood Creek Trail Bridge connects east and west Cottonwood Creek Hike and Bike Trail segments, allowing access underneath Central Expressway. Artwork, titled "Current Drift," was designed and installed along the bridge by local Texas artists Bill FitzGibbons and George Schroeder.
Historic Water Station Trail
The Historic Water Station Trail gives trail-goers an opportunity to experience Allen's history. Just off the path of the Cottonwood Creek Hike and Bike Trail, a destination bridge overlooking the Old Stone Dam connects to the crushed granite loop where interpretative panels detail information about the Historic Water Station, a Texas State Archaeological Landmark that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
While we are primarily focused on developing our own citywide trail system, we are continually reminded that our neighboring cities have trail systems of their own in the making and we have seen the need to coordinate our efforts with theirs. Allen is one of a six-city collaboration that also includes Plano, McKinney, Richardson, Frisco and Garland in a regional plan to interconnect our trail systems, creating an even broader network of trails. The Six Cities Trail Plan was used as a basis for development of the Collin County Regional Trails Master Plan. This plan is used as a guide by all communities within Collin County for the development of a county-wide system of trails. Ultimately we will be part of a regional trail system that will link Allen to Lake Ray Hubbard and beyond, and connect to the regional Veloweb, a bicycle-oriented multicounty trail system being planned and developed for both recreational and commuting uses.
The Six-Cities Trail Plan has received numerous awards, including the 2002 American Planning Association Award, 2002 Merit Award by the American Society of Landscape Architecture, 2002 Urban Design Dream / Vision Award by the Greater Dallas Planning Council and the 2001 Award of Excellence by the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Our trail system will take years to realize and implement. Nonetheless, we foresee three general phases in which we want to accomplish the system. Overall development of the trail system includes trail construction, bridge construction, trail head and signage construction and signage development for the on-street bike route network and the trails themselves. Trails are funded by several means: by developers, through grants and in some cases through city funding.
- Phase I proposes the completion of the Rowlett Creek and Cottonwood Creek trail loops, the construction of a trail along the DART right of way as part of the regional Veloweb and the further construction of the Watters Branch trail loop.
- Phase II proposes the completion of the Watters Branch trail loop and trail segments along Exchange Parkway and Ridgeview Drive.
- Phase III completes smaller neighborhood loops that are not directly situated on the major loop trail route.