It's taken more than a year (construction began before September, 2012), but the trail that linking Houston's Energy Corridor-area Terry Hershey Park to the Addicks Park and Ride is finally finished. Some time in the past four weeks, contractors for Precinct 3 Parks installed lights on the section of the trail underneath the Katy Freeway (Interstate 10) and declared the section finished. Whew! Now, if they'd only turn a light or two on under the freeway during the day...
The tail connects via the Hershey Park Loop to the Buffalo Bayou Trail, with access at its west end to George Bush Park and on its east end to… well, not much. The asphalt trail runs east-west near the base of the Addicks Dam, crossing Turkey Creek on a new bridge. There's a spur just where riders emerge from under the north frontage road to reach the frontage road sidewalk and… well, not much. At its terminus, the trail comes out at Park Row and Park and Ride Drive, next to that big green water tower. At last check, there were few if any secure cycle storage facilities.
It's a nice, somewhat isolated ride far enough away from the freeway that you hears the cows instead of the trucks. Sadly, this rare breach for cyclists in the "wall" created by the Katy Freeway doesn't connect with anything. Even though it runs within 100 feet of the road on the crest of the dam, there's no connection. On the west end, riders are dumped out in heavy traffic, with no access to any safe routes north, south, or west. There's likewise no connection to the east, where an off-street trail connects with the bike routes on North Dairy Ashford, Kirkwood, and - via some twists and turns - Westview and thence to the inner loop.
A nice effort but, like most cycling trails in suburban Houston, the THP Extension suffers from a lack of connections. Maybe if a few jurisdictions actually talked to each other… Nahhhh: never happen.