‘Ministry of Happiness’ Celebrates Pedestrian Bridge Opening

Infrastructure updates coming soon at arched connection for Dallas trail system

The Northaven Trail pedestrian bridge recently opened for pedestrians to cross U.S. 75, and project leaders already are implementing measures to improve the infrastructure.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has added two additional “no motor vehicle” signs at the bridge’s entrance after an SUV drove on the bridge’s ramp Nov. 17. The department is also considering adding additional bollards at the bridge entryway, as the existing bollards are located higher up on the ramp.

Other recent additions include dog waste stations and trash cans, with additional signage for bike lanes expected to come soon. Bridge leaders are also evaluating what additional safety measures can be implemented.

An ongoing challenge will be homeless encampments near the bridge, particularly on the east side where the Cottonwood Creek and White Rock Creek trails meet, said Friends of Northaven Trail past president Jeff Kitner.

“I do feel the parks department and (office of homeless solutions) have done a good job of addressing it whenever they’re reported, making sure that those sites can be decommissioned,” Kitner said. “I think what I would ask people who see that is not to put it on social media, but to report it to the city so that the city is aware.”

The pedestrian bridge celebrated its grand opening and ribbon cutting Dec. 2. Speakers included members of the Dallas Park and Recreation board, the city council, the Dallas County Commissioners Court, and Friends of Northaven Trail. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and former City Councilman Lee Kleinman, who was at the forefront of the project’s emergence, also took to the podium.

The bridge, located at the crossroads of Dallas’ trail network, connects the Northaven, Cottonwood Creek, SoPac, and White Rock Creek Trails.

“This also shows the commitment (by the) city of Dallas along with the partners to make Dallas a walk-friendly and a bike-friendly city,” said Arun Agarwal, president of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board.

The Friends of Northaven Trail members are also working to raise $60,000 for a local artist to paint a series of murals on the new Northaven Trail bridge’s pillars. So far, they’ve raised nearly $13,000.

The group has selected Chera Creative to paint the eight pillars on the west side of U.S. 75 to portray some of the flora and fauna that trail visitors will see on the Northaven Trail. These include plants indigenous to the area and the pollinators that depend on them for survival.

Kleinman describes the city’s parks, libraries, and cultural affairs departments as teams who work to improve quality of life for those in Dallas.

“People frequently hear me talk about the ministry of happiness, and for some of you that don’t know what that is, you should because there are three departments in Dallas that proactively make this a more happy city,” he said.

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