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Kyle: City Adopts Trail-Oriented Development with Hopes of Luring Commercial Development

Feature Photo: The project intends to develop a network of trails that city leaders hope will spur developments along the network, along with connecting to the proposed Green Springs Project. Image: Green Springs Project YouTube.

Posted: 10-19-2021

by Art Benavidez

Kyle (Hays County) — City Council recently adopted a trail-oriented development with the goal of establishing a network that private developers could add onto as they design their projects.

The council approved a master plan and a construction budget for the starting phase of a trail network. It passed with the condition that the City Council is free to modify it going forward.

City Manager Scott Sellers said the plan “is a living, breathing document” that targets development areas where there is still green space. The city has already been approached about opportunity areas within its transportation master plan.

As planners worked on the concept, they did so keeping in mind that it would connect at the city limits to the Green Springs Project, a multi-county effort that will connect trails from Austin to San Antonio. Green Springs was previously reported by VBX in this Jan. 19 article.

The portion running through Kyle has been named The Vybe. Kyle thought leaders on this project have coined the term “vybe” and use it to mean “trail” in a holistic sense, where trail encompasses the unique ambience of a specific trail segment.

Individual “vybes” throughout the trail network could include venues for eating or shopping. Vybes could have access to necessary amenities such as restrooms, parking and charging stations. 

The city has identified over 20 individual “vybes,” which the city sees as potential development opportunities along the trail that the city hopes would enhance the trail system and create a community within itself.   

According to city documents, developments along the trail “are encouraged” to face the trail. The Kyle Trails Master Plan aspires to minimize roadways crossings, but the plan does deliver a mixed message.

While the network is clearly intended to encourage mobility–walking, cycling, golf carts, neighborhood electric vehicles, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades are all cited as acceptable on the vybes–the master plan’s authors claim “The Vybe is not intended to function as an alternate transportation network.”

The initial scope of work involves 51.3 miles of existing proposed golf cart trails with 12.1 miles of sidewalk connectors already in place and 9.2 miles of non-golf cart nature trails. 

The Kyle network trail system.

The capital improvement project funding begins with $2 million that citizens approved in a bond election. The city is requesting an additional $2 million from the Hays County Commissioners Court, and is applying for state and federal funds.

The city portion of The Vybe is seen as just the beginning–a hub that private developers will connect to with their own vybes as new development occurs around the core.

The project summary states that, “As much as possible, the cost of engineering and construction should be placed on individual developments and Vybes. This can be achieved via special district financing. Developments including Vybes can immediately incorporate recommendations from this plan into their designs and may begin construction without delay.”

According to the Green Springs Project website, “the overall goal is to have the approximately 100-mile trail system built and contiguously connected by 2036, with sections of trail along the route being built in phases.”

A maintenance plan is being implemented that will require the hiring of a four-person concrete crew. Tasks include, but are not limited to, building missing sidewalk connections throughout the city, as well as replacing damaged trail and sidewalk panels.

Construction materials can vary greatly depending on the conditions of each vybe, but in general the trails are to be 12 feet wide to accommodate golf carts and other neighborhood electric vehicles, with 2-foot clear zones on each side.

Other elements considered essential to the system include wi-fi, security cameras, smart light poles every 100 feet, and root barriers to avoid heaving of trail foundations.

The estimated budget for personnel, equipment, and concrete, is $500,000 per year with the city obtaining state funding for the trail through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The order of phases will depend on key factors such as funding, establishing right-of-way, permitting, design and construction.

VBX Project ID: 2021-7503


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By |2021-10-19T14:13:40-05:00October 19th, 2021|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.

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