Cyclists push for better trails in Amarillo - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Cyclists push for better trails in Amarillo

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AMARILLO - Bikers, hikers and runners are drawn to the Amarillo area thanks to Palo Duro Canyon, but one area organization is trying to improve the trails within and around the city limits.

The stretch of pavement along Loop 335 that many of us at NewsChannel 10 pass everyday on our way to work is actually a popular running and biking trail and "Share the Road" wants it to be treated like one.

"Old Soncy Trail is a best kept secret," Share the Road President Kenneth Graham said. "It's been here about 15 years."

Every day Amarillo runners and cyclists pound the old, rundown pavement parallel to the Loop.

That's why Graham asked the Amarillo City Commission for help keeping it nice at last week's city council meeting.

"Short term, we'd like to see a regular maintenance program here," Graham said. "Long term, we'd like to see this trail preserved for generations to come."

The trail is what's left of Old Soncy Road before the loop was built. It's three miles long, but along the way there's not a single sign that designates it as an official trail, not to mention any official parking lots, or rest stops.

Graham says city commissioners seemed very interested in helping fix that, but most of the trail is outside city limits and in TxDOT jurisdiction.

Others believe the city's time and money would be better spent finding a way to connect the Rock Island Rail Trail safely to the Old Soncy Trail.

"It would be hugely beneficial," Beth Brannon said.

Employees at Hill's Sport Shop say it would be more beneficial to provide a safe way to get to the Old Soncy Trail on a bike or on foot, so people can bike or run a longer distance if they desire.

There are plenty of great designated trails in Amarillo they say, but not enough to qualify the city as a bike and pedestrian friendly city.

"More and more people are trying to commute to work, and just for leisure, or to get in shape, and you're just so limited here in Amarillo, which is a bummer because we have so much space and so much road that could be utilized," Brannon said.

Graham with has a meeting with TxDOT Friday to share his ideas and concerns about the Old Soncy Trail.