Walkers, runner and bikers haven't waited for its official opening to do their thing on the South Belt's new 2.5 miles hike and bike trail, and unfortunately, neither have some motorized vehicle operators.
Some 15 citations, in the form of both warnings and tickets, were issues for unauthorized use of a motorized vehicle on the trail during the first two weeks of public use, said M.U.D 13 Marshal and Security Alliance Chief Rick Holloman.
The citations have gone to offenders on and in vehicles ranging from dit bikes to fout-wheel drive trucks, he said.
While some offenders have received only warnings, Harris County Precint I administrattive aide All Calloway said the preceinct, which has incorporated the trail into its park system, has given law enforcement officials the go-ahead for strict enforcement of the prohibition of motor vehicles.
While the pavement can withstand the weight of smaller motor vehicles, the vehicles present a safety hazard, Calloway said.
Along with local entities, Precinct 1's parks deputies will also patrol the trail, Calloway said, although the precinct is short on manpower and funds.
Calloway said he will be presenting recommendations to Precinct I Commisioner El Franco Lee regarding patrol of the trail, but would not divulge those recommendations.
In addition to keeping motor vehicles off the trail, Calloway said the precinct is asking users to practice good human relations. For instance, bikers using the trail in groups may consider using it at times when fewer pedestrians are known to be using the trail.
The formal opening of the trail will take place Friday at 10 a.m. at the detention pond which it encircles.
The community is incited to the ribbon cutting being hosted by Lee, the South Belt Civic Coalition and M.U.D. 10.
The Coalition helped plan the trail and solicited funds for its construction. Precinct I's construction crews built the eight-foot-wide trail which cost some $35,000 per mile to build.
Extension of the trail, which begins at Hughes Ranch Road and encircles the Harris Country Flood Control detention pond behind South Bend will be contingent on the receipt of additional funds.
Parking will be provided off of Dixie Farm Road. The turn-off is behind the ballfields.