PHARR – Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization (HCMPO) Transportation Policy Committee unanimously approved funding $6.44 million for the Precinct 2 Regional Hike and Bike Trail (P2H&B) proposed by Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu through the Transportation Alternatives Program. With this funding, Hidalgo County took a huge step towards advancing regionalization and connectivity for pedestrian transportation facilities in the area.
Trail systems are associated with outstanding communities. Linking communities with trails and greenways is a critical component of the urban pulse. Trails provide numerous benefits and create a sustainable and healthy community.
The project is part of Cantu’s Master Plan to create a 7.74 mile hike and bike trail. According to Cantu, the region will have one of the most beautiful and diverse urban hike and bike trails.
"Proposed throughout three cities, San Juan, Pharr and McAllen, these trails connect communities, provide alternative transportation corridors, and will become an essential recreational amenity for our citizens," Cantu said.
The Precinct 2 Regional Hike and Bike Trail will provide connections to four major areas: the City of McAllen, City of Pharr and City of San Juan connecting in the future to the City of Edinburg hike and bike trail system and ultimately to the University of Texas- RGV. The Master Plan also includes plans to install lighting, landscape with native trees and plants, and provide educational and informational signs. The P2H&B will be an "Alternate Expressway" for bikers and walkers – the crucial centerpiece of the region's planned network of bike trails.
The construction of the trail will provide enhanced connectivity through extension of a major trail system and will also allow for a safer environment for pedestrian traffic accessing schools, public buildings, parks, and other recreational facilities in the area. In addition, the trail will promote the importance of general exercise and healthy lifestyle, Cantu said.
"One of the biggest problems we face for the future of Hidalgo County is childhood obesity and all its associated illnesses. I believe that by providing spaces like the P2H&B we are meeting our responsibility as elected officials to do what is best for the future of our community and meeting that challenge in a collective and regional way," Cantu said.