Following national trends of residents seeking recreational opportunities and alternative transportation, the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization voted Wednesday to add two multiuse paths to its current, four-year transportation plan. The two paths are planned to be developed in Sherman and Van Alstyne.

Following national trends of residents seeking recreational opportunities and alternative transportation, the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization voted Wednesday to add two multiuse paths to its current, four-year transportation plan. The two paths are planned to be developed in Sherman and Van Alstyne.


SDMPO Director Karl Welzenbach said legislation in the early 1990s like the Clean Air Act prompted communities to explore alternatives to conventional transportation. Since that time, bike and walking trails have become a mainstay in many urban communities, he said.


"It is a very efficient form of transportation," Welzenbach said. In some larger communities, bike paths have proved to be faster than conventional transit, he added.


In addition to efficiency, Welzenbach said these forms of development can be a boon for communities. He said there have been numerous studies that connect the development of recreational paths to increases nearby home prices and the redevelopment of languishing commercial areas.


"There are literally dozens of studies that show these paths promote economic development," he said.


The path in Sherman, which will extend along the northern side of State Highway 56 from Throckmorton to Montgomery, is a part of an ongoing streetscape improvement project. Sherman Public Works and Engineering Director Clay Barnett said the city has been working on the project — including securing funding grants — for some time.


"The step taken by the MPO this morning was just one step in that project," Barnett said.


The full streetscape project will also include street clean up, curb repair and new trees along the thoroughfare, he said. The shared-use path portion of the project is currently projected to cost just under $500,000 and will be funded through a combination of federal and local funds.


A second path will be developed in Van Alstyne alone State Highway 5 from Van Alstyne High School south to North Park on Grays Trails. Welzenbach said the trail is designed to give children a safe path between the park and school while also serving as a recreational activity for the entire community. The mile-long path is expected to cost about $600,000 to complete.