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Nicholson Street Hike And Bike Trail


lwood

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Has anyone heard whether or not they are still planning to place bollards along the street to prevent people from driving on the trail, or on the grass in between the trail and the street? Every day I see a guy on a Vespa fly by my house on the trail. And now all the "lovely" grass they planted is being driven on as people can't figure out shere the road ends and the trail begins.

I've also heard that they are doing no additional landscaping other than the "grass" they planted; that it will be up to the homeowners living on the street as to whether or not they want to make any additional plantings. That's fine with me, but I sure as heck would like to get those plants in before it turns 90 out!

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Has anyone heard whether or not they are still planning to place bollards along the street to prevent people from driving on the trail, or on the grass in between the trail and the street? Every day I see a guy on a Vespa fly by my house on the trail. And now all the "lovely" grass they planted is being driven on as people can't figure out shere the road ends and the trail begins.

I've also heard that they are doing no additional landscaping other than the "grass" they planted; that it will be up to the homeowners living on the street as to whether or not they want to make any additional plantings. That's fine with me, but I sure as heck would like to get those plants in before it turns 90 out!

The bollards should start to go up sometime next week starting with the 1100 block of Nicholson since they have had so many problems with people parking on trail and grass. After the bollards are complete, TXDot plans to do one more planting/spraying of grass....I would assume within 2-3 weeks it would be safe to start planting.

Also, I have heard that the Heights Association is working with the Urban Forestry Dept and several other business to help to plant additional trees/landscaping on the trail (although this effort may take some time). The last I heard was that TxDot was only planning on planting around 150 trees.

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This is off topic, but pertains to bike trails near the Nicholson trail.

I rode my bike up the White Oak trail all the way to the end, and came back to 11th street. I then wanted to ride to Memorial Park, but there is no way to go there safely without a huge detour to the East.

The bike trail map indicates that TC Jester is multiuse for bikes and cars, but I don't want to ride South on TC Jester over the railroad yard bridge with cars and trucks going about 50 mph next to me in narrow lanes. I tried the sidewalk, but on the bridge over the railroad yard the sidewalk narrows and there is no safety barrier to prevent me from tumbling off the bridge except some very low railing. It was scary and I experienced vertigo on the crest of the bridge.

TC Jester must have originally been only two lanes and it is now four with not enough room for cars and bikes. Does anyone know of a good way to get to Memorial Park from the White Oak trail safely? Is the city planning any new bike trails that would go this way?

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Ya, TCJ south of 11th is eskeery.

If I'm doing that route I go West on 11th to Ella. Go north on Ella to 12th. Take 12th across Hempstead. At the 610-loop there's a marked bike lane. Follow it to little jog to the north. Stay on the bike lane. It crosses the loop at an underpass then meets back with 12th on the other side. Continue west to N. Post Oak Road. Take the bike lane south crossing I-10. You have to take a right on ??? street. I can't remember the name, but there's a bike route sign, and the bike lane ends. Then take an immediate left (south) on N Post Oak Lane. Stay on there until Woodway. Take a Left onto the bike path on the south side of Woodway. Head eastbound on the bike path, cross at I610 and stay on the bike path until you reach the park.

Sounds more complicated than it is. Traffic isn't too bad on this route. The only two notable parts are 11th to Ella's pretty narrow but it's a short distance. Crossing Woodway can be tough, but there's a traffic signal there. It's the least traffic-y way I know to do it without going back to Heights and heading south. That's not a bad option either.

I assume you've seen this map http://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/bikew...map_network.pdf?

Edited by Gooch
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The bollards should start to go up sometime next week starting with the 1100 block of Nicholson since they have had so many problems with people parking on trail and grass. After the bollards are complete, TXDot plans to do one more planting/spraying of grass....I would assume within 2-3 weeks it would be safe to start planting.

Also, I have heard that the Heights Association is working with the Urban Forestry Dept and several other business to help to plant additional trees/landscaping on the trail (although this effort may take some time). The last I heard was that TxDot was only planning on planting around 150 trees.

Thank you my well informed bike trail brutha! I shall plan my plantings in early May. :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

Intersections!

We rode along the trail this weekend from 23rd to the RR bridge. There are a few spots that really need some pedestrian signals---at 11th street and at Yale in particular. I had my 7-year-old in tow, and these are tough crossings when your pedal cranks are that short!

Does anyone know if anything is planned for the major intersections? I'd be interested to know which district H candidates would support livability issues like these (feel free not to reply to this as I don't want this to get political).

I used to live in Oregon, and there were special signals that only turned if a pedestrian hit the button. So they didn't upset traffic unless there really was a person wanting to get across the street. This seems like a great solution.

Thanks

Waiting to Cross

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Intersections!

We rode along the trail this weekend from 23rd to the RR bridge. There are a few spots that really need some pedestrian signals---at 11th street and at Yale in particular. I had my 7-year-old in tow, and these are tough crossings when your pedal cranks are that short!

Does anyone know if anything is planned for the major intersections? I'd be interested to know which district H candidates would support livability issues like these (feel free not to reply to this as I don't want this to get political).

I used to live in Oregon, and there were special signals that only turned if a pedestrian hit the button. So they didn't upset traffic unless there really was a person wanting to get across the street. This seems like a great solution.

Thanks

Waiting to Cross

I'm with you on this. Like I've said before, every intersection down from 24th to 8th St has a stop sign, and only 2 of those are 4 way stops. I think the trail works fine for running/walking, but it's way too stop and go to make for an enjoyable bike ride. When it's complete it'll be a nice path I can work my way downtown on, but all the stopping really gets old on a bike.

I do like that I'm seeing lots of people on it every day, maybe even more than on Heights Blvd. I forget what street, maybe just north of 13th, but there's one family always out there in lawn chairs with the kids playing. I think that's what we need more of, neighbors out seeing and talking to other neighbors. I'm trying to do it.

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Anyone seen crews working on this lately? I haven't notice any additions in the last few months. Even if the bridges are going to take awhile I wish they'd complete the other sections. I can live without the bollards and traffic control if they'd complete the E-W section between Yale and Waverly.

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Anyone seen crews working on this lately? I haven't notice any additions in the last few months. Even if the bridges are going to take awhile I wish they'd complete the other sections. I can live without the bollards and traffic control if they'd complete the E-W section between Yale and Waverly.

They're working on that section now. The forms are in place at Yale.

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I do like that I'm seeing lots of people on it every day, maybe even more than on Heights Blvd. I forget what street, maybe just north of 13th, but there's one family always out there in lawn chairs with the kids playing. I think that's what we need more of, neighbors out seeing and talking to other neighbors. I'm trying to do it.

Well, I am going out on a limb, but I think you're talking about our family! We're at 13th ... yes, our kids would be outside 24 hours a day, if they could. We eat dinner outside nearly every night, too. (haha)

We were skeptical at first, but we're truly thrilled with the trail now! We've met so many people - more every week.

I am, however, hopeful that the city will maybe put in more stop signs. 13th can be pretty scary, and we've seen people race across the intersection without really checking for traffic. Really praying that there isn't a disaster in the future. (and since our kids are always outside, that would be a double-disaster to witness)

--janis,etc

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Well, I am going out on a limb, but I think you're talking about our family! We're at 13th ... yes, our kids would be outside 24 hours a day, if they could. We eat dinner outside nearly every night, too. (haha)

We were skeptical at first, but we're truly thrilled with the trail now! We've met so many people - more every week.

I am, however, hopeful that the city will maybe put in more stop signs. 13th can be pretty scary, and we've seen people race across the intersection without really checking for traffic. Really praying that there isn't a disaster in the future. (and since our kids are always outside, that would be a double-disaster to witness)

--janis,etc

That's great, and we'll probably see you outside soon! We'll be pushing around a stroller with a crazy little redhead girl who will probably be trying to work her way out of the stroller at all times. She does what she wants, but she's cute so it's ok most of the time.

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If you knew the history of how long it took to get started, I think it was hard not to be skeptical. I was a little skeptical, too.

But I must say that, while the project hasn't proceeded on a super-expedited basis or anything (is December still the projected completion date?), it seems to have been progressing steadily since it got going, and more quickly than I anticipated.

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During the groundbreaking they said completion was August, although there was a general acceptance that this would be done well before that. The next phase of the trail, which will take this on towards UHD, is supposed to start in the fall. Not sure if that is still the plan what with money being tight and all...

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They were indeed pouring concrete on the bridge that crosses over Studewood last night. Very impressive sight! The guard rails look really low and I wonder if there are plans to make them a bit taller for safety reasons or put fencing over the top.

The tressel over the bayou is in need of major work after several fires and general neglect. Now that folks will be able to access the tressel in both directions, I hope they make improvements before someone gets hurt.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Walked the trail today from W 14 to the tressle. Took some pics of the progress.

They extended the trail west of Nicholson to Lawrence Park, near N. Shepherd. This may come in handy for the drug dealers (discussed in This thread).

IMG_2141.jpg

They have not completed a large part of the section between Nicholson and Yale. One matter with which they are dealing is reconfiguration of the drainage at the bottom of the north-south streets in that area. I was also surprised that they are putting a large part of this segment on the side of the old rail bed, not on the bed itself.

IMG_2143.jpg

Based on these insets at the street intersections, it appears they do intend to put in posts to block cars from driving onto the trails. They did not include these insets along Nicholson.

IMG_2144.jpg

The stretch below White Oak, adjacent to the Freeland Historic District offers a great view of the CBD skyline.

IMG_2145.jpg

They have pulled up the old ties from the tressle, but that's it. They also have poured the concrete on the stretch over the knob between the tressle and the bridge over Studemont.

IMG_2146.jpg

The public art projects are being installed. (The artist, Miguel, has a magnified view of his artistic abilties...among other things).

IMG_2147.jpg

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I cycled most of the trail yesterday and was dissappointed to see the graffiti artists had already spray painted their sense of 'humor' on the trail by the train trestle (your last pic, Porch, good thing you didn't show all of it). Whoever Geno's mom is, she is not friends with the taggers.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I rode the length of the trail today, from my house as far as it would go. Still nothing on the RR bridge over White Oak Bayou. I crossed the bayou on Studemont, then rode down the side of the bayou to the other end of the RR bridge. From there I crossed the bridge over Studemont. It was a nice ride under I-10 and past the Target and Sawyer Heights area. That area is looking more and more busy. The part I hadn't been down was after that down Spring St. I like that stretch. A bit seedy, but that's my style when it comes to urban exploration on a bike. The part all the way down Spring is finished, across Houston Ave.

Past there it goes underneath the I-10/I-45 monster-change, which I have to say was kind of surreal. I know I'm right next to downtown, but there's really no sign of it. Only elevated freeways, the bayou, and lots of green (mostly weeds). I got to a bridge that crossed white oak bayou, and right after that the trail stopped. I wish I brought the camera along, but oh well. Looking on google maps I think the area past this is going to be pretty cool, along the bayou with great view of downtown, next to some warehouse type businesses. I assume it will cross the bayou into downtown right before Main, I see another old RR bridge there.

I can't wait until they finish it off, it's a million times better for going from my house to downtown on a bike than taking regular streets. Much more direct, and even though you cross a lot of streets it's a lot less traffic than if you rode the streets.

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I'm making it as a Bikely route but I can only go one path, so should I go the route that follows Spring Street or the one that goes through Stude Park? Which is the actual Nicholson trail? The city seems to have deleted the individual trail maps and I just have the big one.

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Starting on September 2, there's going to be some impromptu cyclocross races in the grassy area between White Oak Bayou and I-10 adjacent to the new bikepath, on Wednesday nights at 6:00. Allegedly work on the RR bridge crossing the bayou is supposed to be done in September. This is a very grassroots type event with the blessing of the proper authorities, come on down if you'd like to watch me suffer (and maybe try it yourself!)

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A quick question on bike trail safety/etiquette, to which there may be no "right" answer: If I'm a walker/jogger on a bike trail, do I:

A. stick to the left of the path (like I would if I were walking on a street), facing oncoming traffic, so that I can step off the trail and out of the way when a bike is coming?

B. stick to the right of the path (like I would on a jogging trail), so I'm heading the same direction as the bikes, as bikes can pass me on the left?

I guess there's a third option - C. I shouldn't be walking on the bike trail any more than I should be biking on the Boulevard jogging trail - but it seems like A is the functional equivalent of C given that I wouldn't be "in the way" of any bicycles.

I'm not looking to start a bikers vs. joggers/walkers argument - I'll probably be on the trail on my bike more than I'll be on it as a pedestrian - I was just hoping to find out if there's an accepted bike trail convention to follow when I'm a pedestrian. The predictability of convention seems to be the key to safety when it comes to the mixing of people and wheels...

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A quick question on bike trail safety/etiquette, to which there may be no "right" answer: If I'm a walker/jogger on a bike trail, do I:

A. stick to the left of the path (like I would if I were walking on a street), facing oncoming traffic, so that I can step off the trail and out of the way when a bike is coming?

B. stick to the right of the path (like I would on a jogging trail), so I'm heading the same direction as the bikes, as bikes can pass me on the left?

I guess there's a third option - C. I shouldn't be walking on the bike trail any more than I should be biking on the Boulevard jogging trail - but it seems like A is the functional equivalent of C given that I wouldn't be "in the way" of any bicycles.

I'm not looking to start a bikers vs. joggers/walkers argument - I'll probably be on the trail on my bike more than I'll be on it as a pedestrian - I was just hoping to find out if there's an accepted bike trail convention to follow when I'm a pedestrian. The predictability of convention seems to be the key to safety when it comes to the mixing of people and wheels...

Best advice is do just you would driving on the road. Stay to the right allowing faster traffic to pass on the left. It's the biker's duty to pass safely, or yield if necessary. C. - is not an option. You have as much right to be there as anyone on a bike.

Edited by Gooch
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A quick question on bike trail safety/etiquette, to which there may be no "right" answer: If I'm a walker/jogger on a bike trail, do I:

A. stick to the left of the path (like I would if I were walking on a street), facing oncoming traffic, so that I can step off the trail and out of the way when a bike is coming?

B. stick to the right of the path (like I would on a jogging trail), so I'm heading the same direction as the bikes, as bikes can pass me on the left?

I guess there's a third option - C. I shouldn't be walking on the bike trail any more than I should be biking on the Boulevard jogging trail - but it seems like A is the functional equivalent of C given that I wouldn't be "in the way" of any bicycles.

I'm not looking to start a bikers vs. joggers/walkers argument - I'll probably be on the trail on my bike more than I'll be on it as a pedestrian - I was just hoping to find out if there's an accepted bike trail convention to follow when I'm a pedestrian. The predictability of convention seems to be the key to safety when it comes to the mixing of people and wheels...

I agree with Gooch, stick to the right to allow them to pass. It's much easier on this trail than the biking trails at Memorial where I was this morning. I know that pedestrians (and their free roaming dogs) are free to be on the trails, but so many are clueless and inconsiderate when it comes to getting out of the way. The runners on those trails are much better about it than the people with dogs. If I'm coming down a big decline, your dog is just standing in the middle of the path and isn't on a leach, and I have nowhere to veer off the path without going in a gully and no ability to stop fast enough, your dog is going to get hit and I'm not going to feel very bad about it. So leash up, I think that's the rule anyway.

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For maximum safety on a shared bike/walking/jogging path, pedestrians should:

a) Stick to the right

B) When walking/jogging two abreast, move over to allow a faster trail user to overtake you

c) Keep the volume on earphones low enough so that you can hear a cylist coming up behind you

d) If you hear the phrase "on your left", it means you are about to be passed on the left. It does not mean you should jump to your left, which usually puts you and a cyclist in a bad situation

e) Please, PLEASE do not walk your dog on a retractable leash. Cyclists usually can't see them until it is too late.

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Thanks for the responses. I was thinking A made the most sense for a bike trail, but it sounds like B is the precedent, and that's good enough for me. B should work if bikers call out, and if walkers/joggers stick to the right and don't wear headphones. I'm happy to respect that as both a walker and biker.

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For maximum safety on a shared bike/walking/jogging path, pedestrians should:

a) Stick to the right

B) When walking/jogging two abreast, move over to allow a faster trail user to overtake you

c) Keep the volume on earphones low enough so that you can hear a cylist coming up behind you

d) If you hear the phrase "on your left", it means you are about to be passed on the left. It does not mean you should jump to your left, which usually puts you and a cyclist in a bad situation

e) Please, PLEASE do not walk your dog on a retractable leash. Cyclists usually can't see them until it is too late.

+100

I heartily concur with all these.. While biking the TC Jester trail, I've encountered many runners/walkers who would be good to abide by these. These should be posted.

With D, it amazes me that runners have to turn around to look at you and end up being in the middle or left lane when you're trying to pass.. Sometimes I may not even say anything an give them a wide berth and just go by them cautiously.. Usually they end up startled, but neither of us are laying on the ground..

And if there's a kid on a bike or walking.. I slow to a crawl.. I think kids purposefully jump in front of you when you're about to pass. :)

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Starting on September 2, there's going to be some impromptu cyclocross races in the grassy area between White Oak Bayou and I-10 adjacent to the new bikepath, on Wednesday nights at 6:00. Allegedly work on the RR bridge crossing the bayou is supposed to be done in September. This is a very grassroots type event with the blessing of the proper authorities, come on down if you'd like to watch me suffer (and maybe try it yourself!)

Saw y'all yesterday driving home from work on i-10 at the Heights exit. Looked like a good turnout and a good time. . .

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Good news! The missing piece of the trail is finally under construction!

I drove down Studewood this afternoon and as I was crossing the bridge over White Oak, I saw workers out on the old train testle. Workers... actually working, not inspecting, or surveying, but removing timbers and possibly even welding/cutting steel. If I can find my camera, I'll ride down and get some pictures in the morning.

It'll be nice to finally have this bridge complete, it's been a long time coming.

Mike

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Good news! The missing piece of the trail is finally under construction!

I drove down Studewood this afternoon and as I was crossing the bridge over White Oak, I saw workers out on the old train testle. Workers... actually working, not inspecting, or surveying, but removing timbers and possibly even welding/cutting steel. If I can find my camera, I'll ride down and get some pictures in the morning.

It'll be nice to finally have this bridge complete, it's been a long time coming.

Mike

Welcome to HAIF, and thanks for the good news. FINALLY!! I need this trail completed.

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Good news! The missing piece of the trail is finally under construction!

I drove down Studewood this afternoon and as I was crossing the bridge over White Oak, I saw workers out on the old train testle. Workers... actually working, not inspecting, or surveying, but removing timbers and possibly even welding/cutting steel. If I can find my camera, I'll ride down and get some pictures in the morning.

It'll be nice to finally have this bridge complete, it's been a long time coming.

There's one more missing piece, under the freeways before it gets to UHD. That part seems like its going to be easy.

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There's one more missing piece, under the freeways before it gets to UHD. That part seems like its going to be easy.

Actually the section under I-45 is complete, it's just that the bridge over there is kind of a bridge to nowhere, and ends in a long dropoff.

I still ride down there and just walk the bike down that 3ft drop, and then on to UH-D and out to the East End trails. It's a nice ~25 mile ride from the heights out to Lockwood @ Buffalo Bayou, if you ride all the trails out there. Its currently only possible on a mountain bike though, or maybe a cyclocross, due to the long gravel section before UH-D, and the strange patchwork of incomplete East End trails.

Riding down to UH-D also provides great acess to the Buffalo Bayou trails that end in Downtown. It makes a nice loop to ride the MKT trail to UH-D and then along the bayou to Sheperd and depending on how much distance you want, Waugh or Houston Ave. to get home.

I'm going to look for that camera now...

Mike

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Thanks for the responses. I was thinking A made the most sense for a bike trail, but it sounds like B is the precedent, and that's good enough for me. B should work if bikers call out, and if walkers/joggers stick to the right and don't wear headphones. I'm happy to respect that as both a walker and biker.

Here's why - used to happen in college ALL the time. Riding a bike, if I know what the pedestrian or other biker is going to do, I can pass them accordingly. If I have no idea whether they are playing chicken, going to break to my left or worse, goig to break to my right (across my path) - things get ugly :)

If I simply come up on you from behind I know you are going to keep going straight and I can pass accordingly.

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The Houston Heights Association newsletter seems to be suggesting the bike trail will be officially open by October 4:

General Meeting: Bicycling Weekend

The program for the September 14 General Meeting will be about the bicycling activities of “Heights Bicycling Weekend” on October 3 and 4.

Cheryl Hensley, City Social Planner, will discuss festivities planned to celebrate the opening of the Heights Bicycle Trail on Saturday, Oct. 3. Fred Zapalac, of Blue Line Bike Lab on White Oak, will discuss the Celebratory Party for bicyclists he is putting on Saturday evening, Oct. 3. Rally Chairman Paul Carr will discuss the Heights Bicycle Rally that will start and end at Marmion Park on Oct. 4. Heights Bicycle Weekend will end with the end-of-rally party in Marmion at 4:00 PM Sunday. The Heights Bicycle Rally will be the first event to utilize the new trail.

Or is that just wishful reading on my part?

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That could still mean everything but that bridge. Just in the past 2 weeks they smoothed all the road/trail transitions, that plus putting the posts at intersections sort of constitutes finishing touches. It'll look done, you just can't ride the length of it yet.

I saw the workers out on the bridge Friday. They had built some railings, but I couldn't tell what they were doing. Is there any chance they're keeping the base structure and not tearing it down? That would be kind of cool, but I can't think they'll do that. They've already built 2 bridges basically the same, I figure this one will look similar.

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I saw the workers out on the bridge Friday. They had built some railings, but I couldn't tell what they were doing. Is there any chance they're keeping the base structure and not tearing it down? That would be kind of cool, but I can't think they'll do that. They've already built 2 bridges basically the same, I figure this one will look similar.

I went down to look, and there was a crew out there. Couldn't see much from the trail, but it looked like they were (still) working on the railings. Don't know what the plan is, but seems like they could finish by October 4...

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