Belden Trial Connect Ribbon Cutting Event!

Last month the City of Brownsville inaugurated the Belden Connect Project with a celebration ride for the community. The [bc] and Ambiotec Group design is an extension of the mile long Belden Trail that opened to the public in 2013 connecting West Brownsville to Downtown Brownsville and the Mitte Cultural District.

More events are scheduled! Check out the websites below for more information:

Belden Trail Up & Rolling

Read more about our work in the RGV.

belden trail_complete

A new pedestrian and biking trail was recently completed in Brownsville, TX that connects the historic neighborhoods of West Brownsville, Rio Viejo, and Downtown.  The Belden Trail, once an abandoned rail line, is now part of the City’s growing network of walking and biking infrastructure. Named after one of the City's founders, Belden Street was converted to an extension of the West Rail Line, then abandoned to backyard alleys, and has now been reclaimed as 5,170 linear feet of accessible park. It is book-ended by Sunrise Rotary Park and Riverside Park and connects to three different schools. The neighborhoods that have direct access to the trail are diverse, but primarily low-income, with many families and elderly that rely on alternative forms of transportation.

Since the first patch of concrete was placed, the community began to provide the life and vibrancy to the trail that will ensure its success.  Any evening in West Brownsville one will find families out together on this stretch of land, now lit and cared for, that they were afraid to walk through just six months ago.  Both programmed and informal events continue to take place along the trail, including two bikes for tikes rides, social walks and rides, and art projects.

The project team consisted of: Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) - client bcWORKSHOP- community outreach and design Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) - construction

The land is owned by the City of Brownsville, and funded and developed by BCIC and a grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife. Other City departments contributed to the design and approval and investment process, including but not limited to a sidewalk accessibility improvement project around the trail and public transit routes in the neighborhood (BMetro) and increased street lighting (PUB).

bcWORKSHOP was involved for the past year in pre-design community engagement, design, and construction management, and participatory activities throughout the process. Even while under construction, and in full swing now, the community itself has initiated a number of events and engaged activities along the trail.  bcWORKSHOP continues to participate, as a part of the neighborhood, in community-driven activities along the trail.

belden trail engagement

Throughout initial community engagement, the top priorities were consistently safety and shade.  The design provides complete protection from vehicular traffic, increased crossing safety at each of the 16 street crossings through traffic calming measures and additional signage, and additional lighting throughout.  Designed as an urban one-mile linear park, it has ancillary paths and rest areas that provide shade, seating, trash, and bike parking.  All landscape was selected for its beauty, shading, low-maintenance and drought resistance qualities, and for its history and ruggedness in the unique South Texas ecosystem.

Like Friends of the Belden Trail on Facebook!

Read more about the Belden Trail:

Master plan lays out vision for connected Brownsville - Brownsville Herald

Brownsville Celebrates Opening of Belden Trail - Brownsville Herald

Belden Trail off and running - Brownsville Herald

Belden Trail takes Strides - Brownsville Herald

The Long Road to the Belden Trail - United Brownsville

Brownsville Receives Rail-Trail Grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife - Bike Texas

Belden Trail Groundbreaking

Learn more about our work in the RGV.

March 21st, 2013 marked the groundbreaking ceremony for Belden Trail in Brownsville, TX. The ceremony was held at the intersection of West 8th and Fronton Street behind Skinner Elementary School. About 100 people were in attendance, including Brownsville Mayor Martinez, Commissioner Virrareal, Skinner Elementary Principal Moore, Assistant Superintendent Haynes, Community Development Corporation Brownsville Executive Director Nick Mitchell-Bennett, and Commissioner Rose Gowen who spoke on the importance of the Trail. See local coverage of the event from the Brownsville Herald and United Brownsville!

The groundbreaking was a celebration of every contribution by community residents, stakeholders, and project partners toward the development, planning, and design of this project. The process was a community wide effort of collaboration between adjacent residents and institutions as well as project partners and the City of Brownsville.

The trail design includes a pedestrian and bike pathway connecting Skinner Elementary School to Praxedis Orive Jr. Park on Palm Boulevard. The 10 foot-wide pathway also runs alongside Sams Memorial Stadium. The trail design includes:

  • local plants and shade trees including tall grasses and wildflowers, live oak trees, red yucca, sacahuista, and mealy blue sage
  • bike racks, play areas, and local art at Rotary Park, Skinner Elementary School, and the Elizabeth Street intersection.
  • safe street crossings with the addition of street chokers to slow traffic, signage, and crosswalks.

The addition of this public space in Brownsville will encourage healthy lifestyles, diversify transportation options and increase access to natural resources. The trail will serve as an example for continued development of a city-wide trail system increasing city residents' access to cultural, recreational, and natural amenities.

The trail will be under construction for the next two months. You can read more about the background of Belden Trial here. Be sure to like The Friends of Belden Trail on Facebook for updates!

Belden Trail

Learn more about Belden Trail and our work in the RGV.

Aerial photo of trail site

bcWORKSHOP has been invited to assist in the transformation of a former railroad segment into the Belden Trail, an urban pedestrian pathway, with the Friends of the Belden Trail, the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) and the lively West Brownsville community. This partnership began working together to collect memories, values, goals, and visions for the future. This community-wide effort builds upon the rich history of West Brownsville and aims  to keep the City moving, healthy, safe, and connected. The Belden Trail will be one of many inter-urban bike trail links that are planned or already built throughout the city. Community members and meeting participants are keenly aware of the connections between health and quality of life, and the need for healthy living opportunities in South Texas.

Dating back to the original township survey, the trail was once a street named after Brownsville founder, Samuel Belden. Over the course of years, the route was converted into part of the city’s expanding train track network and eventually abandoned as Brownsville’s transportation network and needs evolved. The tracks were removed, and the stretch was left to function as an informal alley, walking route and parking lane. The S-shaped street is in various states of repair along the one mile that connects West Brownsville to downtown neighborhoods. When completed, the trail will provide a safe pedestrian and bike-riding connection for the families of West Brownsville to commercial areas, schools, parks, and cultural resources in the historic town center. It will be a safe and fun route as well as a destination itself.

Follow the Friends of the Belden Trail to learn more about the project and get involved.