Imagine trying to navigate to your house without any street names or addresses. What if there was an emergency? How would you direct someone to you?
With the increased popularity of the Trinity Trails, similar situations were occurring, and in 2010, TRWD’s Risk Management and Maintenance departments came up with a solution; adding 911 signs to the trail system and TRWD-maintained parks.
“Accidents were happening along the levee, and people did not know how to get emergency response vehicles to assist them,” said Norman Ashton, TRWD risk management manager. “We needed something in place that would help decrease the emergency response time.”
Keeping it simple and effective, Ashton and Jeff Dalton, a senior risk analyst with TRWD, modeled the signs after the ones seen on Katy Trail.
“We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,” said Ashton. “So, we met with the City of Dallas and decided to replicate the signs along the Katy Trail.
Ashton said each of the 911 signs were strategically placed around the Trinity Trails and Eagle Mountain Park as well as the newly paved 6-mile loop at Marine Creek Lake.
“We put them approximately 1000 feet apart, and less feet if there was a curve or something blocking a clear view,” he said. “We wanted to make sure you can always see a sign no matter where you’re at.”
The signs also have a naming convention that can be used for referencing your location. For example, Marine Creek starts with “MC,” the Clear Fork, starts with “CF,” etc. Dalton added that the signs also follow an odd/evens system similar to street addresses.
“Even numbers are on the left side and odd numbers are on the right side when you are facing downstream, so it instantly means something when someone says where they are at,” he said. “It was well thought out.”
Once the signs were in place, TRWD coordinated with the Tarrant County Emergency Dispatch and provided them with the fastest, most efficient route to each sign, minimizing response time.
The next time you’re out on the trails, don’t forget to keep an eye out for those green and white signs. You never know they might come in handy.