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PHARR, RGV – The hike and bike trail on 2nd Street in McAllen will soon be extended all the way to San Juan!

Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s transportation policy committee has unanimously approved funding $6.44 million for a hike and bike trail in Precinct 2.

Hidalgo County Commissioner Eddie Cantu
Hidalgo County Commissioner Eddie Cantu

The trail will run from McAllen to San Juan, south of Expressway 83, connecting to the City of McAllen’s hike and bike trail on 2nd Street. In San Juan it will start on South San Antonio Avenue. It will run west along the PSJA Bears Trail, which ends on East Moore Road in Pharr. It will then head west along Moore and Yuma Avenue to South 2nd Street. At Cage Boulevard in Pharr it would intersect a proposed hike and bike trail the City of Pharr is working on.

The idea for the new hike and bike trail came from Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner Eduardo “Eddie” Cantu. He identified funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program. With this funding, Cantu said, Hidalgo County has taken a huge step towards advancing regionalization and connectivity for pedestrian transportation facilities in the area.

In a news release, Cantu said trail systems are associated with outstanding communities. Linking communities with trails and greenways is a critical component of the urban pulse, he said, pointing out that trails provide numerous benefits and create a sustainable and healthy community.

“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.

Cantu said the “P2H&B” project is part of a master plan to create a 7.74 mile hike and bike trail. When completed, he said the region will have one of the most beautiful and diverse urban hike and bike trails.

When complete, the Precinct 2 Regional Hike and Bike Trail will not only provide connections between the cities of McAllen, Pharr and San Juan, but also to the City of Edinburg’s hike and bike trail system. In time, it will connect to UT-Rio Grande Valley. The City of Hidalgo and Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 2 want to build a hike and bike trail also and so in time Cantu’s project could connect with that.

Cantu said the master plan includes the installation of lighting, landscaping with native trees and plants, and educational and informational signs. He said 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 most crucial aspect of the project, Cantu said, is that it will promote the importance of general exercise and a healthy lifestyle, noting that Hidalgo County has high rates for obesity.

“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.

The P2H&B can serve as a model for the innovative public and private partnerships that will make the regional plan a reality, Cantu added in his news release.