DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Park and Recreation Department of Dallas is implementing a new strategy to decrease traffic on the city’s popular Katy Trail — limiting access by what letter your last name starts with.

The public will have normal access to the Katy Trail on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

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But beginning Thursday, April 23, for the rest of the week and on the weekends, users whose last names begin with A through L are asked to use the Katy Trail only on Thursday and Saturday. Users whose last names begin with M through Z are encouraged to use the trail on Friday and Sunday.

“We know that getting outdoors is another way for families to cope with stay-at-home regulations. Overcrowding and congestion on the Katy Trail make it nearly impossible for users to practice adequate physical distancing. Our communities’ safety remains our key concern. We are working together to reduce the spread on this pandemic,” said Dallas Park and Recreation Director John D. Jenkins. “We want our outdoor spaces to be accessible and we want visitors to do their part to protect themselves and othe

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted about the strategy saying, “Beginning this Thursday, @DallasParkRec is implementing a new strategy to decrease traffic on the Katy Trail. M-W: Normal access Thursday and Saturday: Open to users with last names starting with letters A-L. Friday and Sunday: Open to users with last names M-Z.”

Johnson had more to say in a news release Monday afternoon.

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“The Katy Trail is an incredible asset to our city, and I love that Dallas residents want to use it to get fresh air and exercise during these difficult and unprecedented times,” Johnson said. “But I support the Park and Recreation Department’s approach to creating adequate physical distancing on the Katy Trail. We cannot allow this amenity to become a health hazard. We have to be willing to adjust our practices and behaviors and take personal responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can save lives and get through these challenging times as quickly as possible.”

In what some have complained are drastic measures, park rangers are already monitoring parks and trails to enforce gaps among visitors. The enforcement officers are stationed along the Katy Trail to encourage walkers, joggers and cyclists to follow the 6-foot requirements.

The officers, who hold up signs reminding visitors to maintain boundaries, have remained alongside visitors to the trail every day until night falls during the shelter-in-place order.

The Park and Recreation Department has also tried to limit crowding at parks with barricades at entrances and limits on vehicle traffic.

It worked with the Friends of Katy Trail to create the new approach to lessen congestion and encourage physical distancing. Johnson’s office and Park and Recreation also consulted with Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang regarding the guidelines.

The city is also trying to get a better handle on where and how many people are getting sick with COVID-19 and they are calling on the public to help.

The city launched a voluntary survey anyone in the DFW area can take.

It asks a person if they have any symptoms daily, even if they are mild.

The city said the survey is anonymous, but taking it will help track potential emerging COVID-19 hotspots faster than testing alone can provide.

Anyone can take the survey once a day.

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