Being an avid runner and biker, I’ve continued to watch the development of the House Creek Greenway over the last months. This has sometimes involved climbing down steep ravines or getting into tall weeds to avoid muddy tracks, but I’ve been counting the weeks until this critical connection would be finished. House Creek Trail will provide a major linkage of two greenway systems, allowing users like me to traverse across the city on either the Walnut Creek system (15.2 miles) or the Crabtree Creek system (17.9 miles). While only 3 miles long, this trail provides an important connection between both greenway systems, creating a continuous greenway that extends a combined total of 36 miles. It also provides residents in north Raleigh a much needed bicycle and pedestrian route into Umstead Park.
This map shows the location of the House Creek Trail Greenway and the connections to the other two existing greenways. This project has been a major undertaking, including two pedestrian tunnels under Lake Boone and Glen Eden Drive, and a large bridge that spans a ravine at the southern end. It’s beautiful, situated within a mostly forested area, albeit a bit noisy as it runs along the 440 Beltline.
For the first time, downtown residents will have a continuous greenway that reaches the Crabtree Creek Greenway system.
Starting at the corner of Hargett & Person Streets, downtowners can loop south and west using the Walnut Creek Greenway to connect to the start of the Reedy Creek Greenway at Meredith College, and via House Creek Trail to link with a section of the Crabtree Trail located behind the Crabtree Valley Mall. A much shorter route going north from Downtown to the Crabtree Creek greenway along Pigeon House Branch is still to be worked out.
Knowing that the House Creek Trail is expected to open to the public next month (June 2012), I went out this weekend to check how close they were to completion. I found nearly all of the trail paved, though work continues on a large pedestrian bridge that spans a ravine adjacent to the Reedy Creek Greenway, and they’re still in the process of finishing the access from Lake Boone Trail Road – see map. Here are the road access points
- Ridge / Faircloth intersection adjacent to Whole Foods
- Lake Boone Trail, near intersection with 440
- Glen Eden Dr, near intersection with 440
- Blue Ridge Road / Crabtree Valley Blvd intersection behind the Mall
I don’t know if everyone else is as excited as I am about this latest link in the greenway. My wife and I moved to Raleigh after living almost a decade in England, where footpaths cross the country. I often commented as we hiked there about the foresight the Brits had, safeguarding people’s right of way across miles of countryside. I am grateful to live in an American city now, where that same dedication is evident. Preservation of the land is a critical aspect to responsible development.