If you’re an avid greenway user like me, you’ve probably become accustomed to the abrupt endings of the eastern sections of the Crabtree Creek and Walnut Creek Trails. Good news! Our patience is soon to be rewarded. Just last week at their December 4th meeting, the Raleigh City Council approved construction contracts for new greenway projects that will complete an 18 mile continuous section of the Neuse River Trail, and allowing for connections to the Neuse River Trail from the Walnut Creek and Crabtree Creek Trails.
The Neuse River Trail is considered by greenway planners to be the “spine” of the Capital Area Greenway system. And having the “spine” in place makes the long awaited extensions of the existing greenways possible. Eventually the Neuse River Trail will be 28 miles long when the final southern extension to the Johnston County Line is completed. Click the image on the right to see an enlarged map showing how the main greenway trails will traverse the city of Raleigh less than 2 years from now.
Here is a look at the two sections (10 miles) of the Neuse River Trail, which were completed over the past year.
The first 6.5 miles of the Neuse River Trail were completed last fall.
An important first step in this chain of events took place in November of last year , with the completion of the “Upper Neuse” section. This 6.5 mile northernmost part of the Neuse River Trail extends from the Falls Lake Dam to the WRAL Soccer Field off Perry Creek Road. The trail passes under Falls of Neuse Road, New Falls of Neuse Road and Capital Boulevard.
Another 3.7 miles were completed this month.
Just this month (December 2012), the 4 mile “Hedingham” section of the Neuse River Trial was completed. This trail section starts at the right of way for the future extension of Skycrest Drive, and crosses under New Bern Avenue and Interstate 64 before ending at Anderson Point Park.
The remaining three sections are expected to be completed within the next two years, extending the Neuse River Trail for 18 miles.
Next in line is the “Buffalo Road” section.
The next Neuse River Trail section going south is referred to by planners as the “Buffalo Road” section. This 5.8 mile trail will begin in Horseshoe Farm Park and cross the river to the south side of the Neuse. The trail then drops south along the river, crossing under Interstate 540 and connecting with the existing greenway at Skycrest Drive (right of way). Completion is scheduled for spring of 2013.
Also in the spring another 1.3 mile section will be completed.
Continuing south, another short 1.3 mile section will extend from Poole Road to Anderson Point Park. There is a major bridge crossing Crabtree Creek, connecting to the existing trail in Anderson Point Park. Completion is scheduled for Spring of 2013.
The “Riverbend” section closes the gap in the Spring 2014.
The 1.2 mile “Riverbend” section of the Neuse River Trail will extend from the existing Upper Neuse Trail at the WRAL soccer complex to the bridge east of Horseshoe Farm Park. The greenway will enter the park from a pedestrian bridge on the west side of the park and exit the park on the east (downstream) side, with access to an extensive network of trails through the park. Completion is scheduled for Spring of 2014.
The Walnut Creek Trail will be connected in two phases.
The existing Lower Walnut Creek Trail is a 4.2 mile section that extends from the Walnut Creek Wetland Center to Rosedale Road. The extension of the Walnut Creek Trail to the Neuse River Trail will be completed in two phases. Completion is scheduled for December 2013.
Phase 1 is a 2.9 miles section, which extends the trail from Rose Lane through Worthdale Park, crossing under Interstate 440 and ending at New Hope Road. See Map.
Phase 2 is a 1.6 mile section which extends the trail again from New Hope Road to the Neuse River Trail just south of Poole Road. See Map.
And the Crabtree Creek Trail connection is planned for a year later.
The Crabtree Creek Trail will be extended 4.1 miles from New Bern Ave to the Neuse River Trail at Anderson Point Park. The extension will connect the existing trail at Milburnie Road, joining the Neuse River Trail at Anderson Point Park. The completed Crabtree Creek Trail will extend across the city, connecting several areas and facilities including Shelley Lake, Sertoma Park, Lassiter Mill, and Kiwanis Park. Completion is scheduled for Spring of 2014. See Map.
I’m grateful for the City Council’s stewardship of this precious resource that makes such a difference to Raleigh residents. For those who enjoy walking, jogging or biking through trails without having to contend with vehicle traffic, these new greenways add immensely to the quality of life. My wife and I met a couple on a trail a few weeks ago who told us that they bought their house, having seen it from the greenway. They imagined what it would be like to be able to go out the door any time to walk their dogs and be in the woods. Now they claim, they’re living the life of their dreams!
Be sure to check back on this blog periodically for updates on these future greenway connections.