As winter approaches several trail projects are being completed while others are delayed probably until spring.
Cavett School to Yankee Hill Road
The Tierra Williamsburg Trailâ€™s southern end was formerly at San Mateo Drive about half a block east of Cavett School. But now the city has completed an extension of this trail around the east and south sides of the school where it picks up a drainage area south to Yankee Hill Road. This neighborhood is one of the fastest growing residential areas in Lincoln, and the major goal of the project was to provide a safe walking path for kids to get to Cavett School. Runners and bikers in the neighborhood can use this inviting new trail to access Tierra Williamsburg, which connects into the Rock Island and Boosalis Trails, so it is a win for all. The next phase of the project will include completing the underpass to the south side of Yankee Hill Road, which is also experiencing explosive growth.
Salt Creek Levee Trail from 14thÂ Street to Cornhusker Highway
Just a few months ago the Nebraska Resource District (NRD) completed a paved extension of the Salt Creek Levee Trail from the Haymarket Ball Park over to 14th Street just below UNLâ€™s Hibner Stadium for soccer and tennis. An underpass under 14th Street provided a direct link to the Antelope Valley Trail connections and to the Nebraska Innovation Campus (formerly the State Fairgrounds). There is currently a detour on this trail because the 10th Street bridge is being replaced.
The NRD has now begun work on the extension of the trail along the creek from 14th Street over to near the 27th Street overpass abutting the Nebraska Innovation Campus. It will then connect to an existing trail along the creek that includes an underpass under Cornhusker Highway and at a grade school crossing with a pedestrian light at 27th, then north to Superior just west of 33rd Street. This existing trail is not heavily used, but once the connection is made runners and bikers in the north central area, including North Star High School, can use this trail to access the Haymarket and downtown areas. This has been another fast-growing residential area in Lincoln and one underserved by good running trails.
Boosalis Trail Extension
Old-timers (like yours truly) remember the days when Lincoln Marathon runners faced a daunting task when they got to the Boosalis Trail (Highway 2). A narrow, cracked, and often wet sidewalk greeted them at 48th Street. But the true horror was west of 27th where the trail was a decrepit asphalt path. Even in those days of yore when the marathon was much smaller, this was a bottleneck. But the LTC pulled together an array of funding sources including the Lincoln Tourism Bureau, Great Plains Trails Network, the Jayne Snyder Trail Endowment, and its own funds to upgrade and widen this trail.
Until recently marathoners could get a glimpse of the old days if they looked ahead on the trail before turning north on 20th Street. The LTC effort on Boosalis ended with the marathon route, and the old asphalt remained to the west. Finally, the city of Lincoln has completed the upgrade of the Boosalis Trail to its end. The new wide trail continues west to the Department of Roads complex and north to Burnham Street.
The big winners are the people of the neighborhood who now have a smooth, wide path that connects to the Boosalis and the cityâ€™s trail system. But other runners, out for a long run, might want to consider a little add-on along this nice new trail. Ultimately the city hopes to find a better way to connect to Van Dorn Park with a safer crossing of 9th and 10th Streets. The current approach of darting across four lanes of semi-truck traffic is not recommended. If a safer crossing can be done, the trail in Van Dorn Park runs west and connects to the Bison Trail (and Pioneer Park) and to the Salt Creek Levee Trail. Head north on the Salt Creek and you are downtown; head south to the Jamaica North Trail and you can run to Marysville, Kansasâ€”if you are training for an ultra. Running the Boosalis Trail will give you miles of options.
Rock Island under Penny Brides Delayed
In the last issue of FastTimes I mentioned potential detours along the Rock Island under the Sheridan Penny Bridges. Drainage issues needed fixing as well as replacement of defective concrete. This issue has been delayed (as often happens with government projects) and might not start until after the winter. So expect the wet conditions on the trail to continue.
Need to add a little pizzazz to your run? Take your running group on a loop of the renovated Centennial Mall. Especially if you run early on a weekend morning, the street crossings should be manageable. The latest addition is the stunning sculpture of Chief Standing Bear, the Ponca leader who won a major human rights victory in Nebraska.
See you on the trails!