CHANGES AT PIONEERS PARK
If you only go to Pioneers Park once a year for the Buffalo Run, you will find several changes. But if you are one of those runners who does hill work, you probably have already seen them, because Pioneers Park is a favorite of those who want to train on hills. The changes are a byproduct of Pinewood Bowl’s transition from a seldom used amphitheater into a major music venue. But if you are out for you morning run in the park, you won’t really be impacted by the nighttime concerts.
One positive change for runners is a new trail that parallels “killer hill” to connect to a new parking lot. “Killer hill” is behind Pinewood Bowl and often does in runners on the Buffalo Run seeking a PR for the day. The new trail allows you to do hill work to prep for the Buffalo Run without having worry about traffic on the road. We know that cars in the park are supposed to drive slowly and look for pedestrians, but this is not always the case. No worries, the trail is just a steep as the road, so you won’t miss out on any training benefits.
NEW UNDERPASS ON THE SALT CREEK LEVEE TRAIL
The Salt Creek Levee Trail runs along the top of the levee. The trail is simply a nice byproduct of the levee system that protects Lincoln from floods along the Salt Creek. Taking the trail from Haymarket Ball Park heading south one can connect to the Bison Trail and Pioneers Park (just south of Van Dorn) or link up with the Jamaica North Trail which will connect you with Marysville, Kansas (in case you are training for an ultra). But there has always been a big drawback. At west J Street the only way to get under the main group of railways lines was to detour over to First Street and use an ancient, dark, dank tunnel of full of water, mud, debris and worse. After 15 years of effort by officials, a new underpass was built under the railway tracks without the detour. The project required over $1 million to complete but greatly upgrades the experience of running or biking on the Salt Creek Levee Trail. As with most railway projects, safety was a prime factor in getting it completed. School children used the old tunnel which was deemed unsafe, and people would sometimes try to dart across the active trail lines at great risk.
NEW BISHOP HEIGHTS PLAN IS TRAIL FRIENDLY
The long-closed Bishop Heights shopping center at 27th and Highway 2 is to be demolished and replaced by a new multi-use development. This is of interest to runners because two of Lincoln’s most popular trails—the Rock Island and the Helen Boosalis—intersect by the center. The developer has released comprehensive plans for the new project, and they are very trail friendly. The plan includes several new links to both trails and improved landscaping.
The current view along the Rock Island Trail of the back of the long-closed Shopko will give way to landscaped berms with native plants. The project is unusual because it involves three developers. On the south end, a shopping complex will be built which will be similar to Southpointe Pavilions. In the center will be a five-story, 230-unit luxury apartment complex. North of Woods Blvd. will be an office complex. A hotel is also a possible addition to the project.
The developers pledge to provide several trail connections to the center including a new link from Woods Blvd. to the Rock Island Trail. Currently there is a dirt track worn through by bike riders, but the new link will be paved, sloped and ADA compatible. Currently many runners park adjacent to the Boosalis Trail at the Rock Island Bridge over Highway 2. The plan will have several parking spaces in the same location. The link between the Boosalis Trail and the lot will be moved west, closer to 27th Street. Overall runners should find the project is an asset to our trail system.
MORE GOOD NEWS
–The Oak Creek Trail has reopened. This trail had been closed just west of Valparaiso since August of 2019 because of severe erosion in one section. This has now been repaired and the trail is fully open.
–The Homestead Trail near Hickman should have reopened by the time you read this. A bridge on the trail between Martell Road and South 25th Street was deemed unsafe because of erosion of an abutment. This is being replaced by a concrete box culvert and should be open.
–Closing the gap to Omaha: The MoPac Trail is part of a direct trail link from Lincoln to Omaha, crossing the Platte River on the Lied Pedestrian Bridge. This trail is familiar to those runners who participate in the Market-to-Market Run which uses it extensively. Unfortunately, there is a gap of several miles on the Lincoln side of the river where runners and bikers must use dirt roads. After considerable lobbying efforts by trail enthusiasts, the Unicameral approved $8.3 million to fund closing of the gap, overriding the governor’s veto. The exact route and date of completion are yet to be determined but running or biking between Nebraska’s two major cities will be an all-trail affair in the not too distant future.
–The MoPac East Trail will get a new trailhead at Wabash about three miles northeast of Elmwood. The trailhead is be built this summer and will include a parking lot and vault toilet.
See you on the trails!