Friday, April 30, 2010

A Preview of the Columbus Fall Line Trace

Warm Springs Rd. Connector to Columbus State University

Friday, I turned a perfectly executed double play: I got off work early, loaded my bike into my truck and got to ride a bit on the still under construction Columbus Fall Line Trail rails-to-trails project.

I parked my truck at Cooper Creek Park and traversed the short distance up to where the trail crosses Warm Springs Rd. Connector, cutting through the vacant lot to avoid the traffic at the light. If plans don’t include a connecting bike path to the park, someone’s not only missing a great opportunity but also creating a safety issue.

For now, orange barrels and a sign hawking the federal stimulus package’s contribution mark the northernmost terminus of the current project. The path itself is asphalt, wide and flat, winding behind Milgen Rd. businesses before paralleling Manchester Expressway, then passing near a convenience store which, if it’s smart, should do well by virtue of its location.
On my trip, upon reaching the crossing at Reese Road, two big-ass holes were dead center of the trail on both sides of the street, a reminder that this thing is still under construction and requires some common sense when riding.

At this point, the path splits from the original tracks to come closer to the rest area that’s under construction. There will be restrooms and some type of retailing, and lots of parking. To me, it’s not that far to Cooper Creek Park, so why not utilize and upgrade an existing resource rather than building this?

The most scenic portion is up next, a canopy of mixed hardwoods and pines that bend over a short, shady stretch before rejoining the clanging, noisy world at University Ave. and Manchester Expressway.

Here, unfortunately, you must become a pedestrian and navigate the intersection’s islands and signals to rejoin the path in front of Burger King before this last section, which ends where Warm Springs Rd. meets Columbus State College. At this point, I doubled back to Cooper Creek Park.
The path itself is well graded, but shows signs of the heavy equipment needed to do the job – gashes and scrapes and wide tire tracks are embedded in the pavement. A few edges already show cracks. How well will this section hold up over time?

I am looking forward to the completion of the project, especially the section that will connect Flat Rock Park to Cooper Creek.

In 1999, we voted a tax on ourselves for this thing, trolley or not. And now, finally we are seeing it unfold thanks to a myriad of financing, lots of hard work and a ton of orange barrels.

Ride on, bikes.

1 comment:

Pat said...

For more information and updates on the Fall Line Trace and general bicycling issues, please check out Bicycle Columbus Georgia at this address: