|Photo courtesy of Metro Parks|
|The Alum Creek Greenway Trail turns out between two ponds at Livingston and I-70.|
Another link in the Alum Creek Greenway Trail is completed, opening up more areas for travel by bicycle.
"The Alum Creek Greenway Trail provides alternative transportation and healthy recreational opportunities for thousands of people on the south side (of Columbus), said Metro Parks Director John O’Meara. "Funds for the trail came from Franklin County voters’ approval a .65-mil levy passed in 1999. Providing regional trails and protecting stream corridors is part of Metro Parks mission."
The new link in the trail opens up the $4.2 million 8.1 mile trail from Three Creeks Metro Park in Groveport to Columbus’ Livingston Avenue and beyond. This portion of the trail includes four bridges spanning area waterways.
The newest link of the trail can be accessed from the Oxbow Loop at Three Creeks Metro Park. From there the trail winds its way north under State Route 104 through wooded areas and meadows until it reaches U.S. Route 33, where it then runs parallel to the highway towards Livingston Avenue. Once in the urban setting, the trail can be followed to Pumphouse Park, Academy Park, and Nelson Park.
Metro Parks spokeswoman Peg Hanley said trails such as the Alum Creek Greenway play an important role in the community.
"It allows us to connect communities along our waterways, and we’re fortunate to have seven major streams in central Ohio," said Hanley. "With the rising cost of gasoline, more and more people are turning to bicycling for transportation as well as recreation. The trails are a great way for people to walk, bike or roller blade and see nature."
Hanley noted the trails are patrolled regularly and because of this have a good safety record.
Riding the trail
Canal Winchester area resident Carl Williams, legislative analyst for Columbus City Councilwoman Priscilla Tyson, is someone who uses the trail for transportation and recreation.
Williams drives to work in the morning to downtown Columbus with his wife, but he carries his bicycle along on a bike rack. At the end of the work day he hops on his bicycle at Columbus City Hall and pedals down Long Street to Wolfe Park where he eventually hooks up with the Alum Creek Greenway Trail for his commute home.
"I love it," said Williams of his approximately hour and 40 minute bicycle ride home. "It’s beautiful and peaceful. It’s clean, it’s safe, and it’s a wonderful trail. I’m looking forward to riding all over central Ohio when all the trails are fully connected. I’m excited by the trails and I’d like to see more neighborhoods connected by the trails."
A bicycle commute means no traffic jams to deal with, but it does present other interesting challenges, according to Williams, such as when he came upon a tree that had fallen across the trail.
"It was the biggest tree I’d ever seen," joked Williams, who said he climbed over the fallen giant carrying his bike with him.
Williams said it is also common to see deer on the trail, especially at dusk.
Future trail work and information
When fully completed, the Alum Creek Greenway Trail will reach all the way from Three Creeks Metro Park to Westerville.
Hanley also stated work is continuing on the Blacklick Creek Trail, which also can be accessed at Three Creeks Metro Park. This trail, which is proposed to be finished in three years, will eventually hop U.S. Route 33 via a bridge and then connect to Pickerington Ponds and Blacklick Woods.
For information on greenways bicycle trails in Central Ohio, visit www.centralohiogreenways.com or call Metro Parks at (614) 891-0700.
Family bike ride & picnic
A leisurely family bike ride touring the newest southern part of the Alum Creek Greenway Trail, followed by picnic, will be held Sunday, Sept. 9 from 1-5 p.m. Bikers will leave from Pumphouse Park (2081 E. Main St. at Alum Creek Drive) at 1:30 p.m. and travel the dedicated paved path for approximately 4.5-miles to the northern perimeter of Three Creeks Metro Park (State Route 104/U.S. 33 & Performance Way) and back. A picnic will be held along the way back at Pumphouse Park shelter. Free vehicle parking should be available at adjacent Laborers Union building lot. Donations are encouraged to benefit FACT and offset costs. For information call Brian Wilke at (614) 899-0708.