“Hey,” I said interrupting whatever it was we were talking about. “That’s the Black Creek Greenway, isn’t it?”
Why I hadn’t noticed the bulldozer busy at work just beyond the Cycle Surgeon’s property line, I’m not sure because this was the fifth time in less than a week that I’d been at the Surgeon’s Cary garage as he patiently tried piecing together the bike I was borrowing after I’d broken the frame on mine. “I don’t want to spend a lot to get it running,” I’d say every time I brought the newly broken loaner in. Then, noting I have a race this Sunday, I’d add, “And I need it immediately.”
Matt Lodder, a k a the Cycle Surgeon, confirmed that it was indeed the vital last link in the Black Creek Greenway, a vital link between Umstead State Park and Raleigh’s 69-mile greenway network and Cary’s White Oak Creek Greenway, which is close to connecting to the American Tobacco Trail, which is close to connecting to downtown Durham.
“They sent us a letter in March saying they were going to start construction and that it would be done by the end of the year,” Matt said.
When finished, the Black Creek Greenway will run 5.6 miles, from Lake Crabtree County Park to the northeast to Cary’s Bond Park, just over a half mile to the west. Five miles of the greenway is complete; the remaining 0.6 of a mile is what is currently under construction. That stretch includes, according to the Town of Cary Web site:
- 0.07 mile on N.W. Maynard Road in front of the State Employees Credit Union.
- 0.12 mile on N.W. Maynard in front of the Carolina Car Wash.
- 0.38 mile in the Battery Subdivision, running from High House Road to Castalia Drive.
“Did you know,” I told Matt, “that in about a year, you’ll be able to ride your bike out your back door to a Durham Bulls game?”
Matt’s expression suggested he did not know that he would be able to take the greenway-in-progress west to Bond Park and pick up the White Oak Creek Greenway, which would take him — with one easily skirted interruption — to Green Level Church Road. (For the next month, there is another interruption: just past NC 55 the greenway is closed due to construction of the Western Wake Freeway. That stretch is scheduled to reopen the end of August.)
At Green Level Church Road, there’s a slight hiccup in the eventual connection with the American Tobacco Trail, a hiccup quickly remedied by taking a right on Green Level Church, then a left on Green Level West Road to the ATT. (It’s roughly a mile.) From there, the ATT goes north into Durham, where construction is soon to begin on the long-missing link over I-40 and the connection with 6.5-miles of paved ATT into downtown Durham, at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
“And,” I added, “if you go in the other direction on this greenway, you’ll be able to ride to Lake Crabtree, to Umstead and then connect with the Reedy Creek Trail and miles of connected greenway in Raleigh.
Matt listened politely, nodding and “Wow”-ing at the appropriate times. Fortunately, I remembered my bike was but one of more than a dozen cued up on the Surgeon’s deck awaiting urgent repair for races this weekend, from ORAMM near Asheville to the Lake Placid Ironman. I refrained from adding that, if he’s patient enough he’ll one day be able to take this greenway south to Key West, Fla., or north to Canada, this particular stretch of greenway being part of the East Coast Greenway, a work-in-progress 3,000-mile greenway spanning the East Coast.
As I wheeled my bike away yet again, Matt said, “I hope I don’t see you again before the race this weekend.”
He meant he hoped I didn’t have any more problems with the bike. I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.
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Cary’s Black Creek Greenway (green represents stretch under construction)
View Cary’s Black Creek Greenway in a larger map