Several of you have inquired about the status of Raleigh’s House Creek Greenway. At not quite 3 miles, the greatly anticipated House Creek Greenway is of far more significance than it’s length might suggest: When House Creek is completed, it will link the nearly 10-mile* Reedy Creek/Gorman/Rocky Branch greenway with the 11.7-mile Crabtree Creek Trail greenway. I’ll get to what exactly all that means in a sec. First, the answer to your question.
“We’ve been a little slowed by the weather,” says Raleigh senior greenway planner Vic Lebsock of the winter’s cold and snow, “but we should be done by the end of this year.”
Construction, as many of you have noticed, has begun at the south end of the trail, at Wade Avenue and the Beltline. That’s where House Creek will tap into the Reedy Creek Greenway. (An extension running less than a quarter mile north along Wade Avenue will hook into the bike-laned Ridge Road.) Lebsock says the confluence of that extension with the House Creek and Reedy Creek greenways will require a “bridge … that will be like a cloverleaf.” Can’t wait to see that.
When House Creek is completed, Raleigh will have nearly 38 miles of interconnected greenway. You could, for instance, ride a bike west from Worthdale Park along Walnut Creek in Southeast Raleigh, hang a right along Rocky Branch through N.C. State University, pick up the Reedy Creek Greenway and take it to the House Creek Greenway, take it over to the Crabtree Trail Greenway and travel almost all the way to WakeMed, a distance of about 22 miles — all on greenway. If you lived in North Raleigh near Shelley Lake, you could ride greenway to the south edge of downtown. If you lived in Southeast Raleigh and went to N.C. State, you could ride the greenway to class. If you were at Crabtree Valley Mall and thought your appendix was on the fritz, you could ride the greenway almost to WakeMed.
In short, when it’s done, the House Creek Greenway will turn Raleigh’s greenway system into a legitimate secondary transportation network for cyclists. Throw in the city’s 100-mile network of bike routes — roads deemed safe for cyclists — and, well, I wouldn’t call Raleigh Portland just yet. But the City of Oaks is making a good run.
Raleigh’s system promises to get even bigger soon. According to Lebsock:
- Bids are expected to go out shortly on construction of the 6-mile Honeycutt Creek Greenway. Honeycutt will extend existing greenway that runs south from the Crabtree Creek Trail through Shelley Lake to the Crabtree Creek Trail greenway, north to Falls Lake. Expect that stretch to be finished by the end of 2012.
- This fall, the city expects to bid the missing stretch of Crabtree Creek Trail greenway extending from it’s current southeast terminus at Milburnie Road to the Neuse River. That 4-mile stretch is expected to be completed the second quarter of 2013.
- Two more miles of Walnut Creek Greenway also are expected to be bid soon. That will take the greenway to New Hope Road. Eventually, the Walnut Creek Greenway will continue on to the Neuse River.
It’s a lot to keep up with. Lebsock says the city hopes to help you keep pace with recent developments through a new greenway map that should be available in two to three weeks. The current map was issued in 2008.
Encouraging as the House Creek development is, an even longer stretch of greenway is scheduled to open this summer in Raleigh. It’s — dang! I’m outta space for today.
Return tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to that sentence.
Go here to find a map of Raleigh’s greenway system.
* The northwest end of the Reedy Creek Greenway meets with a 5-mile stretch of fine, hard-surface gravel that runs through Umstead State Park, connecting with the Black Creek Greenway in Cary. That adds another 10.6-miles of continuous, bike-friendly trail.