Triangle voters showed once again they love their greenways and are willing to pay for them.
Bond packages in Raleigh and in Wake Forest both passed yesterday by landslide margins, providing funding for two key greenways.
In Raleigh, 68 percent of voters approved $92 million in parks bonds that include $4.4 million for a 3-mile stretch of greenway linking the Crabtree Creek Trail with Umstead State Park.
In Wake Forest, two-thirds of voters said yes to $4.6 million for greenway construction.
Here’s why both projects are significant:read more
A settlement reached earlier this week between Raleigh and the owners of a quarry along Crabtree Creek means the city can finally proceed with a 2- to 3-mile extension of the Crabtree Creek Trail into Umstead State Park. The extension will create a roughly 18-mile paved greenway along Crabtree Creek from Umstead to Raleigh’s 28-mile Neuse River Trail.
“It’s the last missing piece,” Vic Lebsock, Raleigh’s senior greenway designer, said this morning.
The Crabtree extension had been held hostage in a battle between the city and local homeowners and Hanson Aggregates, which owns the Crabtree Quarry. Local residents didn’t like the blasting required to mine the rock; Hanson had a lot more rock it wanted to mine. (Read more about the settlement here.)
The settlement ends a 20-year dispute and clears the way for design to begin on a trail that Lebsock says has its “difficult aspects.” Foremost among them: On the east end the trail will need to climb up from Crabtree Creek to avoid a stretch of land Hanson will be allowed to quarry for about another 40 years.
“We’ll need to design-in switchbacks and make the trail handicap accessible,” Lebsock says. The greenway will climb for about a quarter mile along Duraleigh Road, then follow a ridgeline across to Richland Creek, where switchbacks will again be employed to take the greenway down to Crabtree Creek. From there, the greenway will continue to Umstead.
There is currently no funding for the project, estimated to cost about $3.5 million. But that appears to be a temporary concern.
Lebsock says he’s currently pulling together “residual funds” from other greenway projects to fund the design element. He expects the design to begin by summer, with construction possibly beginning by summer 2015.
“That would be really aggressive,” says Lebsock. But if it happens, the trail could possibly be done by the end of next year.read more
How close is Raleigh’s long-awaited House Creek Greenway from being completed?
One really tall boardwalk.
Rather than words, we’ll take you on a ride so you can get a feel for the greenway and just how close it is to being done. The one really tall boardwalk is at the very south end of the new greenway, where House Creek connects with Raleigh’s Reedy Creek Greenway. read more
Of our recent greenway coverage (see below), Bob writes: “Great overview! The only section I didn’t see mentioned this week is the missing link of the Crabtree greenway between Lindsay Drive and Umstead. Any good news on this one?”
I asked Sig Hutchinson about this stretch last week. Sig, as many of you may know, is the Triangle’s go-to guy when it comes to making trails happen. Back in the 1990s, he was the driving force behind getting mountain bike trails established at the Beaverdam area of Falls Lake. He moved on to become president of the Triangle Greenways Council, pushing greenway development throughout the Triangle. More recently, he’s been the chairman of the Wake County Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee, spearheading 2007’s successful $50 million Wake County open space bond referendum. Whenever there’s a snag in trail and greenway development, Sig usually is brought in to unsnag things. Such is the case with the aforementioned stretch of the Crabtree Creek Trail.read more
For the past week, we’ve been looking at the current explosive growth of the Raleigh greenway system: $35 million to add about 45 miles of greenway. By 2014, Raleigh should have about 116 miles of greenway, with new, vital links along the Neuse River, Crabtree Creek, Walnut Creek, House Creek and Honeycutt Creek.read more