Additions to the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail will increase safety and convenience
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2012 01:02
The Cross-City Trail is a bicycle and pedestrian greenway that connects travelers to numerous popular locations throughout Wilmington. Some of thespots made easily accessible by the trail areEmpie Park, Mayfaire shopping center,Cameron Arts Museum and Wrightsville Beach.
The next installment of the trail will run alongside Randall Parkway and willbe joined with the section recently constructed on campus. A ten-foot-wide multi-usepath, similar to those which currently run parallel with Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff, will be added,and the pedestrian crossing hundreds of students traverse each day at College Road will be made much more visible and safe.
Details on the project were made available to the public during an open house meeting Jan. 24. Wilmington Transportation Planner Adrienne Harrington said that construction on the College Road and Randall Parkway crosswalk should "hopefully" be completed by the fall 2012 semester.
Harrington also explained how construction on the Randall Parkway section of the Cross-City Trail will coincide with plans to widen the road. Though plans to widen Randall Parkway have been on the table since at least 2003, Harrington said construction is expected to begin in the next few months.
The existing UNCW section of the Cross-City Trail leads travelers around the back of campus to a neighborhood called Autumn Hall. It is there the city plans to link the trail to the existing section along Eastwood Road, which runs all the way to Wrightsville Beach. Once complete, bikers could easily travel from campus all the way to the beach, encountering minimal automobile traffic on the way.
The land for the Autumn Hall trail has been donated to the city by the Trask family.The property is part of the Bradley Creek Watershed and part of the trail will cross through wetlands. In order to accommodate, a wooden bridge and boardwalk have been proposed. A concept drawing of the proposed bridge was presented at the open house meeting.
The Autumn Hall project is estimated to cost nearly half a million dollars. The city is applying for grant money from the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to cover some of the expense.
The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail is part of an ongoing project called the East Coast Greenway. Sometimes referred to as an urban Appalachian Trail, once complete, travelers will be able to take the greenway all the way from Maine to Florida.
Last May, the League of American Bicyclists designated the city of Wilmington as a bicycle-friendly community and UNCW was designated a bicycle-friendly university. Wilmington joined Greensboro as the only cities in North Carolina to hold both honors.