SEPTEMBER 2, 2011:
COVERED BRIDGE NEARING COMPLETION. Larry Ross with Prairie Travelers which manages the eight-mile-long Prairie Sunset Trail (www.prairietravelers.org) reports that the Cecile Kellenbarger Memorial Covered Bridge is nearing completion just east of Garden Plain (west of Wichita). The bridge is being constructed to honor Cecile Kellenbarger who died earlier this year, and was instrumental in building the Prairie Sunset Trail. When completed there will be two covered bridges on rail-trails in Kansas. The other covered bridge is north of Marysville on the Blue River Rail Trail.
OSAGE CITY TRAIL WORK DAY A SUCCESS. Karen DeOrnellas, Lyco Division Superintendent with the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, reports that “about 35 people turned out as volunteer trail builders on a hot Sunday, July 31, in Osage City to clean up the Flint Hills Trail section in the city. Dump trucks, tractors, trailers, pole saws, chain saws and loppers were operated by a diverse group of folks with a desire to make the trail a usable route to hike, bike and ride. By the end of the day that's exactly what had happened. A couple remaining challenges are the lack of a trail crossing over the active BNSF line and a small open tie bridge needing a solid deck. Both can be bypassed without detouring a great distance. The day also awakened an interest in the trail and it's anticipated that local coordinators will continue the work begun on July 31.”
Virgil Scheid, Osage County Superintendent, reports that crushed limestone screenings are now down on the Flint Hills Trail from the new US 75 pedestrian/bike bridge to one mile west of the bridge. So, now there is an eight-mile continuous stretch of completed trail between the trailhead southeast of Vassar (south of Pomona Lake) to one mile west of the bridge.
TE PROGRAM MAY END From the Lawrence Journal-World (8-04-11):
“One way the city has paid for brick street projects in the past is through a state/federal program called Transportation Enhancement Grants. In addition to brick streets, Lawrence has used the grant to help restore the Union Pacific Depot, build the Burroughs Creek Rail Trail, the Clinton Parkway Shared-Use Path, and other projects. But it looks like that will be the case no more.
The state has announced funding concerns, especially at the federal level, means they won’t accept any grant applications for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years. City Manager David Corliss said he’s not planning for the grant program to return. That may be a blow to the efforts of a group of Lawrence residents to restore the Santa Fe Depot in East Lawrence. A Transportation Enhancement grant was one of the leading candidates to fund the several hundred thousand dollars in repairs needed to the building at Seventh and New Jersey streets.”
LANDON TRAIL IN TOPEKA UPDATE. Construction on the Landon Trail within the city limits of Topeka continues to be on schedule. The concrete 10-foot-wide path is now completed to SE 37th St. and Kansas Ave. The City leases 4.6 miles of the 38-mile Landon Nature Trail from Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy. When completed, the Landon Trail in Topeka will stretch between near S.E. 17th and Monroe and S.W. 45th and Topeka Boulevard.
BE A FACEBOOK FRIEND OF THE FLINT HILLS TRAIL. Become a friend of Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy on Facebook and get up-to-date information about the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Landon Nature Trail.
FLINT HILLS TRAIL PROGRESS. Scott Allen and Karen DeOrnellas with KRTC report that once limestone screenings are installed on two sections of the Flint Hills Nature Trail totaling about three miles and two bridges are railed, mt. bikers and equestrians will be able to travel nearly 55 miles from Council Grove east to past Vassar (south of Pomona Lake). Funds still has to be found to complete the two sections.
BIKE CLUB AT LAWRENCE SCHOOL. Lawrence’s Prairie Park School now has a bike club to encourage students to exercise for health. No other details are available at this time.
KANZA TO HOLD ANNUAL MEETING. Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy will be holding its Annual Meeting on Saturday, November 5 in the Osage County Senior Center in Osage City (604 Market Street). All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend. A reception will begin at 11:00 a.m. with a light lunch buffet at 11:30. The meeting will follow the lunch.
WESTERN SKY TRAIL UPDATE. Larry Ross, Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy President, reports that “the recent meeting in Chanute indicated that people are eager to build the Western Sky Trail between Chanute and Fredonia. Local people have volunteered to be Project Manager, Public Information Specialist (spokesperson) and Director of Development (fundraiser).” An Eagle Scout may organize a digital survey of the corridor. The 23-mile out-of-service rail corridor was recently railbanked by the Conservancy.
PRAIRIE SPIRIT TRAIL DESIGNATED “TRAIL OF THE MONTH”. The Prairie Spirit Trail was designated the Trail of the Month for August by the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. According to the website www.railtrails.org, the trail “offers visitors a taste of rural, middle America at its finest—rolling pastures, lazy streams, wooded ravines, friendly townspeople, colorful wildflowers, big farms and an endless sky.” For more information go to:
BLUE RIVER RAIL TRAIL PROGRESS. Steve O’Neal with Marshall County Connections reports that limestone screenings have been laid for an additional three miles of the Blue River Rail Trail. This makes a total of five miles with crushed limestone. “Trail users are already using the new section, says O’Neal. “This is a very scenic trail segment and will be very popular.” When completed, the trail will stretch 13 miles north to the Nebraska state line where it will join with the Homestead Trail now under development to Lincoln.
Clark H. Coan
JULY 26, 2011
SUNFLOWER TO HOLD SUMMER MEETING. The Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will be holding its summer meeting on Saturday, August 6 in downtown Chanute. All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend. Chanute recently completed its 1.5-mile Katy Trail (a rail-trail) on the eastern edge of town. Now, plans are underway to build the Western Sky Trail (also a rail-trail) 23 miles between Chanute and Fredonia. A public meeting to discuss this project will be held at 10:00 am at Olpie’s Pizza on Main St. After the meeting, SRTC will hold its meeting at 12:00 noon in the same location. A field trip to the Katy Trail will follow the meeting at 2:30 pm.
ADVOCACY GROUP FORMS.
BikeWalkKC advocates for cyclist and pedestrian-friendly facilities and policies, encouraging cities and communities to fund and build trails, bike lanes and sidewalks. We initiate policy change, like Complete Streets and development code reform and support the development of the MetroGreen system via regional funding options and/or a land trust organization.
BikeWalkKC envisons a Kansas City Region where, in 10 years
For more information go to www.BikeWalkKC.org.
CONSERVANCY TO BUILD OSAGE CITY TRAIL. The Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has announced that it will build the two-mile segment of the Flint Hills Nature Trail lying within Osage City. The newly-elected Osage City Council recently voted to rescind a previous City Council’s decision to build a ten-foot-wide concrete path.
Karen DeOrnellas, a Conservancy director, recently said that “grassroots citizen support for the trail is still strong within the community, so we will go ahead and build the trail segment using crushed limestone as the trail surface. We can build the trail for approximately $30,000, so we hope the City will contribute financially since it will enhance the quality of life of the community.”
A volunteer day to work on the trail section starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 31. Volunteers will meet in a grassy area on the south edge of the trail between 4th and 5th Streets, about a block north of Lakin St. in Osage City. Volunteers are asked to bring loppers, string trimmers, chain saws, etc. if possible.
TRAIL BRIDGE BRINGS BUSINESS BOOM IN IOWA.
Below is an excerpt from American Trails (July 2011):
numbers are in and the new High Trestle
Trail is an early success. The $14 million trail and high
bridge between Madrid & Woodward officially opened in April. Trail
counts show more than 3,000 people are crossing the bridge each
week. Businesses said people are leaving a lot of money along the
HYBRID TRAFFIC LIGHT FOR LANDON TRAIL IN TOPEKA
crossing to get hybrid sigN
Walkers and bicyclists on the Landon Trail in south Topeka will get to use the first hybrid beacon of its kind in the city to help ensure their safety while crossing one of the city's busiest streets.
City traffic engineer Linda Voss said the signal, in the 100 block of S.E. 29th, will become operational by the end of the summer or early fall.
The beacon, which resembles a small traffic signal, was installed recently. Its lights are covered until it becomes functional.
Similar hybrid beacons are in use in other cities across the nation where large numbers of pedestrians or bicyclists use trails to cross busy streets.
The nearest such beacon to Topeka is found in Lawrence, Voss said.
The signal was necessitated because of the anticipated completion this summer of a new $1.1 million concrete portion of the Landon Trail. Funds for the trail work came from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
When completed, the Landon Trail in Topeka will stretch on ground that once carried the old Missouri Pacific railroad tracks between areas near S.E. 17th and Monroe and S.W. 45th and Topeka Boulevard.
South of S.E. 17th Street, the Landon Trail connects with the Shunga Trail, another concrete path in the city.
Most of the Shunga Trail parallels the Shunganunga Creek. The Shunga Trail goes under major streets, beneath bridges that span the Shunganunga Creek.
City officials said the Landon Trail either had to be rerouted to 29th and S. Kansas Avenue, about a block west of the hybrid beacon location, or have a controlled crossing to keep it on its primary path at S.E. 29th Street.
Unlike conventional traffic signals, hybrid beacons are designed only for pedestrians and bicyclists and should reduce the amount of time vehicles need to stop.
Once a pedestrian or bicyclist presses a button on the hybrid beacon pole, a yellow light will flash for three seconds for motorists on S.E. 29th. A solid yellow light then will be on for four seconds. Pedestrians must wait during this time.
When the yellow light changes to red, pedestrians and bicyclists can cross S.E. 29th. The solid red light remains on for seven seconds.
The red light then will flash off and on for 14 seconds. When the red light flashes, motorists can proceed on S.E. 29th across the path provided it is safe to do so.
Voss said this is a change from signals that rotate through the green, yellow and red cycle, as it should cut down the wait time for motorists.
In some cases, Voss said, a pedestrian at a conventional traffic signal might be "100 to 200 feet" up the block before the light changes back to green for motorists.
In this way, Voss said, the hybrid beacon "is beneficial to both pedestrians and vehicles."
"Once a pedestrian has cleared the street, and the light is flashing red, you can go," Voss said. "You don't have to wait."
Several factors were in place to prompt the city to install the hybrid beacon in the 100 block of S.E. 29th.
Voss said that portion of S.E. 29th sees about 14,000 vehicles a day -- around 1,200 per hour during rush periods.
The area also is congested with entrances and exits to many businesses along S.E. 29th.
Additionally, S.E. 29th has a railroad bridge and a slight curve just east of where the hybrid beacon is located.
As there were few gaps in traffic on S.E. 29th, Voss said, city traffic officials determined the hybrid beacon was a good way to allow for safe passage of those on the trail.
Terry Bertels, director of Parks and Recreation of Topeka, said the current phase of Landon Trail work began this spring. It will connect the concrete portion of the trail from S.E. 25th to S.E. 45th.
The trail then goes east toward Lawrence from S.E. 45th and also has a spur that goes south and west toward Osage City.
Because it is part of the rails to trails initiative, the Landon Trail is built on areas that once carried railroads. As a result, much of the ground is solid, and many of the railroad bridges have been redecked and equipped with new sides.
Clark H. Coan
JUNE 6, 2011
INVESTING IN TRAILS BENEFITS KC REGION.
The Star’s editorial | Investing in trails benefits Kansas City region
Walkers, runners and bicyclists this spring are enjoying a newly opened, 2.5-mile stretch of the Little Blue Trace Trail as it winds under Interstate 70 and through neighborhoods in eastern Jackson County. There’s more to come, too, as crews continue the pathway to the south.
Meanwhile, more miles of trails are being built and connected in the Northland, while lengthy paths still attract lots of people in Johnson County.
Overall, the region’s system of trails and greenways has made encouraging progress in recent years, with more than 200 miles now available. Still, that’s nowhere near the ambitious goals set out two decades ago in the MetroGreen plan, which outlines a network stretching 1,100 miles.
On Wednesday, several parks officials will be part of a public discussion about MetroGreen and its future. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Kansas City’s Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The officials are Mark McHenry, Bill Maasen and Brian Nowotny, directors of the Kansas City, Johnson County and Platte County parks and recreation departments, respectively. Admission is free. Call 816-701-3407 for reservations or more information.
A more extensive trails system would be a tremendous asset for area residents. Parks leaders, neighborhood groups and private-sector contributors must keep working toward that aim. At some point — dare we dream? — a small regional tax may even help complete the MetroGreen plan.
Posted on Thu, May. 26, 2011 10:15 PM
PRAIRIE SPIRIT TRAIL TO BE EXTENDED. Allen County Thrive and the Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, jointly announced this week that the 51-mile Prairie Spirit Trail will be extended south 6.5 miles from Iola. This addition will follow the regulations of the National Trails Act and will extend along a 6.5-mile out-of-service rail line between Iola and Humboldt.
“We are very excited about extending the Prairie Spirit Trail to Humboldt,” offered David Tolland, Allen County Thrive Executive Director. “This will not only let people travel safely between the two communities, it will encourage people to exercise for health. It will also allow people to gather for festivals and informal socializing and, thus, build a sense of community.”
Combined with the 1.5-mile segment the City of Iola is developing within its city limits, the Prairie Spirit Trail will now be expanded by an additional eight miles. Not only will it provide a safe place for bicycling, walking, jogging, and bird watching, it will improve the overall quality of life in the communities by making the region a more attractive place in which to live and work.
“We are now counting on local groups and individuals to come forward to build this scenic trail segment, said Clark Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy. “The trail will be similar to the existing Prairie Spirit Trail with its crushed limestone surface. However, we will be able to do it much cheaper using local volunteer labor and donations. We estimate the project will cost $60,000. When it is complete, we hope to turn it over to another entity such as the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.”
“The Conservancy's mission is to work in partnership with communities to transform out-of-service rail corridors into outstanding recreational trails which will provide a place for families, youth and seniors to walk, bicycle or jog safely away from traffic, said Coan. “We believe that if we are able to get just one child out on a trail that, as a result, develops a love of nature and exercise, we have been successful.”
A series of informational meetings will be held in the two communities this summer and fall.
MAN BUILDS WOODEN BICYCLE. Yes, it’s true. A Brit has built a completely wooden bicycle which can be ridden. See:
NEW WICHITA TRAIL CONNECTS EXISTING TRAILS. A new Wichita Trail which connects the existing K-96 Bike Path and Canal Route Bike Path opened May 20. The McAdams Bike Path was constructed with American Recovery and Reinvestment funds. The interconnected recreational path system now provides 31 continuous miles of walking, jogging and bicycling pathways from Central and K-96 to a trailhead near Cessna and Planeview parks.
TRAIL BETWEEN LARNED AND FT. LARNED IN PLANNING STAGES. Mary Hanson, Outdoor Recreation Planner with the National Park Service Regional Office in Omaha, reports that efforts are underway to build a trail from Larned west six miles along Pawnee Creek to the Ft. Larned National Historic Site. All of the landowners contacted so far have agreed to permit a trail. Two have yet to be contacted.
SHORT LINE RAILS WITH TRAILS POSSIBILITIES OPEN UP. John Rosacker, Director of the Bureau of Rail Affairs, reports that WATCO Companies based in Pittsburg, Kansas, is now amenable to Rails WITH Trails projects. Since most of the corridors are 100’ in width, recreational trails can be built within the corridor with rail service continuing. Rosacker said that the several short lines owned and operated by WATCO have low rail traffic which would reduce potential conflicts with trail users. He also said that he doesn’t foresee any future abandonments in the state except for one.
Larry Ross, President of Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, says this development “opens up new possibilities in the state for linking existing rail-trails. It could help us achieve our goal of an interconnected network of rail-trails in the Sunflower State.” The only drawback is the cost. Building a totally new trail surface base and new bridges could be cost-prohibitive.
SLOUGH CREEK POINT TRAIL AT PERRY LAKE. There is a little-known recreational trail at Perry Lake called the Slough Creek Point Educational Trail. It is located adjacent to Slough Creek on the southeast side of the Perry Lake. The two interconnecting paved paths primarily traverse grassland. One ends up at an overlook above the lake. Each path is about one-half mile long. To reach the trail go north on Ferguson Rd. from the town of Perry for 2.5 miles. Then take Marion Road for 5.5 miles. At 70th St. go west or left and follow the signs.
Copyright © 2011 - Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, Inc. - All rights reserved.