Sidewalks along historic Linwood Cemetery are taking on a different look as the city continues to expand trails in Columbus.
Most walkers and bikers have gotten used to a 12-foot asphalt trail on the old railroad bed from Psalmond Road south into the city, but they haven’t gotten used to a huge concrete pad from 10th Avenue and Linwood Boulevard west to downtown. The 12-foot sidewalk prompted a caller to ask what’s going on with the sidewalks and bike lanes near the cemetery.
The city is spending $2.4 million on the concrete trails from 10th Avenue to the Frank K. Martin Pedestrian Bridge downtown, according to Rick Jones, director of the Planning Department with the Columbus Consolidated Government. “It will provide a safe place for folks to ride a bike, jog or walk — whatever they want to do — without having to worry about the cars,” he said.
That’s how sidewalks will be built connecting the Fall Line Trace to the Chattahoochee Riverwalk unless requirements with the right-of-way reduce the size to 9 feet or 10 feet in some places. “That’s the idea,” Jones said. “You may as well build it right the first time.”
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The end of the Fall Line Trace is at 10th Avenue near Midtown Medical Center. To go downtown, the path is connected south on 10th Avenue to Linwood Boulevard, then west to Sixth Avenue. From there, it goes south to 14th Street and west to the river at the Pedestrian Bridge.
Jones said he hopes the work will be completed in the next 30 days. Two-way traffic lanes on the road will be striped without the bike lanes. The sidewalks should provide ample space for both bikers and walkers.
“That bike lane on the road itself will go away,” Jones said. “We don’t need both of those out there.”
The city’s network of trails has topped the half-way mark in its goal to reach about 60 miles. If you add all trails of the Dragon Fly, including 11 miles on the Fall Line Trace, two miles of Follow Me off South Lumpkin Road and 22 miles along the Riverwalk, the total is roughly 35 miles.
“We want to try to get in the 60-mile range to make this work,” Jones said. “It provides connectivity throughout the community and encourages folks to ride or feel comfortable to ride.”
The city has already changed its way of thinking when a street is resurfaced. “We need to look at the possibility of putting in bike lanes when we do it,” he said. “We are trying to revamp that. We are working on trying to revive this complete streets policy, which makes us look at streets for pedestrians and how that incorporates with the transit service.”
Travis Sistrunk smiled as he walked along the sidewalks on Wednesday. “I like it,” he said, gazing at the wide paths. “I guess they are looking down the road.”
Sistrunk, 37, agrees the wide paths give him and others who use a bicycle plenty of room to stay out of the traffic. “I’d rather it be this wide,” he said.
If people stay on these trails, there will always be plenty of room because users are going to get thinner over time. Let’s hope they use these trails more than once.