Runners, Cyclists Looking Forward To River Trails Expansion

Friday, October 25th 2013, 10:34 pm
By: News On 6

You may have noticed some changes to the River Parks trails lately. Another mile of the trail system is being dug up and replaced along the east bank of the Arkansas River.

This is a million-dollar project that will bring this trail system up to par with the way other paths look like and perform for runners and cyclists.

For the past four years, the River Parks trail system has undergone upgrades to the south, starting at 11th Street. Crews are now breaking ground on the section between 71st and 81st Streets.

The new one-mile stretch of path will have a bike path and a new place for runners. But that's not the only project bikers and runners are looking forward to.

"If they're are any plans for the casino to expand, do the bike path first, because there's going to be a lot of big trucks going in and out. It's going to make it even worse," said cyclist Dave Anderson.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation broke ground about a week ago on a $335 million expansion to the River Spirit Casino property.

10/15/2013 Related Story: Creek Nation Breaks Ground On Margaritaville Expansion At River Spirit Casino

The plan is to move the River Parks trails away from busy Riverside Parkway and closer to the river.

"People just shoot out of there, don't stop when they're supposed to, so you really have to be aware," said runner Lynn Summers.

Runners and cyclists just want to get through the intersections in front of the casino quickly and safely.

"Regardless, if you have the right of way or not, you've got to stop, because you don't know what the traffic is going to do," Anderson said.

"I don't like to stop in the middle of a good run, so I'm looking forward to the trail being re-routed to the back and then we don't have to stop," Summers said.

In the meantime, trail users will be able to enjoy the upgrades happening just north of the casino.

"This upgrade with dual trails, new lights, rest areas, landscaping just adds to the ambience," said Matt Meyer, of the River Parks Authority.

Crews will have 180 working days to complete the upgrades.

The River Parks Authority says you could see some weekly lane closures along the trail, as well.