CLEVELAND — The Cleveland MetroParks is a popular spot to walk, bike and enjoy Northeast Ohio. But some of the trails on the near West Side can feel disjointed and disconnected.
A multi-million dollar construction project sews the loose ends together, connecting multiple trail systems.
First, the Whiskey Island Connector will link Edgewater Park with Whiskey Island. The new trail runs 1.25 miles along Whiskey Island Drive and eliminates the need for bikes to share the roads with cars and large trucks that also use the route.
A $6-million bridge is also under construction to connect the West Bank of the Flats directly to Wendy Park. The 500-foot span goes directly over the Ontario Stone Corporation and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.
"This project in reconnecting Cleveland we see is critically important,” said Sean McDermott, Chief Planning and Design Officer for the Cleveland Metroparks. “We have over 18 million recreational visits to the Metroparks every year. Lots of those people that come to the Metroparks love the trail experience and the connectivity that we can bring."
This construction is running simultaneously with the ongoing Red Line Greenway project along the RTA’s Rapid line. The 2.25-mile path connects the trailhead at Columbus Road, near the Cuyahoga River on the West Bank of the Flats, to the Michael Zone Recreation Center Park, at West 65th Street and Lorain Avenue.
“This allows residents to be better connected to downtown, our great trail system and to the lakefront,” McDermott said.
Two trails in the Flats, a 15-mile segment linking the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway, along the Route 2 Shoreway, with the Lake Link Trail on the West Bank of the Flats, and a .35-mile section between the Center Street Swing Bridge to the future site of Canal Basin Park round out a $16-million dollar project.
The new trails are scheduled to be completed in the Spring of 2021, which coincides with the completion of the Towpath Trail.