Trail Ramblings: It’s Close To Being Finished!

By the looks of the tire tracks, many of you have been peeking on the progress of the Rosa Parks Way Trail Project. That’s the new underpass going in under the railroad tracks on the Levee Trail near 1st and J streets. It’s close to completion. It’s taken years to get permission from the Railroad and to jump through all the other requisite hoops to get this close. Then the pandemic hit with the materials shortages that caused.

I’ve ridden through the existing tunnel for years, and believe me, it’s better now than it used to be, but that’s setting the bar very low. It still gets muddy and will splatter your clothes, but the chunks of concrete submerged in stagnant water and mud are gone. They were likely put there by children trying to get to school without walking through the mud. Lack of visibility caused by bright sunlight going into darkness still make it hard to see what your tires will meet. You just have to hope for no surprises.

It was also no picnic in icy conditions.

That area of the trail to O street has a regular population of deer I’ve been happy to dodge just after dusk, as well as muskrat, fox, and often geese. The car tires you see half-submerged in Salt Creek come from the days before the cement operation when a demolition derby existed there instead. When that closed, they chucked their refuse, including car tires, into the creek. There used to be an entire neighborhood between the levee to a couple of blocks east of First street. The street to the west no longer exists, save for a single house converted to company use to show where it used to be. The number of homes has been dwindling as the cement company has bought and demolished them. J street used to cross the tracks at Second, and continue on into Haymarket South.

This past month’s trail closure on the Levee trail between W. South Street and Park Blvd. Should be open the 15th. It looks like all that’s left to do is the finishing touch of re-packing the trail. Otherwise the limestone will stay quite loose.
Still to be finished this spring is the replacement of the bridge on the Homestead Trail with a box culvert near 25th and Martell, and the Oak Creek Trail one mile west of Valparaiso, where creek erosion threatens the trail.