Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Campbell Connector

The city held a public meeting today to gather input on the Campbell Connector. This is a project that we've wanted to do for many many years.

The trail is an 8-10 (mostly 10) foot off-street multi-use paved path from Four Points to Jack McLean Park. The proposed plan begins at Woodville Highway and goes east along the south side of Gaile, then turns north along the east side of Meridian Street (the tiny segment of it south of Tram Road), heads east along the south side of Lindgren, turns north on the west side of Cornelia, turns east on along the north side of Omega, then goes north on the west side of Zillah (not the really steep part) to Paul Russell, where it crosses into Jack McLean Park.

I know that's hard to follow, so look at the map. The map doesn't show the route of the trail, but all the streets are there.

The trail crosses Gaile, Lindgren, Tram, and Paul Russell. Lindgren is a quiet street that has mostly been bought out by the city because it floods. A few of the lots are still privately owned so the road can't be closed completely, but it has virtually zero traffic and the city is considering making it one way as part of the plan, then using the other half of the existing roadway for the trail.

The crossings at Gaile, Tram, and Paul Russell will require appropriate facilities to increase visibility and maximize pedestrian safety.

What about the Fairgrounds?
Plans for the Campbell Connector drafted long ago would have skirted the Fairgrounds, but the money is available now and the future development of the Fairgrounds is uncertain. Whatever happens there can always tie into the trail later. Also, the police prefer having the trail near existing roadways to minimize opportunities for security problems. The plan does not include additional lighting beyond existing streetlights, so travelling the trail at night may be somewhat spooky, though not unsafe.

Years ago, when I sat on the TEA-21 committee, this project ranked very high on our list. It connected a park, a school, a residential neighborhood, sports fields, the Fairgrounds, and the St. Marks Trail. It has the potential to be a great connection. I like the city's plan so far. The required right of way is minimal. It's a good, cheap, project. The city staff have expressed their desire to preserve as many trees as possible. I have some concerns about designing the corners to accomodate pedestrians and cyclists safely. I like that the trail is being designed at 10 feet wide wherever possible, which is most of it.


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