Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

davidb

Lansing Metro Trails

Recommended Posts

I live on Lake Lansing Rd. and I often use the Northern Tier Trail and the Riverwalk in downtown Lansing to MSU. Being the avid biker that I am, I have grown enthusiastic and appreciative for Michigan's Rails to Trails program. Lansing still very much uses many of their rail lines, but could expand the riverwalk to the other side of the river, or through Old Town.

Construction of such alternative transportation networks fare well in places such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, and increase foot traffic and exposure to certain areas. Lansing's wealth of parks and natural areas would be greatly served by such trails, and it may even decrease traffic a bit.

Is there any new projects in the works? Sounds like something worthy of a 'Cool Cities' grant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I think they plan on using part of the Lansing Parks Millage for extending the Rivertrail, not sure exactly where though. You can pretty much bet on the trail being extended somewhere all the time, it's a never-ending process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope so. I dream of one day being able to bike all around Michigan on paths exclusively for boot, bike, and skate traffic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel your enthusiasm, David. I use the River Trail often, and not just for recreation. Now that the millage has been passed again it is assurred there will be an expansion.

To give you some insight, the next extension will be southward from the Potter Park area down through Hawk Island Park. Eventually, they want Holt/Delhi Township to connect with them.

They are also looking of pushing it futher north from where it currently ends abruptly in Dietrich Park all the way to Tecumseh Park in Northwest Lansing, but have hit resistence. Many of the residents up that way are afraid of the ill-effects the extension might have and the city is going to have to put up quite a battle to gain right of ways and such since that area is full of houses with backyards on the river.

I'd hope that they'd one day stretch it to the Ledges in Grand Ledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Their ultimate plan is to extend it too the outlying cities, like Eaton Rapids and Williamston, basically as far as they can get it. Doubt it will happen, at least following the river the entire way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At many places it doesn't even make since to follow the river. But there is a steady Rails to Trails program that is really helping across the country.

Here are some of my summer photos of the River Trail.

7117_trail.jpg

7119_skyline_ii.jpg

711_kazoo_bridge.jpg

712_river_trail_south.jpg

713_convergence.jpg

715_river_trail_west_bridge.jpg

716_great_day_for_run.jpg

From a little earlier in Spring/Summer on the northend

7128_grand_river_falls.jpg

7131_canoe.jpg

7129_oakland_street_bridge.jpg

Last Fall

71solo.jpg

71river_bend.jpg

71grand_river_bridge_east_west.jpg

71against_the_fog.jpg

71downward_even_more.jpg

71dam.jpg

Also, if the Ottawa Street Station is renovated, the River Trail will be extended to Wentworth Park on the westside of the river. If they can get the Grandview Building and adjacent parking garage knocked down, they hope to extend it to Cherry Hill Park.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see where the resistance would be coming from for residents of Tecumseh River Drive and Delta River Drive. That said, I hope they can find a way to extend to Grand Woods Park, and eventually to Grand Ledge and Portland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see the resistence, too, but would hope that the greater good will prevail. Trails really add more to a neighborhood than they take away. The good outweighs in bad effects they might have, IMO. They are an amenity that encourage health and also make key connections from point to point. I think we should work towards anything that makes our urban areas just as much friendly for pedestrians as automobiles. I can't begin to tell you how much safer for bicyclists Kalamazoo Street is after they put in the bikelanes between downtown and MSU. I hope that they eventually change their minds about the bikelanes they were going to put on Pleasant Grove. It's funny but it's small things like that thay make communities better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we should work towards anything that makes our urban areas just as much friendly for pedestrians as automobiles. 

It's funny but it's small things like that thay make communities better.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I couldn't agree more. The entire town is very bikeable, and that includes the suburbs. For example, on occasion I will bike out to Grand Ledge or to Williamston and the entire trip may take me 2 or 2.5 hours. Unfortunately, much of that is spent on the slim shoulder.

Below is a map with current trails in black, and where I would like to see expansion in red:

lansing.jpg

This would provide for alternative transportation to Oak Park, Gier Park, Riverfront Park, Granger Park, The Zoo, MSU, Downtown, East Lansing, as well as tons of other places.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if you know, but the River Trail has been extended westward to Moores Park. Also, it goes a bit north of Turner Dodge. To push it any further rest through the rich neighborhoods to the west is going to be a heck of a fight. If the people of the Tecumseh River Drive area are putting up the fight they are, I can't even imagine what the rich people of the Moores River Drive area will do to stop the River Trail from ever coming through.

In fact, there are quite a few homes RIGHT on the Grand River along Moores River Drive west of MLK, and quite a few of them have boat launches. The only way I see it being expanded westward is if they bring it over to the northbank of the Grand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite thing on, or actually just off, the Rivertrail is the old coaling tower AKA Frankensteins Castle, next time I go to it I'm going to try and get up inside of it. Anyone else find this thing interesting?

CoalingTowercompressed.jpg

coalingtower2compressed.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite thing on, or actually just off, the Rivertrail is the old coaling tower AKA Frankensteins Castle, next time I go to it I'm going to try and get up inside of it. Anyone else find this thing interesting?

Where is this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you are heading north on Aurelius going over the railroad tracks it's to your right, can't miss it. To get to it from the rivertrail, park at the Aurelius lot, just north of Mt. Hope, walk East on the trail and when you come to the RR bridge, walk up onto it and you can see this structure, watch for trains before you cross the bridge though ;) . I have been told that to get into it go to the north side of the building and there is a hole that goes under a wall, crawl under it and you should be inside a shaft, with a ladder going up inside it. Haven't had a chance to do it myself though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An Okemos link could be feasable soon. Doesn't Meridian Twp have its own fairly nice trail system? I've always meant to explore that.

I definitely see Williamstown Township residents getting in the way of a river trail. They like to keep that rural charm (read: no sidewalks, even if nearby roads get thousands of vehicles per-hour).

That said, it would be pretty awesome. Especially if they kept the non-grade crossings for all or part of it.

I stayed in Xenia, Ohio over the summer. I wrote for the local paper about a biking event they hold every year. According to the many bikers I talked with, the rail-to-trail system around Cinci/Xenia/Dayton/Springfield is like no other system in the country. This thing is so large that whole tourism industries are popping up around it. The one strong card held by Lansing's smaller system is its completely seperated grade. The Ohio system has lots of awkward crossings. If Lansing's sytem were to expand to the point where it connected with, say, one of Michigan's huge West Coast trails, you might see it become even more successful than the one in the Cinci metro.

Anyhow, a couple of links.

A great overview of the southeast Ohio system

My article (several more comprehensive ones have apparently been deleted from the Web site).

The event (I think this one's a dead link for now)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right, for a metro this size, the Lansing River Trail is easily considered one of the best in the country, and with proper planning could be even better. Fortunately, the parks millage was passed back in August, so we'll be seeing even more improvements and extensions. They are already talking of pushing it down into Delhi Township to connect with trails there. The next expansion is going to be from around Potter Park, down to the Hawk Island County Park on Cavanaugh. That's quite an extension if you ask me. Now, if they could somehow convince the people along Moores River Drive to allow the River Trail behind their properties on the river that would be great, but that's never going to happen. The fight in the less-well-off Techmseh River neighborhood proved that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fortunately for Michiganders, there are lots of efforts to expand the rails-to-trails program. Ideally, one could bike to and from Detroit, Lansing, Flint, the Tri's, G.R., Kalamazoo, or Jackson (etc.).

Locally, I am happy to see the expansion from Potter Park further south because that means greater access for more people and a route from the new student housing on Jolly straight to MSU. Perhaps this will also allow for more westward expansion due to less public resistance. Unfortunately, these expansions take time and money which doesn't exactly come easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, money is not too much of an issue. Lansing has been better than most cities in setting aside the park millage money as leverage to secure grants. Most of the Lansing River Trail was built with grant matching grant money, and the city didn't have too hard of a time aquiring the land. The property owners have always been rather cooperative. It will be harder to push it west or north, though, seeing as how the River Trial would have to go through already established neighborhoods. To continue to go down through the south of Lansing should prove pretty easy though, since the southeast side of the city rural/natural in many places.

The only way I can see them pushing it west, right now, is if they jump back to the north side of the river from Moores Park and follow the rail line to Grand River Park. Like I said, the Moores River Park neighborhood will almost certainly fight any expansion through their neighborhood tooth and nail, unfortunately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It appears they are just about finished with the expansion from hawk island south to jolly/aurelius. There is also current work being done to connect the aurelius/mt hope portion with scott woods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is not much to photograph of the mt hope to scott woods part save a few concrete pads that have been poured. I did take a couple of the hawk island south expansion today though...

Looking south from Cavanaugh...

2570571301_5f6ac62a70_b.jpg

one of the new bridges heading south...

2571398516_9b3afcd674_b.jpg

now looking north from jolly/aurelius...

2570574257_aea9a61b55_b.jpg

2571401456_ed434f8af9_b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beat,

I've heard about this new extension, but have no idea exactly where it works through. Do you know if the city has brochure-type maps that show the new extension? Where exactly does it start on Mount Hope, and do you know when they are going to connect it to the main River Trail?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best thing I've found on the webz is this map.

I saw some more dozing going on the past couple of days north of mt hope, so I might take a few shots to show the progress. I really wonder what they are doing south of mt hope where the old sycamore golf course/turned driving range is though. Anytime the water table rises, that area pretty much becomes a temporary holding pond.

So far though, it appears that it will run south from the west side of aurelius, then behind the tree farm on the north side of mt hope, then south into the west side of mt. hope cemetery down to scott woods...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.