Opening of six-mile trail expands extensive trail network and improves connections
Cleveland Metroparks today marked the completion of the Valley Parkway Connector Trail, closing a six-mile-gap between Ridge and Brecksville Roads in the Park District’s extensive all-purpose trail network. The all-purpose trail fulfills the “missing link” between Brecksville and Mill Stream Run Reservations and is part of park founder William Stinchcomb’s vision of an inter-connected Emerald Necklace.
The all-purpose trail connects Scenic Park at the north end of the Rocky River Reservation, south through Mill Stream Run Reservation and east to Brecksville Reservation and the Towpath Trail. Bicyclists and pedestrians will now be able to utilize 33 consecutive miles of connected paved off-road shared-use trails before reaching the Towpath Trail with a multitude of neighborhood connections in between.
Completion of the missing link has been a priority for Cleveland Metroparks since planning began in 2009 with an involved public process supported through a Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative planning grant.
“The Valley Parkway Connector Trail is a critical piece of Stinchcomb’s vision of an inter-connected Emerald Necklace,” said Brian M. Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO. “The trail not only links our reservations, the Ohio & Erie Towpath, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but also now serves as a local connection between neighborhoods, community resources, and employers. I want to thank NOACA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the cities of Brecksville, Broadview Heights and North Royalton for their support of this important connection.”
The trail was completed in two phases and construction began in 2016. Phase 1, which extends from Brecksville Road to Broadview Road, was completed in 2017. Phase 2, from Broadview Road to just west of Ridge Road was completed this month.
The 10-foot-wide paved multi-purpose trail also enhances safety by allowing pedestrian and recreational and commuter bicyclists the opportunity to travel on a dedicated trail separated from the roadway. As part of the comprehensive trail development process, Cleveland Metroparks staff and members of the Ohio Horseman’s Council also re-established an equestrian trail along the north side of Valley Parkway prior to construction of the new all-purpose trail.
The $4.75 million project was supported by Clean Ohio Trails Fund grants through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) improvement grant through NOACA, and local funding from the cities of Brecksville, Broadview Heights, and North Royalton and Cleveland Metroparks capital funds.
Using its Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) program, NOACA partners with communities and public agencies for the planning, funding and implementation of transportation improvements.
“At NOACA we believe in building strong communities,” said NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci. “Projects like this one aim to make Northeast Ohio a better place to live and work, and simply provide people more options for travel. The completion of this “missing link” closes a decades-old gap and we are so glad to support the Cleveland Metroparks in their vision for the future.”
Since 2012, Cleveland Metroparks has added approximately 23 miles in new paved trails through new projects as well as property acquisitions, helping to improve connections and recreational opportunities.
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