Happier Trails

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People who like to walk-or to pedal-flock to the River City Trail on days like Friday.

"I ride with my grandson and my daughter; she's 8 and he's 4," said cyclist Garnie Miller. "I have a good time. I promised my grandson I'd give him a ride, so here we are."

And it's not just recreational. People who commute, whether it's for environmental or health reasons, have made use of the path in close to a decade it's been in existence, mostly along the Muskingum River.

"They get around town by bicycling and walking," says Eric Lambert, Project Engineer, City of Marietta. "In all honesty, without a network like this, we're not really giving people the opportunity to do that."

But that path is about to expand. Now that spring is in full swing, construction is under way on a mile-long extension of the path to Jefferson Street near Pike. That should be completed this summer. If all goes according to plan, it will expand again next summer, to the Duck Creek area near Wal-Mart. Recreation and well-being aren't the only reasons for the extensions.

"For the safety of the vehicles, as well as the bicycles and the pedestrians," Lambert says, "we need to get them away from those interchanges and those busy intersections, and onto a dedicated, alternative path."

The Ohio departments of transporation and natural resources are partners in the project. Funding also has come from the Wood-Washington-Wirt Interstate Planning Council.