December’s cold days are not typically considered great times for bicycling.
But cyclists next Saturday will be given cause for celebration when a new 47.5-mile link to Missouri’s Katy Trail opens in Pleasant Hill, Mo.
At 238 miles long, the Katy Trail winds across the middle of Missouri, stretching from just east of Saint Louis at Machens, Mo., west to Clinton, Mo. Next Saturday at 2 p.m., Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to be on hand in Pleasant Hill for a ribbon cutting opening up a new, 47.5 mile link to the Katy Trail State Park.
The trailhead at Pleasant Hill, about 35 miles from Kansas City, effectively brings access to the Katy Trail some 40 miles closer to cyclists from the Kansas City area.
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“This will be a day for Missourians to celebrate, as our outstanding Katy Trail connects to Kansas City on this new trail,” the governor said in a press release. “What a great opportunity this will be for Missourians of all ages and visitors from across the country and around the world to enjoy this fantastic cross-state trail.”
The new trail, which begins at the Pleasant Hill trailhead near 308 W. Commercial St., follows the former route of the Rock Island Railroad.
The opening of the trailhead comes soon after opening on Nov. 29 in Kansas City, Kan., of a new $2.6 million concrete ramp that now allows both pedestrians and cyclists easy access to Kaw Point Riverfront Park.
The park at 1403 Fairfax Trafficway is a crescent of land on the Missouri River. It is a historic landing and camping point for the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
The east from Kaw Point offers one of the more sweeping views of Downtown Kansas City. The new pedestrian and cyclist ramp helps extend the western portion of the 15-mile bike and pedestrian known as the Riverfront Heritage Trail that sweeps along the Missouri River in both Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan.
The ramp not only allows easy access for cyclists and pedestrians onto Kaw Point, but vice versa.
“For our residents, were were a a number who had to leave our county and go to other communities to ride trails. They didn’t have access to trails here,” said Edwin Birch, a spokesman for the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County. “Now this finally creates a link. This is a huge deal for us and people who live in Wyandotte County looking to walk and jog.”
The ramps was paid for using about $2 million in funds from the Kansas Department of Transportation and about $600,000 from the Unified Government.