Lee's Summit Journal

Rock Island Trail welcome addition for bikers, walkers and runners

Jan Nelson, enjoying the newly opened Rock Creek Trail
Jan Nelson, enjoying the newly opened Rock Creek Trail Courtesy photo

While having my morning coffee, I use to look out my back window and see the deer crossing the Rock Island Bridge over Third Street. I now look out my back window and see walkers, bikers and runners going down the newly opened Rock Island Trail.

Phase 1 of the trail has now opened, and it goes about 7 miles. It begins at Southwest Jefferson Street and 291 and ends at Brickyard Road close to Noland Road. This trail brings a new opportunity for bicycling enthusiasts, runners and walkers and will be about 14 miles long when completed. Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation is currently putting in a trailhead at Hartman Park so residents can easily gain access to the trail.

One of the interesting points on the trail is the Vale Tunnel, which allows travelers to go under Bannister Road. The tunnel was abandoned but has been restored and is lighted for safety. It was built in 1904, and is about 441 feet long. I imagine kids will love going through this.

The trail is a Shared-Use Path for Biking and Hiking — no motorized vehicles. Below are a few tips from the Mid-America Regional Council on sharing the trail among runners, walkers and bicyclists.

▪ Right of way: Pedestrians always have the right of way. Bicyclists must yield to them.

▪ Everyone should keep to the right except when passing. Move off of the trail when stopping.

▪ Be alert. There are many places where the trail has steep sides.

▪ Keep pets on leash and under control. Clean up after your pet so everyone can enjoy the trail.

▪ Bicyclists passing runners or pedestrians must use their bell or horn or call out to let people know they are approaching. Bicyclists pass on left and pedestrians move to the right.

▪ Respect nature and protect the habitat by staying on trails.

▪ If using earphones, keep them low enough that you can hear people and traffic around you.

I worried when the construction of the trail began, I wouldn’t see deer any longer, but a couple of days ago, two deer were once again crossing the bridge. Not only do we share the road as bicyclists, walkers and runners, but with the wildlife as well.

Now, I have to put down my coffee and head to the trail.

This article was submitted by Jan Nelson, a member of the Livable Streets Advisory Board. The Livable Streets Advisory Board is a mayor-appointed, volunteer board whose goals include working to make our community and our streets more “livable”, safe and accessible for all of our citizens.