New greenway links Cary to Raleigh

05/19/2013 10:29 PM

05/20/2013 10:57 PM

A new link in Cary’s greenway opens a new region for cycling and walking.

With a final half-mile stretch and a footbridge recently completed, the Black Creek Greenway officially runs from Bond Park in western Cary to William B. Umstead State Park, the huge natural area in western Raleigh.

From there, a 5-mile gravel path connects to Raleigh’s greenway network. There are no plans for a paved connection between the two municipalities.

The town of Cary will celebrate the Black Creek completion with a June 1 event, coinciding with National Trail Day. Cary staffers want to sign up 70 runners – about one for each mile in the town’s greenway system – to run the route from Umstead to Bond Park, a trail more than 20 years in the making.

Work on the Black Creek Greenway finished up late in the winter, but publicity about the trail is now showing just how far people can travel.

Cathy Berger only noticed the changes when she picked up RGreenway, a Raleigh-based greenway app that added Cary trails earlier this month.

“You can go as far as your body allows,” she joked, pausing during a power walk with a friend.

The final piece winds down through tall grass and woods between backyards, threading the same suburban-natural areas as much of the 7-mile pathway. Before its completion, travelers were left to find their own path around the gap in the trail.

Cary still has plenty of work to do on its greenway system – town staff members expect it will be another three years before crews finish the paved White Oak trail to the town’s western edge and the American Tobacco Trail.

The town also plans an addition to the Black Creek trail, which would allow cyclists and pedestrians to skip the path’s brief segment on Dynasty Drive.

Even so, Black Creek now gives much of the town access to a new frontier: Raleigh. Though the 5-mile connection through Umstead is unpaved, it’s open to bicycles and pedestrians.

And when White Oak is finished about 2017, Cary residents may go as far as Durham on greenways.

“It’s all coming together,” said Doug McRainey, director of parks, recreation and cultural resources.

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