Creekwalk Expanded in Syracuse

Cyclists, walkers and runners now can enjoy the trail that goes from Onondaga Lake near Destiny USA through downtown to Kirk Park

By Mary Beth Roach

creekwalk‘A bike ride or walk on the Creekwalk shows off parts of the city from a different perspective that even a native Syracusan might be surprised to find.’

The city of Syracuse has added a little more than two miles of fun for cyclists, walkers and runners when it opened Phase II of the Onondaga Creekwalk in July.

The new 2.2-mile-section of the trail runs from Armory Square to Kirk Park on the city’s southside. Combined with the original phase, which runs from Onondaga Lake near Destiny USA to Armory Square, the total length is now 4.8 miles, according to Russ Houck, facilities engineer with the city’s engineering department and the project manager for Creekwalk Phase II.

The 13-foot wide asphalt trail, marked by a yellow line, goes west on Walton Street downtown through the business corridor along West Street, and once it crosses Onondaga Street, the path runs parallel with Onondaga Creek, winding its way through some of the city’s southside neighborhoods and into parts of Lower Onondaga and Kirk Parks.

creekwalkThere are cross-streets that trail users need to be aware of, but most of these streets are residential and traffic is relatively light.

Benches with bike racks and safety features are spaced along the trail, as well. There are several emergency call boxes; bike-friendly traffic signals along the West Street section; lighting; and 20 security cameras tied in to the Syracuse Police Department, Houck said.  Mile and zone markers also line the trail, providing visitors with identification information, should they need help. A paved lot at Hunt Avenue and Onondaga Creek Boulevard has been created for those wishing to begin at the Kirk Park end of the trail.

It’s for recreation, it’s a way to link neighborhoods together and it provides an opportunity to discover or rediscover parts of the city. It can also help spur some economic development in that area, Houck said.

creekwalkA bike ride or walk on the Creekwalk shows off parts of the city from a different perspective that even a native Syracusan might be surprised to find — colorful playground equipment in Lower Onondaga Park near an old stone pagoda; a pedestrian bridge across Onondaga Creek, linking the more pastoral side of Kirk Park to that area of the park with the football field, basketball courts, and pool.

Phase II has been about 10 years in the making, and was brought about through collaborative efforts between New York State’s Department of Transportation, Onondaga County, the city of Syracuse, the Onondaga Youth Corps and the Creekwalk Advisory Group, which consisted of many neighbors and organizations connected to the area.

creekwalkUltimately, there are hopes to extend the trail even further south along the creek as far as Dorwin Avenue in the Valley section of the city, but at this point it’s only a concept, Houck pointed out.

But until then, whether one chooses to bike, walk or run, there’s plenty to explore along the Creekwalk.

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