Trail between FrontRunner and Ogden River Parkway is (ahem) open

Oct 25 2013 - 7:03pm

Images

A new trail that connects the FrontRunner parking lot to the Ogden River Parkway has been paved, but still is not open to the public. Despite the fact the trail is technically closed, pedestrians and cyclists have been using the trail. Friday, October 25, 2013. (MITCH SHAW/Standard-Examiner)
Ogden resident Joseph Sirrine walks along a new trail that connects the FrontRunner parking lot to the Ogden River Parkway. Although the trail is paved, it's not open to the public. Despite the fact the trail is technically closed, pedestrians and cyclists have been using the trail regularly. Friday, October 25, 2013. (MITCH SHAW/Standard-Examiner)
A new trail that connects the FrontRunner parking lot to the Ogden River Parkway has been paved, but still is not open to the public. Despite the fact the trail is technically closed, pedestrians and cyclists have been using the trail. Friday, October 25, 2013. (MITCH SHAW/Standard-Examiner)
Ogden resident Joseph Sirrine walks along a new trail that connects the FrontRunner parking lot to the Ogden River Parkway. Although the trail is paved, it's not open to the public. Despite the fact the trail is technically closed, pedestrians and cyclists have been using the trail regularly. Friday, October 25, 2013. (MITCH SHAW/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- A new city trail allows cyclists and pedestrians to access the Ogden River Parkway from FrontRunner without encountering any vehicular traffic. And city and transit officials would be delighted with this fact if it weren't for one important caveat: Technically, the path isn't open yet.

Last spring, Ogden city began construction on a trail that connects Ogden's Intermodal Transit Hub on Wall Avenue to the Ogden River Parkway, just east of Goode Ski Lake, near 21st St. Once users reach the river parkway, they have unfettered access to the rest of Ogden's vast trail system.

The trail runs north from the FrontRunner parking lot to 22nd Street, then west to Pacific Avenue, then, following Pacific, it continues north until it connects to the parkway trail.

Perry Huffaker, Ogden's Public Ways and Parks manager, said that while the byway has been paved and looks ready for use, some important finishing touches need to be performed on the trail.

"The trail is not open," Huffaker said Friday. "There are still several things we have to take care of before we can open it."

That work includes installing safety fencing to separate pedestrians and cyclists from train tracks to the immediate west of the trail.

Though the work has not been done, cyclists and pedestrians can be seen using the trail at all times of day.

Ogden resident Joseph Sirrine said he has been using the trail in the morning and afternoon to get to and from work for the past several weeks.

"I just assumed it was open," he said as he used the trail Friday. "It looks like it's open to me. There's really nothing saying that it's closed."

At the beginning of the trail, near the FrontRunner parking lot, there are no signs or barriers indicating that the trail is closed other than four small orange cones that appear to have been moved off the trail.

"This is the only thing along the entire trail that remotely resembles a barrier," Sirrine said. "When I look at these cones, it doesn't really say to me that this trail is closed."

Sirrine said that, on his daily jaunts, he encounters many other people using the closed trail as well.

"I don't think anybody really thinks the trail is closed," he said. "I'll be glad to stay off the trail if it's closed, but what's in place now doesn't tell me it's closed."

Huffaker said the trail should be officially open by the end of the year.

"That's the goal," he said. "We want to see people from other areas of the state be able to access our trail system directly from FrontRunner, without encountering any moving traffic."

The city council voted earlier this year to add the project to the city's Capital Improvement Program for fiscal years 2013-2017.

The city first received an $83,000 RAMP grant for the project in 2009, but much of the past few years have been spent working with the Utah Transit Authority, the Utah Department of Transportation and Union Pacific to develop a plan to complete the project.

Because the trail is in close proximity to corridors owned by those three entities, the project was subject to intense scrutiny and ultimately required approval from all of them.

RAMP funds come from a tax approved by Weber County voters in 2004 that allows the county to impose a local sales tax of one-tenth of 1 percent, which is 1 cent on a $10 sale, to improve recreation, arts, museums and parks.

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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