OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Phase one of a major new corridor that runs through downtown Council Bluffs and connects to downtown Omaha is nearing completion.
The FIRST AVE project kicked off Earth Day this year, realizing its initiative to promote modes of transportation across Council Bluffs other than car travel.
âThis will create a very critical connection for our metro,â says Brandon Garrett, Director of Community Development for the Town of Council Bluffs. âThis will be how you can get from the Bob Kerry Bridge and downtown Omaha to Council Bluffs and downtown Council Bluffs.â
The 14-foot-wide walking and biking trail will run from 35th to 16th Street when completed at the end of next year. The first phase built the trail from 35th Street to 25th Street. All that remains is to arrange the landscape.
While providing a new way to cross the city, the trail also connects the thousands of residents who live nearby with easier access to other forms of transportation, such as city buses.
âAbout 30% of the people of Council Bluffs live within half a mile of the FIRST AVE trail. cup of coffee, âsays city communications director Ashley Kruse.
The trail runs between West Broadway and 2nd Avenue and is actually home to a historic link.
âWhen the city was first built in the 1800s, they built a street here called First Avenue, but that street was never built because the railroad built tracks,â says Garrett.
When FIRST AVE is completed, the trail will pay homage to its industrial past through special furnishings.
It is also part of a national trail, the Great American Rail Trail, which begins in Washington DC, crosses Council Bluffs to the Bob Kerry Bridge and crosses Nebraska to end in Washington State. Right now the trail is about 53% complete.
Kruse and Garrett say it will be more than just a trail – it will provide recreation, transportation, and art.
âThe spaces that are every three or four blocks will include shade structures, rest areas, bicycle parking, probably Heartland BCycle stations and pedestals for future art installations, âsays Garret. âBy the position of where the trail is, FIRST AVE is basically the back of many buildings that face West Broadway, so one of the things we would like to see eventually, is a mural program that would have murals along the back of these buildings.
“It really sets us apart from other people in the area by being a top notch trailhead, there’s lighting and landscaping and open plazas and green spaces, more of a linear park than a real trail,” adds Kruse.
“It’s exciting to really see it take shape, it’s not officially open, there is still construction work in the plazas, however, people use it today, walking, jogging, cycling , really excited to use this trail and I think everyone knows it a world class trail before it even opens, âsays Garrett.
Phase two of the project is scheduled to start next spring and they hope to see it completed by October.
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