By Ryan Marshall, Frederick News Post
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Frederick officials hope a new tunnel that will let bicyclists and pedestrians travel beneath U.S. 15 on Rosemont Avenue will help connect the west side of the city to downtown.
The tunnel under the southbound ramps onto U.S. 15 opens on one side to a black asphalt path leading up to the sidewalk on Rosemont Avenue. It opens on the other side to a bridge across Rock Creek.
The spot has long been identified as an important gateway between the Golden Mile and other parts of west Frederick to the downtown area, said Tim Davis of the city’s planning department.
“This was the connection” needed to bring the two areas together, he said.
The city will hold a ceremony at 5 p.m. Oct. 4 to celebrate the official completion of the $1.7 million project.
Most of the money came from the city, although the state’s Department of Transportation contributed about $330,000, Davis said.
The tunnel connects about 5 miles of shared-use trails that didn’t have an easy connection before, he said.
It will also likely be an economic benefit by allowing people who work in downtown shops or restaurants to ride their bikes to work.
“This isn’t just a recreation facility that we put in,” Davis said.
Lots of people would much rather bike to work than sit in traffic, said Justin Kiska, president of the Golden Mile Alliance, which seeks to foster growth and development in west Frederick.
“It just makes things easier for people now,” he said.
One of the alliance’s main goals has been working on connectivity issues between west Frederick and other parts of the city, Kiska said.
He said anything that can get bikers off main routes is a good thing.
Some members of one Frederick neighborhood would like to see the shared-use path connected to one of their local streets.
The end of Meadowdale Lane in the Rock Creek Estates neighborhood sits only a few dozen yards from the completed trail along the creek.
Residents assumed that a makeshift path used by construction vehicles during the project’s construction would be paved at the end of the process to connect Meadowdale to the shared-use path, said Katie Nash, who lives in the neighborhood.
Today, part of the path is covered with stone, while the rest has green netting over the grass. Nash said she and her neighbors would like some basic asphalt or cement to provide a route down to the shared-use path.
They don’t want to seem like they’re not grateful for the project, but the stones on the makeshift path make it hard for senior citizens, parents with strollers or children on bicycles to get down to the creek, Nash said.
Nash is preparing to speak with the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which is scheduled to meet Oct. 4.
Davis said a connection from Meadowdale was not in the original plan to develop the shared-use path, but the city will discuss amendments to the plan next week for connections to 10 to 12 neighborhoods and activity centers.