STEELE CREEK NEWS
Plans for Walker Branch
2013) At a community meeting yesterday, Christa Rogers of the
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department announced plans
for building a DIRTway along portions of Walker Branch in Steele
Creek. TheDIRTway should be available for use by the public this
unpaved, rugged temporary trails located on Mecklenburg County
greenway property. Because it takes several years for a paved
Greenway to be developed, DIRTways will give citizens an opportunity to
enjoy the undeveloped greenway property in the meantime. The name
DIRTway means a Developed Initial Rough Trail.
The DIRTway will have
minimal maintenance and limited access. It will be mowed and have
some signage. Users will cross creeks, ditches, and wetlands over
flat stones, concrete pads, or small wooden platforms called
bogboards. It will be appropriate for walkers and maybe bikers, but
not for strollers and wheelchairs. Users should expect to get their
feet muddy. There is no dedicated funding for constructing and maintaining DIRTways, so the cost will come out of general park operating funds.
generally will follow the routes of future planned greenway trails,
but the alignments could be different in some areas.
The map below shows
the current Walker Branch Greenway Trail in solid green, the planned
Walker Branch DIRTway in brown dashed lines, and sidewalk connectors
in a black railroad symbol. Click
HERE or on the map to open a
larger, PDF version of the map in a new browser.
The Walker Branch
DIRTway will have two sections. The first part will run from the current
Walker Branch Greenway at RiverGate southeast to Smith Road. It will
cross Walker Branch near the curve at the southeast portion of the
greenway trail. Park staff initially will place flat stones in
Walker Branch for use in crossing the creek. Later, a temporary
bridge will be constructed. The bridge will not be substantial
enough or high enough to withstand a major flood, but it should last
until a permanent bridge is built in the next few years. Mecklenburg
County owns land or has easements for the entirety of this route, so
the DIRTway can be built with little delay.
portion is also the route of the future Walker Branch Greenway Trail
extension. If the County Commissioners approve funding, planning
should begin in fall 2015 and the trail could be open to the public
in fall 2018. The greenway trail will be paved with asphalt and
include a large, substantial bridge over Walker Branch that will
accommodate strollers and wheelchairs and can withstand flood waters. North Carolina Department of
Transportation plans to contribute to the construction cost, which
will allow completion earlier than otherwise.
The second section of
the DIRTway will be north of S Tryon St. The land in the portions of
this route north and south of Huntington Forest subdivision are
committed but not yet dedicated to the county, so the DIRTway trail
initially can only follow the edge of Huntington Forest from an
access point on Asheton Creek Drive to an access point on Ferguson
Forest Drive. Access from Asheton Creek Drive to the existing Walker
Branch Greenway Trail at RiverGate will be along sidewalks with a crossing at the
light at the entrance to RiverGate.
When additional land is
dedicated to the county for this trail, one section of DIRTway will be
built from behind the Exxon station at Steele Creek Crossing
shopping center to Huntington Forest at Asheton Creek Drive. This
DIRTway will cross Walker Branch along an old highway bridge.
Another section will be built north from Huntington Forest at
Ferguson Forest Drive to Steele Creek Road at Sledge Road. The
county should have enough land here to build a small neighborhood
park in the distant future.
has 56 miles of greenway trails but only a .4 mile trail in Steele
Creek. The county also has 82 miles of planned trails. Trails are
slowly coming to Steele Creek, but they are expensive, costing as
much as $1,000,000 per mile. The Walker Branch DIRTway will be the
first in Mecklenburg County and a small advancement towards a
greenway network along Walker Branch, Steele Creek, and other
For more information,
Mecklenburg County DIRTways.
To comment on this
story, please visit the
Steele Creek Forum.
to share this story to your Facebook page,
or click below to visit the Steele Creek Residents Association