Bikepath extension ‘a very expensive 100 yards to nowhere’


To the editor:

The planned extension of the Olentangy Bikepath to the bottom of Highview Drive would be a very expensive 100 yards to nowhere. All of Worthington Hills currently has access to the Olentangy Greenway Trail, with a safe crossing of Olentangy River Road at the bottom of Clubview Boulevard to the Olentangy Valley Shopping Center.

The proposed extension of the bikepath, on an existing private property easement in front of the Mount Air Condominiums, would replace a now well-established evergreen buffer; and there is no route now, or expected anytime in the future, available north along State Route 315. There is now no safe place for the Olentangy Greenway Trail to be continued further north on the west side of the Olentangy River in this part of Franklin County.

The 43-acre Franklin County property recently annexed to Metro Parks at the Delaware County line will be connected to Highbanks Park north, on higher ground and well away from the highway, across the Olentangy Environmental Control Center property. More than one-fourth of the new park property is either in the river or on the High Velocity Floodway, and cannot be legally filled; this low-lying area has been described as “highly disturbed wetlands,” and a mountain of questionable fill material has been added to this location in recent years. This new park annex is directly downwind, downstream and next door to the sewage treatment plant; waste material, from their treatment process, is spread across that property on a regular basis.

Long before the purchase of this mushy lowlands/dump site for over $1 million, the plan has been to preserve the now-replaced Old Orange Road Bridge and move it to join the north end of the Delaware County OECC site to Highbanks Metro Park. This future bikepath proposal is included in the Liberty Township Master Bike Trail Plan; most of this part of the Olentangy Valley will have access to the 43-acre park site or to the OECC, on into Highbanks Park, and from there to safely connect to the Olentangy Greenway Trail.

The eastern most proposed connection of the Olentangy Greenway Trail, through public parkland already owned by Metro Parks in northern Franklin County since the 1960s, has been on their future plans for more than 20 years; the Olentangy Bikepath could have already been completed through to Highbanks Park. This Greenway Trail route proposed along the higher ridge well to the east, and safely away from an always dangerous SR 315 and the state-protected Olentangy River, is the only possible connection now available to safely ride, run or walk to Highbanks Metro Park. We can all take a higher path to Highbanks.

Benjamin Knepper

Columbus