Grant Wood Trail - Construction - Marion Central Corridor

Ribbon Cutting | Grant Wood Trail through Uptown Marion & Marion’s Central Corridor Project

The City of Marion, Chamber ambassadors, community leaders and the Linn County Trails Association will celebrate the completion of a significant piece of the Grant Wood Trail Project — the opening of 6th Avenue in Marion as part of the Central Corridor Project on Friday, August 6.

The ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. along the newly constructed portion of Sixth Avenue. Parking will be available in the lots of First Federal Credit Union, Starbucks and Your Pie Pizza in the 2600 and 2700 blocks of Seventh Avenue. The public is invited to attend. The street will open to the public immediately following the event.

The 6th Avenue Corridor was the former railroad bed for the Milwaukee Road, which served the community for decades. Plans for the corridor’s conversion have been imagined since the final passenger train rolled through Marion in 1971. The project is an important connection along the Grant Wood Trail, which connects Cedar Rapids, Marion, and greater Linn County.

Marion Central Corridor Project - Map

When the railroad right-of-way was abandoned east of Marion, trails groups across Iowa envisioned a future connection to the Mississippi River. The Linn County Trails Association acted fast to preserve the land for future use as a trail. Marion’s Central Corridor Project is the next exciting leg of trail to open along the abandoned railroad line.

Additional segments are open in Jones and Clinton counties. Construction of a new bridge over Marion Boulevard is underway and will complete the trail’s connection from the former Lindale Trail (now the Grant Wood Trail) into Uptown Marion and onward to greater Linn County.

“What started as a 3.2-mile grass path and a dream has nearly doubled to 6.2 miles of continuous trail,” said Phillip Platz, president of the Linn County Trails Association. “With near-term plans, that length will double again in the next couple of years, connecting Cedar Rapids near the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, through Marion, and on toward Springville. This is an exciting time for trails in Linn County!”

Marion’s Central Corridor Plan was adopted in 2009 to revitalize and redevelop one of the most prominent and identifiable areas within the community. It repurposed the former railroad right-of-way into a street and introduced a long-term traffic management plan for Marion’s core, balancing traffic between Sixth and Seventh avenues and creating a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere in Uptown Marion. In turn, properties once reserved for warehouses and industrial uses are better positioned for a mix of commercial and residential uses.

“This project is a decade in the making,” said Marion Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly. “It shows exactly what can happen when we reach higher and are intentional in our approach. We’re already seeing what is possible when we create an environment that fosters private redevelopment in the commercial core of our city.”

All are welcome! Please join us at this exciting event. RSVP on Facebook.


Bridge over Indian Creek with a sign proclaiming

CeMar/Grant Wood Trail Bridge over Indian Creek Ribbon Cutting

The City of Marion, Linn County Trails Association, Chamber ambassadors and community leaders will celebrate the completion of a significant piece of the CeMar Trail Project — the reconstructed former railroad bridge spanning Indian Creek.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. on the former railroad bridge. Attendees are encouraged to park at Thomas Park, 343 Marion Blvd., since the only access to the bridge is via the trail on foot or by bicycle.

Once a staple in Marion, the Milwaukee Railroad served the community for decades. The bridge over Indian Creek was first built in 1915 and has been a sleeping giant since the final passenger train rolled through Marion in 1971.

The reconstructed bridge, using its original girders atop new piers, takes on new life with fresh pavement for pedestrians and bicyclists. Ornamental embellishments pay tribute to Marion’s railroad history. This portion of the trail will officially reopen after Monday’s ceremony, reinstating the Boyson Trail which has been closed for about a year.

The project is also an important connection along the Grant Wood Trail, which connects Cedar Rapids, Marion, and greater Linn County. Additional spurs are completed in Jones and Clinton counties, along a trail corridor intended to one day connect Cedar Rapids to the Mississippi River.

Work on Marion's Central Corridor Project is advancing quickly, and will be the next segment of the Grant Wood Trail to open. Construction on a new bridge over Marion Boulevard will begin in the coming weeks and complete the trail's connection from the former Lindale Trail (now the Grant Wood Trail) into Uptown Marion and onward to greater Linn County.

All are welcome! Please join us at this exciting event. RSVP on Facebook.


LCTA Shares 2020 Annual Report

The 2020 Annual Report of the Linn County Trails Association recognizes financial contributors to the organization and work performed in 2020.

Key report highlights:

  • 2020 Financials & Donor Honor Roll
  • News on the Lincoln-Interurban Trail to Mount Vernon/Lisbon
  • April 2021 Trail Construction updates
  • Findings of 2020 LCTA Membership Survey
  • Trail counter report (trail use was WAY up in 2020!)
  • Capital Campaign update
  • and more!

Review the report here.


LCTA Announces 2020–21 Capital Campaign Fundraiser

With trail use up around 60 percent nationwide, and about 50 percent locally according to our survey, trails have provided a welcome relief from today’s challenges. Trails connect us to natural resources — fields, streams, wetlands and woodlands. They also provide a fun, safe way to spend time with friends outside.

Perhaps this year more than ever we have been so fortunate to benefit from years of work to expand our growing trails system. It is our goal to continue to “Make Trails Happen.” We can’t do this without your financial assistance.

For many years, LCTA has conducted an annual Fall Fundraiser — a direct-mail campaign asking for additional contributions from its members. LCTA has given more than $1 million to local jurisdictions in support of trails development. We’ve put your gifts to our organization to great use.

There is no question our members have secured a continued bright future for trails development in Linn County. LCTA’s advocacy work also contributes to the safety and growth of our trails system. LCTA has leveraged your gifts to accelerate trails projects, provide important match funds to secure grants, and work with local jurisdictions to prioritize the development of a system of connected trails in Linn County.

Your generosity can help us continue to blaze new trails for years to come! Learn more and contribute to our 2020–21 Capital Campaign.


2005-2020 Usage Graph

LCTA 2020 Member Survey - Results

Dear Linn County Trail Users,

Linn County Trails Association 2020 Survey results are in from more than 400 respondents – thank you for the great response and continued support!

Survey results can be downloaded as a PDF document here. LCTA Board members are currently reviewing the results and formulating plans that reflect and integrate the information provided. Initial reflection indicates the following:

  • Survey respondents include all types of trail users from all over Linn County.
  • It was exciting to see that the Survey reflected the increased trail use that we all suspected. The trails have provided a welcome relief from today’s challenges.
  • Suggestions for trails and extensions will be shared with the City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County as well as the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization for planning purposes.
  • Trail maintenance issues will also be passed on to the County or City responsible for upkeep.
  • Plans are in the initial stages for a makeover of the LCTA website. Survey responses will help guide that makeover reflecting trail users’ preferences for content and format.
  • The best use of LCTA’s Facebook page for communications with trail members is being evaluated. Survey responses will guide that evaluation reflecting users’ preferences for content.
  • LCTA’s communication plan is being updated. Survey responses will guide the update reflecting trail users’ preferences for mail, email, website, and / or Facebook communications from LCTA.
  • A key element in LCTA’s plans for moving forward will be to strategize how best to engage the many Survey respondents who expressed a willingness to get involved.
LCTA especially appreciates Survey responses with funding ideas. As you can imagine, funding from all sources is very important. As a reminder, you can donate to trails development securely through our website.

Thanks again for your response and for all your support for Linn County Trails!!

Happy Trails,

Kevin Kirchner
Linn County Trails Association, President


2021+ Upcoming Trail Development Projects

It's been called the, "Golden Age of Trails Development" in Eastern Iowa. With corridors identified, projects designed and on the books, the next few years will be tremendously busy and filled with exciting buzz and new trail openings. As a note, timelines may have changed as jurisdictions deal with the financial impacts of COVID-19.

CeMar Trail


Click photo to enlarge.

  • Cedar Rapids: Separated trail and on-street bicycle/improved sidewalk facilities from Cedar Lake to H Avenue NE (2020).
  • Cedar Rapids: 29th Street NE to 33rd Street Drive SE including 1st Avenue underpass (2020–2021).
  • Marion: Bridge over Marion Boulevard Demolition (2020)
  • Marion: Hard surface overlay through Legion and Thomas Parks (2020–2021)
  • Marion: Bridge over Indian Creek rehabilitation (2020–2021)
  • Marion: New bridge over Marion Boulevard with art component (2021)
  • Marion: 33rd Street Drive SE to Highway 100 connection (2022+)

Grant Wood Trail — West

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  • Cedar Rapids: Connection between Council Street to existing trail east of C Avenue, including Blairs Ferry Road NE underpass (2021).
  • Marion: Bridge over Marion Boulevard Demolition (2020)
  • Marion: Bridge over Indian Creek rehabilitation (2020–2021)
  • Marion: New bridge over Marion Boulevard with art component (2021)
  • The trail will eventually connect from the Cedar Valley Nature Trail at Hwy. 100 to the Grant Wood Trail in Marion and beyond.
  • Linn County Trails Association provided $75,000 in funding for the design of a connection between Council Street NE, beside the active rail corridor, and to the existing Cedar Valley Nature Trail. The Association's advocacy was crucial in establishing right of way acquisition from Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace) and moving the project forward quickly.

Grant Wood Trail — East


Click photo to enlarge.

  • Marion: Land acquisitions are complete for the Marion Central Corridor project. The project will facilitate a bicycle and pedestrian connection between Uptown Marion and 31st Street, where the Grant Wood Trail picks back up and heads east into Linn County. Grading work will start in 2020 with pavement likely in 2021.
  • Linn County: Work continues to fill the gap between Oxley Road and Creekside Road, adjacent to Secrist Road. (estimated 2021–2022).
  • The Iowa DOT is working on an intersection improvement at Springville Road and US-151. The improvement is anticipated to include trail accommodations allowing for a connection from Springville to the Grant Wood Trail.
  • Future improvements to the trail will connect eastward to Martelle in Jones County. Vision plans for the trail connect Cedar Rapids to the Mississippi River.
  • Linn County Trails Association purchased the rail right of way and have a long history of preserving the trail for use. The Association gifted the trail to Linn County in 2005.

Highway 100 Trail (Linn County)


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  • Construction on the trail through Morgan Creek Park is possible this Fall and Winter (2020–2021).
  • Construction on the trail from 42nd Street, next to Xavier High School, and onto the Cedar River's edge should begin next year (2021).
  • A route study is underway for the connection between Morgan Creek Park and Covington (2022+).
  • The trail will continue from Covington to the Biechler Bridge, which will connect both segments of trail on either side of the Cedar River. This will be the last phase of the project to see completion.
  • Linn County Trails Association provided $100,000 in funding to accelerate the design component of the trail between Xavier High School and the Cedar River's edge. LCTA also provided $25,000 in funding to accelerate the trail component through Morgan Creek Park.

Edgewood Trail (Cedar Rapids)


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  • Extension from Ellis Road NW to Cedar River bridge (2020).
  • Connection between Blairs Ferry Road NE and North River Boulevard NE (2021).
  • Future phases will extend the width of the trail on the Edgewood Road bridge over Cedar River; complete the gaps between the Cedar River and Blairs Ferry Road; and fill in the gap between O Avenue NE and 33rd Street SW. No timeline is defined for these phases.
  • Linn County Trails Association championed the prioritization of the connection from Glass Road NE, over the Cedar River and to the Ellis Trail. This project will move forward quickly thanks to the Association's advocacy.

Cherokee Trail


Click photo to enlarge.

  • Cedar Rapids: Connection between Morgan Creek Park and Cherry Hill Park (2020).
  • Linn County: The trail will continue north into Morgan Creek Park. Construction on this segment is possible this Fall and Winter (2020–2021).
  • Cedar Rapids: On-street facility between Cherry Hill Park and Jacolyn Park (2021).
  • Cedar Rapids: Connection between Jacolyn Park, through Cedar Hills and Cherokee Parks, to Edgewood Road (2021).
  • Future phases of this trail will wind along E and F Avenues NW, ultimately landing at the edge of the Cedar River and the Ellis Trail.

Cedar Valley Nature Trail — North (Linn County)

  • Grants are secured for hard surface treatment on the trail from Center Point through Urbana. Construction could start late this year or early next (2020–2021).

Other Projects

Indian Creek Trail (Marion)

  • This trail will connect the Boyson Trail in Marion to Tower Terrace Road along Indian Creek. Letting for bids is likely to occur in early 2021, with construction to follow.

10th Avenue Sidepaths (Marion)

  • This project will add multiuse paths to both sides of 10th Avenue, from 35th Street to Eagleview Drive.
  • Letting for bids is likely to occur early 2021, with construction to follow.

MISD/Safe Routes to Schools Trail (Marion)

  • This project will utilize vacant railroad right of way to connect Marion High School with elementary, intermediate, and middle schools on a 10-foot sidepath.
  • Project was let for bids in March 2020 with a late construction start date of July this year. The first phase utilizes former railroad right of way to get from Vernon Middle School to the east side of 15th Street, then south to the intersection with 3rd Avenue. https://www.cityofmarion.org/home/showdocument?id=12574 PG 87

On-street Bikeways (Cedar Rapids)

  • 3rd Avenue SE Protected Bike Lanes, 5th Street SE to 8th Street SE (2020)
  • 12th Avenue SE/Coe Road NE One-way Bikeway from 4th Avenue SE to E Avenue NE (2020)
  • 13th Street SE/College Dr NE One-way Bikeway from 3rd Avenue SE to E Avenue NE (2020)
  • Center Point Road NE Bikeway from J Avenue NE to 29th Street NE (2020)
  • Bowling Street SW Bike Lanes, 50th Avenue SW to Wilson Avenue SW (2020)
  • O Avenue NW Bikeway from 16th Street NW to Edgewood Road (2021)
  • 6th Street SW Bikeway from 33rd Avenue SW to Wilson Avenue SW (2021)
  • 12 Avenue SE Bikeway from 7th Street SE to 17th Street SE (2021)
  • Center Point Road NE Bikeway from Coe Road NE to H Avenue NE (2021)
  • Bowling Street SW Bike Lanes, 33rd Avenue SW to Wilson Avenue SW (2021)
  • Oakland Road NE Bike Lanes, Center Street NE to Regent Street NE (2021)
  • 8th Avenue SW Bike Lanes, 15th Street SW to Rockford Road SW (2021)

Trail Counters are Back

All 12 trail counters have been reinstalled on the Metro Trail System after a long cold winter. Linn County Trails Association maintains the counters and collects data to measure trail usage. This data is used to encourage our cities and the County to maintain and build more trails!

 

The trail counters are the blue or brown posts on either side of the trail and have a 6 digit counter displayed at the top of one of the posts. Please read the counter and submit the number to LCTA using your smart phone.  Just scan the QR code on the post and enter the count.  The location, date and time are automatically entered.  Wave your hand over the beam to assure the counter increments.  Please report "counter is not working" if it the counter does not change.

 

Another option is to go to the LCTA web page below.  You will need to update the date and time if your count was taken at an earlier date/time.

 

linncountytrails.org/trailcountr

 

Another option is to just save the URL "linncountytrail.org/trailcount" on your smart phone.

 

It's time to get out and walk, run, skate, or bike! Whenever you pass a trail counter, please stop and report the count.  In doing so you will be helping get more and better trails!

Click here for a map of the trail counter locations

 


February 2019 Board Meeting Canceled

Due to the poor weather conditions, the board meeting scheduled for Monday, February 11, 2019 has been CANCELED.

All board meetings are open to the public. The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 11, 2019.


Winter Trail Counters

LCTA maintains 12 trail counters on the Metro Trail system. We remove the counter electronics in the winter from most of the locations but we maintain the counters at five locations which are:

  • Boyson Trail, Marion
  • Sac & Fox Trail, East Post Road
  • Lindale Trail, near C Ave NE
  • Cedar River Trail near McCloud Run
  • Cedar Lake Loop Trail

Please make an effort to read and report these counts whenever you can. When you send a report, please enter your initials in the Comments field. Be sure to report problems with the counters including readability of the display. We are attempting to improve the visibility of the display.

Perhaps the easiest way to report the counts is to put the link linncountytrails.org/trailcount on your cell phone home page. You can also load a QR app on your phone to read the QR code on the counter post. This will automatically load the counter location.  If instead you click the trailcount link you will have to select the location from a drop down list. The location number and name are displayed on the counter post. In either case, do not bother with entering date and time because your phone will automatically insert the current date and time. Date and time entries are needed if you write the counts down on paper and report them later from home.

Thank you  for help with this important task. Trail usage records are used to justify the need for more trails and maintenance of current trails. Trail useage records for the last 14 years are available at https://linncountytrails.org/maps/trail-usage/


Trails are Open

The weather is warming and it is time to get out on the trails for another season!

Linn County Trails Association works to promote trails, trail maintenance and construction of new trails. An important means of doing this is by measuring trail usage to demonstrate demand for more and better trails. We need you to read and report the trail counts. Trail counters are at 12 locations within the Metro trail system as listed below. The counters may be recognized by two brown or blue posts located across from each other. The tallest post has a window on the top with a 6 digit display of the accumulated count. Simply record and report the number.

The easiest way to report a trail count is with a smart phone while at the trail counter location. Type into your browser linncountytrails.org/trailcount and fill in the form. The counter location is shown on the post and date and time are automatically recorded when reporting at the counter. If you store the trailcount URL link on your home page, you can save the effort of retyping it every time. Alternatively, you can also install a free QR code reader on your phone and read the QR code on the post to automatically bring up the form and chose the counter location. These instructions are also on the counter post.

While you are reporting, please run a test to verify that the counter is working, by slowly waving your hand across the beam between the two post and verify that the count increments. There is a check box on the reporting form for "counter is not working". We do struggle  to keep  fresh batteries in the counters.

 Last year saw completion of Cedar Valley Nature Trail paving through Center Point which was supported by a $103,000 donation from LCTA. This year we are working to a) support funding for an extension of the Lindale Trail to connect the Cedar River Trail and b) support engineering planning for the Hwy 100 Trail near Xavier High School going towards the Cedar River and eventually across the river at the old railroad bridge pilings downstream from the Hwy 100 bridge. Through demonstrated trail usage and financial contributions from LCTA supporters, we can speed up the development of these trails.

Thank you
Linn County Trails Association