EASLEY — The Doodle Trail, a local investment to draw travelers to Pickens and Easley, was the topic of discussion May 27 as an alternate proposal was presented to the city of Easley.
Don Youngblood, an enthusiastic bicyclist and retired city planner, was on hand to propose an alternate route to the bike trail connecting the cities.
Based on logistics and the final plan the city of Easley has presented to this point, the trail would end presently at Fleetwood Drive, approximately one mile short of downtown Easley.
Youngblood presented an alternate solution to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and Alta Planning’s Blake Sanders, the firm hired by the city to help with completion of the Doodle Trail.
“I ride the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Travelers Rest every couple of weeks at least,” Youngblood said, citing Travelers Rest’s success with its bike trail in promoting the city. “It didn’t happen overnight, it took years for that project to be completed, but it was done right and has made a world of difference.”
There was an emphasis in Youngblood’s proposal on a family-oriented trail which would end much closer to downtown, leading more to downtown businesses as a result.
Where the city’s plan has terminated at Fleetwood Drive, Youngblood’s alternative solution would combine opportunities for the trail’s extension using Cumberland Avenue and Wilbur Street to expand, adding between one and one and a half miles to the existing plan.
Sanders addressed Youngblood’s alternatives.
“Depending on which side of downtown you want the trail to end with a trailhead is going to determine a lot,” Sanders said. “If it involves negotiating with the railroad, there’s no guarantee you will even get a response, but, if there’s enough space and privately held property involved it’s possible.”
Other alternatives discussed, including previous discussions, included a need for CSX Railroad to cede right of way lines which, according to Sanders, is “improbable at best.”
While a decision on lengthening the trail to downtown continues work through the trailhead’s original ending at Fleetwood Drive will continue.
“This is going to take some time, no matter which decision is made,” Sanders explained. “Work can continue on to Fleetwood, but finding a way to bring the trail to downtown is going to take some study and a look at alternatives. Adding the extra mile could take up to 18 months but it’s not impossible.”
As the plan stands, there could be traffic on the bike trail within the next 12 months to the Fleetwood terminus while options are discussed and studied on extensions of the trail.