Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Centerville Road "'Creteway"

Miccosukee Road has the Greenway, but Centerville Road has the 'Creteway! I'm talking about a 1-1/2 mile trail on the right-of-way along the west side of the Centerville Road in the Killearn Estates area. It's not a sidewalk; it's more a trail than a sidewalk.

The trail runs from Woodland Hall (5746 Centerville Road) north to Pimlico Drive. For the purposes of this article, I'm considering the south end of the trail to be where the concrete pavement of the sidewalk in front of Woodland Hall ends and the asphalt pavement of the trail begins. This is at the north edge of the Woodland Hall property, under some power lines. The power line easement stretching off to the west, by the way, is part of the Killearn Estates Bridle Trail, which deserves its own description (but not today).

As soon as you start north on the trail you're shaded by a canopy of hardwoods. At many times of the year this means that the trail is covered with leaves--a bonus for pedestrians, unless you really like feeling the pavement in your knee and hip joints. Centerville Road is to your right on the other side of a stand of trees and a drainage ditch. To your left are the backyards of houses along Tralee Road, often on the other side of wooden privacy fences. Behind many of these dogs bark at you, feeling safe behind their wall of wood.

The trail goes up a gentle incline for a short way (0.29 miles) till it crosses Killala Way. North of Killala you're first on a slight down slope, which gradually becomes steeper until its a downhill. The descent has started to level out by the time you pass under some power lines (0.70 miles), another intersection with the Killearn Estates Bridle Trail. The slope doesn't completely end, however, until you cross McLaughlin Drive (0.75 miles).

North of McLaughlin Drive, the trail surface changes from asphalt to concrete. You might overlook this change while instead noticing that the trail crosses over a body of water. This is the overflow from Lake Kanturk; during wet periods water from the lake flows under Centerville Road here. This is as low as the trail gets; north of here are just gentle ups and downs, very close to level.

The next road crossing is at Killimore Lane (0.97 miles). Beyond here the trail winds a bit erratically because it was laid around trees rather than having the trees removed. In some places the trees died later anyway, leaving an inexplicable bend in the trail. Other places the tree roots have tilted and cracked the concrete slabs making up the pavement. This is also the case north of Donnybrook Place (1.23 miles).

Not far from Donnybrook Place, the trees end, the trail turns to run next to Centerville Road, and you're on just another sidewalk. You run into other sidewalks at Pimlico Drive (1.48 miles), but I'm not going to write about sidewalks. The trail has ended.

Most of the time there isn't much traffic on the trail--the occasional walker or fitness cyclist from the surrounding neighborhoods. Students from Roberts Elementary School show up in large numbers on the trail at the beginning and end of the school day, at which time crossing guards staff the McLaughlin Drive intersection.

If you want to check out the "'Creteway," parking is a problem. There are no trailheads. Outside of normal school hours, you might be able to borrow parking at Woodland Hall at the south end of the trail. Another option would be to park at Celebration Baptist Church, then stroll about 300 yards east on the Killearn Estates Bridle Trail to the south end of the "'Creteway." There is also a two-to-three mile loop that you can do that incorporates the Bridle Trail and the "'Creteway" south of Mclaughlin Drive.