Because of this understandable self-absorption, I didn't notice that the City of Tallahassee was working on Weems Road till I tried to drive on it and got stopped by the "ROAD CLOSED" signs. After turning back and making my way around the construction, I noticed that the west end of Easterwood Drive was also under the bulldozer. What was going on? Would my dream of bike lanes for Easterwood be realized?
Well, no. Not really. But the project is part of Tallahassee's Pedestrian and Street Safety (PASS) program, which sounds like a good thing. When it's done there will be bike lanes and sidewalks the entire length of Weems Road as well as the little bit of Easterwood between Weems and Capital Circle NE (US 319). Although this won't give bicycle and foot traffic direct access to Tom Brown Park on Easterwood, it will connect the Goose Pond Trail with Mahan Drive (US 90) and Capital Circle NE, allowing pedalers and walkers to enter Tom Brown via the trail. The intersection of Weems and Easterwood will become a roundabout, which probably doesn't have any advantages for non-motorized travelers. The intersection of Easterwood and Capital Circle NE will get a traffic signal, which would make it easier for a runner to get to Tom Brown Park from, say, Boot Camp Fitness And Training.
The rest of Easterwood won't get sidewalks and bike lanes, leaving out the last link in a six-kilometer pedestrian-and-bicycle loop incorporating the Goose Pond Trail, Weems Road, Easterwood Drive, and Connor Boulevard. As long as the south end of Weems Road is closed, the five-kilometer loop through Tom Brown Park that I described last year won't be usable. The loop will be better than ever though once that stretch of Weems re-opens.
That re-opening is scheduled for the end of 2011 "weather permitting." The "weather" that governs road projects doesn't seem to have much to do with meteorological conditions, but never mind. That will mark the end of Phase I of the project, which includes the west bit of Easterwood and all of Weems south of the railroad track. Phase II, Weems Road between the railroad tracks and Mahan Drive, is scheduled to start in 2013. Phase II is currently "under design," but is supposed to have all the bike lanes, sidewalks, gutters and stormsewers, and other improvements that Phase I will have.
In the long term this will be a good thing. In the short term, if you're going to a race or cross-country meet in Tom Brown Park during 2011, then plan on using Connor Boulevard to get there.
- Easterwood Drive/Weems Road Closures Begin December 7
- Weems Road PASS Project
- A 5K road loop in Tom Brown Park
- Looking for a race in the Tallahassee region? Look here!