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Friday, October 30, 2020

Wasson Way Pushes Ahead to Marburg Avenue in New Phase of Development


Phase three of the Wasson Way Trail development project will run through Hyde Park from Madison Road to Marburg. Earlier sections are open now for public enjoyment.

By Robin Gee

Hyde Park residents will notice increased activity this summer along Wasson Way, the popular biking and walking trail aimed at connecting neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati and beyond. In fact, the ultimate goal of the project is to connect to the Little Miami Scenic Trail (littlemiamibiketrail) part of the 330-mile Ohio to Erie trail.

The completed portion of the trail, phases one and two of the development, runs from Montgomery Road near Xavier to Madison Road in Hyde Park near LaRosa’s and Busken Bakery. The Wasson Way organization recently celebrated the start of Phase three of the project, the section that will run from Madison Road to Marburg Avenue.

Over this summer and the next six months, Hyde Park residents will notice a lot going on along the next stretch of project that already links the neighborhood to Oakley, Evanston and Norwood, said Jay Andress, president of the Wasson Way Bike Trail. 

“Phase three of the trail will go from Buskins to Marburg and should be completed by December 2020,” he said. 

Future plans: Marbug to Hyde Park, Hyde Park to MLK

The next phase of the plan will go from Marburg through Ault Park, crossing over a bridge in the park, across a railroad trestle to Red Bank Road near Hyde Park Lumber. In the other direction, the trail is planned to go from Norwood past Xavier and Walnut Hills High School, all the way to Martin Luther King and Reading Road in Avondale, he said.

This phase is not expected to be completed until about 2024, he said. Fundraising for the project is ongoing. The city of Cincinnati purchased the first 4.1 miles of the right-of-way needed for the stretch that would end in Ault Park. The organization has received grants for some of the work so far and has applied for a $5 million grant for the Norwood to Avondale stretch, that would bring the project to about 7.6 miles total.

The next goal, after the trail reaches Ault Park and Red Bank Road, is to continue on through Otto Armleder Park near Lunken and on to the Little Miami Scenic trail.

Bikers, dog walkers, skateboarders, runners and walkers are all welcome on Wasson Way, a trail that runs from Norwood to Oakley and Hyde Park. Future plans include extending in two directions — to Avondale and to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

A tri-fold increase in popularity

When the first sections of the trail were built, the organization did a use study and found that about 300 people a day were using the trail. Now, they estimate three times that number, 1,500 people a day are using the trail, and it has become a true transportation route.

As the connectivity and accessibility of the trail has grown, so has its popularity. And, right now, the Wasson Way Trail also offers an alternative to public transportation and an opportunity to get out and exercise safely, Andress noted.

“We are definitely entering a different world. Bike trails, walking trails are offering basic transit, and the interest in these is increasing in this new world,” he said.

The nonprofit Wasson Way organization is continuing to fundraise and has worked beautify the pathway adding trees and plantings. The organization raises funds for the trail development through donations, grants and events. 

There are multiple access points to the parts of the trail that have been completed including a parking area along Wasson Road, parking near Withrow High School and Hyde Park Plaza. For more information or to donate, go to the Wasson Way website or see the “Wasson Way Project” Facebook page for updates.

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