Looking for a new trail route or organized ride this summer? Wondering what cycling-related changes to expect in the near future? These are changes thatlocal cyclists are excited about —plus a few developments in the works:

Trail expansions and connections

Although the Des Moines metro area has over 600 miles of bike trails, there are significant gaps separating them, making it difficultto get from one trail to another or from trails to popular business and recreation destinations. Recent efforts have focused on bridging those gaps. A few recent examples:

An extension of the Great Western Trail on Des Moines’ south side.The Great Western Trail starts at Martensdale and runs northward through the south side of Des Moines. A new ¾-mile extension of the trail runs parallel to the south of George Flagg Parkway from Park Avenue to Southwest30th Street, creating a new direct connection to the Bill Riley trail. This bypasses the previous route that necessitated crossing George Flagg Parkway and riding through Water Works Park to get to the Bill Riley trail.

“Even if the Raccoon River is high and is flooding Water Works, you can now get by on this new extension,” said Jason Scholbrock of Des Moines.

The Great Western Trail will soon see some additional changes, said Richard Leopold, Polk County Conservation director. When Maffitt Lake Road is extended, it will relocate a portion of the trail. But Leopold said the developers of the plan have agreed to complete the relocation before they begin construction that will disrupt the current trail.


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