Soon, the Rock Island Trail in Falcon will extend to the library, allowing residents to walk or bike as an alternative to driving. The name of the trail represents the former Rock Island and Chicago railway lines that used to run along its path, said Tasha Brackin, project manager for the El Paso County Community Services Department.Nicholle Brekkin, Falcon resident, took on the Rock Island Trail as her project, with a goal to keep the trail on the countyís radar. Brekkin said Brackin emailed and called the county and ìkept it current for us.î The project benefits a large percentage of the population, Brekkin said. ìThe kids from Hope Montessori will be able to walk to the library, as well as homeschoolers in the area,î she said.Brackin also wanted to include the Rock Island Trail extension as part of another project. The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments is conducting a study focused on adding non-motorized areas. ìIt is an in-depth study on walkers, bikers and the use these areas get,î Brackin said. PPACG is a designated organization able to receive and allocate federal funds, which will help out with the costs for extending the trail.Brian Vitulli with the PPACG said they are researching ways that people can get around without a car. ìIt is a regional non-motorized plan,î Vitulli said. ìThis plan includes more than Falcon, it includes the more urban parts of El Paso and Teller counties, but also goes from Palmer Lake in Monument to Manitou Springs and other areas. All in all, there are about nine member governments that are in our boundary. PPACG does all the transportation planning for those member governments.îCosts to extend the trail the proposed two-thirds of a mile are about $120,300. Brackin said there is more involved than just laying some gravel. ìWe have to improve the railroad bridge, resurface it and put up handrails,î she said. ìThere will be some paved areas along McLaughlin Road. We have to pay for the cost of having the plans done. There are a lot of hidden things that add up.î Brackin also said that drainage issues had to be considered, as well as necessary repairs.Brackin said $75,000 of the cost will come from regional park fees and the remaining $33,767 from a park and wildlife grant. ìWe got a little funding from Great Outdoors Colorado as well,î she said.The Rock Island Trail, in its final stages of completion, will be about 32 miles long and run all the way to Ramah. However, part of the land for the trail includes private property that would have to be purchased.Below is a step by step process of the work planned for the Rock Island Trail extension (provided by Tasha Brackin).
- Repairing the railroad bridge at the western trail terminus with ADA-compliant decking and guard rails; resurfacing of the existing trail near the bridge; and installing a drainage swale crossing
- Library segment: Providing 275 feet of new trail from the bridge to the library; and 420 feet of new trail from the library to the Meridian Road/Highway 24 intersection
- McLaughlin Road segment: Providing 540 feet of new trail between the trailhead parking area and the entrance at McLaughlin Road; and 510 feet of 6-foot-wide American Disabilities Act-compliant concrete sidewalks and ramps along the south side of McLaughlin Road
- Detention pond segment:†Providing 680 feet of resurfacing along the detention pond trail, leading to the pedestrian tunnel and commercial area