A new trail system will soon connect two north Scottsdale neighborhoods and allow residents a safe route across busy Pima Road.
As part of the Scottsdale Master Trails Plan, nonpaved routes in Grayhawk and DC Ranch will be connected by an underpass that will eventually lead into the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
"We are moving full steam ahead at this point," trails planner Scott Hamilton said. "When it’s completed, residents in Grayhawk will be able to walk or ride their bikes to DC Ranch Marketplace or into the preserve."
Trails in DC Ranch exist; however, work is set to begin on finishing trail alignments in Grayhawk.
"When they widened Pima Road a couple years ago, they put in a 12-foot-by-12-foot box culvert at the Deer Valley alignment," Hamilton said. "Right now, it is buried underground."
The two neighborhood trails and underpass are set to open in fall 2005, Hamilton said.
"We are excited about having safe and easy access across Pima," said Nicole Engelmann, a Grayhawk spokeswoman. "I can see a lot of our residents walking over to the DC Ranch Marketplace for their weekend events like the farmers market."
Hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers will also be able to use the trail to access areas of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
"I’ve been waiting for this to happen a long time," said Burt Chilman of Grayhawk, who jogs almost every day along existing trails in the community. "Having access to the preserve without driving is a big plus."
Although the Wingate Pass Trail has yet to open, residents will be able to trek five miles up to a ridge on McDowell Mountain.
The Wingate Pass Trail is slated to be the centerpiece route of the future McDowell Preserve Gateway planned for the northeast corner of Thompson Peak Parkway and Bell Road.
The trail, which will be built in the next six months, wouldn’t open until 2006 when the gateway is completed, Hamilton said.
"We have such an active group of residents and they always utilize the 30 miles of trails in our community," Engelmann said. "They would love it if they didn’t have to get in their car to cross Pima Road."
The improvements were approved by the City Council in February as part of the Scottsdale Master Trails Plan that includes more than 500 miles of paved and nonpaved paths.
"When all of these improvements are completed, you could ride a horse, walk or bike all the way from Grayhawk to the Sunrise Trail at 134th Street and Shea (Boulevard)," Hamilton said.