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March 9, 2020

News Date: March 09, 2020

Bethel Road Trail Connector Now Open

COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s new trail connecting users directly from Bethel Road to the Olentangy Trail is now open. 

The new Bethel Road trail connector is located on the north side of Bethel Road, between the Bethel Road and Olentangy River Road intersection and State Route 315. Columbus residents near the Bethel Road and Olentangy River Road intersection will now be able to easily access the 13.2-mile Olentangy Trail.

A second piece of the project included widening a 1-mile stretch of the Olentangy Trail from Antrim Park to Bethel Road. The original trail was widened from 9 feet to 12 feet to accommodate the more than 400,000 users per year who use the path. 

“We’re excited to see the Olentangy Trail Bethel Road connector come to fruition,” said Paul Rakosky, interim director of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. “This has been on the wish list for northwest Columbus for many years, and it will be a powerful addition to their active transportation system.”

“As Columbus continues to grow, we know that connecting residents from their homes to where they need to go through projects like the Bethel Road trail connector is a critical part of focusing our growth in smart and sustainable ways,” said Columbus City Council and President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown.

“Trail users get to experience health benefits, fun, and beautiful scenery – especially when traveling along waterways like the Olentangy River,” said William Murdock, president of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). “The Bethel Road connector is a $3.5 million project important to both neighborhood residents and all of central Ohio. MORPC was proud to partner with the City of Columbus with more than $2.5 million of the region’s investment in trails. We know that by connecting to trails, we are connecting people to each other and to the places they most want to go.”

This project comes with several safety features, including a concrete barrier between the trail and vehicles on Bethel Road to ensure users are safe. On this new trail connector, trail users will cross the off-ramp where cars coming south on State Route 315 merge onto Bethel Road. To assist with crossing the off-ramp, flashing beacons have been installed to let drivers know that trail users are about to enter the crosswalk. To activate the warning signals, users press the button before moving through the crosswalk. Trail users should make sure vehicles are stopped before entering the crosswalk. 

There is a Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) Park and Ride location available at Anheuser Busch Sports Park, located at 4990 Olentangy River Road, directly south of the Bethel Road and Olentangy River Road intersection, which allows multi-modal connectivity for bikes and transit. People will be able to park at that location, cross Bethel Road and access the new trail connector. More than 20,000 residents and employees live and work along the Bethel Road corridor.