Troy resident Annette Johnson jogs on the Troy Trail Dec. 20.

Troy resident Annette Johnson jogs on the Troy Trail Dec. 20.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Neighbors detour trails and pathways plan in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 9, 2019


TROY — Troy’s trails and pathways plan will take a different turn after residents along the proposed route told city staff they don’t want the path to go through their neighborhood.

The residents voiced their objections at meetings held last month for residents who live next to the proposed path.

The most recent plan was charted to extend the trail north of Wattles Road through a neighborhood using city rights of way where some walkways currently exist and through Troy School District property, ending at Belzair Drive and Long Lake Road.

Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep said the residents who attended the engagement sessions said that while they use phase one of the trail, “they don’t want it extended in front of their homes.”

The first phase is a 1.3-mile asphalt path traveling behind Zion Church, Walsh College and Oakland County Water Resources Commission properties. It crosses Wattles Road at a mid-block crossing and continues north to the Troy Historic Village.

“We’re still looking at going through natural areas, but so it doesn’t go through neighborhoods,” Bovensiep said. He added that the plan is to connect schools in the Troy School District to one another and extend the pathway to Leonard Elementary School, on Tallman Drive, north of Wattles Road and west of Rochester Road.

The ultimate goal is to provide a regional connection to the Clinton River Trail system.

“This is still a council management strategy,” Bovensiep said.

“The Board of Education is generally in favor of anything that connects Troy community members and encourages our children in the district to get outside and enjoy themselves,” Troy School District Board of Education President Karl Schmidt said via email. “When the city approached the district a few years ago with the initial trail plan that required right of way on school property, we instructed the administration to be completely supportive. In fact, we ask the city for an update on trail progress every year at our annual joint Board of Education/City Council session meeting. The first completed trail leg is beautiful, and we look forward to the city’s efforts to expand the network until the entire Troy community gains easy trail access.”

Plans for a nonmotorized pathway through the city stalled in 2015 when the state withdrew a $600,000 grant for a proposed trail and pathway system when residents in the Hills of Charnwood subdivision, located west of Coolidge Highway and north of Square Lake Road, objected to the pathway going through their subdivision.

During citizen engagement forums held in 2015, residents of the Hills of Charnwood said they and other residents opposed designated bike lanes being marked on streets in their subdivision. Concerns included fears of a drop in property values and an increase in crime.

The city then revised plans for the trail and moved forward without the grant funding.

The city of Troy and Carlisle/Wortman Associates, the city’s planning consultant, will begin investigating other options to extend the Troy Trail past Wattles Road.

“We really encourage anyone who wants to get familiar with the Troy Trail to make sure they get the facts from the city,” Bovensiep said.

“We’re changing course,” Councilman Ethan Baker said at the Dec. 17 council meeting. The item was included in the agenda as an update. “We’re looking at future options, going back to the drawing board.”