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September 18, 2021
Given beautiful weather, my husband and I often head to Peoria’s New River Trail for some scenic urban spinning. This popular trail system has it all, including easy accessibility for mobility devices.
Handicap parking and ADA restrooms are readily available at Rio Vista Community Park (8866 W. Thunderbird Road, Peoria). This park is the approximate midpoint of the 16.5-mile New River Trail (and connection off shoot to other shorter trails). Parking can be found at other trailheads, including a new trailhead at Fletcher Heights, west of 75th Ave and Deer Valley Road. But for convenience and trail options, parking at Rio Vista Community Park works perfectly for us.
From the park’s parking lot, you’ll readily see the large red connector bridge that leads directly onto a contiguous asphalt trail path. Go over that bridge. Turn left off the bridge to go south towards Glendale and the Westgate Entertainment District; turn right off the bridge to head north through Peoria. Both ends of the New River Trail have their charms (more details below). Map
This side of the trail is easy to follow (all the way to Glendale,) but a tad difficult to describe because it has several connector pathways that enable users to cross the basin floor, and loop back to Rio Vista Community Park. Generally though, the trail travels south alongside the usually dry riverbed, meandering under overpasses and curving past home developments. Be on the sharp lookout for cranes, rabbits and hummingbirds. The Glendale end of the trail is the newest extension, paved in concrete and landscaped. It has taken us several visits to explore the trail, and there’s still more to go.
After a short distance, cracked and repaired asphalting gives way to well laid, smooth rolling concrete at the first connector bridge (pictured). While paralleling a generally dry river basin, the trail winds past neighborhoods, businesses and parks and into increasingly beautiful vistas of mountains and yet undeveloped desert landscape. Birds flit by. The occasional coyote stops to stare before sauntering away. And friendly people powering an impressive array of mobility devices–strollers, recumbent bikes, scooters, powerchairs, wheelchairs and electric bikes–nod hello as you merrily roll along. This route flows beneath four overpasses, all of which are impeccably well maintained and offer a respite from the sun.
Park benches, mile markers, and maps dot the trail.
Making Accessibility Happen
Accessible travel for people with disabilities is becoming big business. Speak with your dollars, your vote, and your voice to let commerce know what’s working, and what’s not.
The above post was emailed to: City of Peoria Parks and Recreation.