By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jan 04, 2008 at 12:06 PM

A month and a half ago, I casually mentioned my disdain for southbound rush hour traffic along Water Street in an article called "OMC Rants."

Although frustrated with the number of drivers who blatantly disregard the no left turn signs and back up the already congested traffic even further, I do understand why the daily grid lock occurs. It's the main vein from the East Side to popular South Side neighborhoods like Walker's Point and Bay View. During non-peak hours, it's an easy straight shot through Downtown, but when everyone tries to drive it simultaneously, it can be a real patience-tester.

That is why word on the progress of the developing Kinnickinnic River Trail Corridor is so exciting. Although the abandoned railroad that will eventually host the trail is nowhere near ridable at this early stage, the completed project will connect Downtown with Walker's Point and Bay View via a 2 1/4-mile trail.

The trail is part of the city's ultimate vision to "develop a community network of trails, open space, places and people along the KK River Corridor that would improve the quality of life on Milwaukee's South Side."

Sure, there is a bike lane along Water Street / 1st Street / KK, but it dissipates for a stretch through Downtown. Having a safe, nicely paved bike trail connecting the South Side with Downtown will hopefully encourage more people to hop on their bikes for the commute, rather than further clog the already busy street.

Over 100 design professionals, environmentalists and community members joined forces in October 2006 to brainstorm ideas to enhance the trail and better connect it to the surrounding neighborhoods in a workshop hosted by Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the City of Milwaukee, the University of Milwaukee Community Design Solutions and Groundwork Milwaukee.

You can view the proposed plans for the project here.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”