Get out and stretch your legs

Published 4:09 pm Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now that gas prices are at a record high, I’ve noticed an odd phenomenon: people walking along Inverness Center Parkway on their way to work with laptops in shoulder bags or backpacks.

I’ve even seen couples walking to Starbucks on U.S. 280, minus sidewalks or pedestrian signals. Amazing sights, I thought as I blinked, thinking I’d moved out west again.

Clearly, these folks weren’t just walking for their health. However, walking can be dangerous in traffic.

Where along Highway 280 can a walker go? There are no indoor malls, no sidewalks, and no public indoor walking tracks along this roadway.

There are more golf cart lanes than country lanes, but walking those requires membership. So, what can an Inverness-walker who doesn’t chase a little white ball do?

Psst… I’m going to share an insider’s story.

Along Inverness Center Parkway there are several corporate buildings, lakes and walking trails. These are corporate walking trails, so one must respect property rules. Park your car in a remote locale. Leave pets at home. Don’t feed the wildlife. Stay out of the lakes. (Alabama has poisonous water snakes anyhow.) Leave nothing but your footprints.

Most trails are empty except during employee lunchtime.

Another locale is in Meadowbrook. If you turn into Corporate Parkway where the fountain spouts up four stories high into a pond, you can park in a distant lot and walk the trails that meander around lakes, waterfalls and corporate buildings.

Watch out for Canada geese and their calling cards.

Veteran’s Park on Valleydale Road has a professionally developed cross country course, a pavilion, large grassy areas for spreading blankets and even a place for kids and dogs to romp. This park’s trail is large enough for cycling, jogging, running with strollers or sauntering three abreast.

Along Inverness Center Parkway at Hoover Nature Park and Trail, construction continues to link this 77-acre park with sidewalks leading to Valleydale Road.

The plan is to have 10–12–foot–wide, paved trails along the parkway. Two additional phases will connect the trail to a sidewalk along Valleydale Road. This project is sponsored jointly by the city of Hoover and Shelby County.

Don’t wait for sidewalks to appear. Get your jogging shoes on and hoof it down the parkway. Your heart and wallet will be much happier.

Gladys Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at