As we gear up for some greenway planning here in New Orleans, we asked our friends at the Rails to Trails Conservancy to provide some examples of urban pathways from around the nation. Here’s what they had to say.
Urban pathways – also known as trails, greenways, and shared-use pathways – provide safe routes for active transportation, integrate physical activity into daily routines and connect residents with green spaces such as community gardens. These opportunities for healthier living effect positive change in neighborhoods where the demand for improved health and community empowerment is greatest. Developing shared-use pathways and promoting their use can help urban communities address problems of obesity, congestion and scarcity of open space.
By providing attractive, safe, accessible places for people of all ages to bike, walk, jog and skate, trails create opportunities for both healthy recreation and active transportation. Neighborhoods that integrate biking and walking into daily life provide residents accessible and affordable physical activity opportunities. For example, a family making $35,000 a year can save $5,000 in annual transportation costs when they live in walkable neighborhoods with good transit (“Where You Live Impacts Affordability,” Reconnecting America, 2007).
The Lafitte Corridor will soon be transformed into a community space, becoming a new route for foot and bicycle travel, recreational use and community gatherings. However, its success and integration into the neighborhoods it connects is not guaranteed. It depends on the corridor’s design for public use and how local groups adopt and support it as a community asset.
New Orleans residents have a unique opportunity to contribute to the plan and design of the future greenway and to ensure that it becomes a beloved community asset and a safe place for people to play and travel. Examples of existing urban pathways are provided to showcase how other communities have transformed similar under utilized spaces into treasured amenities and to inspire advocates of the Lafitte Corridor as they enter into the planning and design process!
Selected urban trail profiles: (PDFs)
Continue reading Examples of Trails, Greenways, Pathways in Urban Areas