curt's blog

2nd Annual Ales for Rail Trails Race a Great Success!

Great weather, over 200 entrants and ale for all (over age 21) after the race. Many thanks to Bull City Running Company for planning and marking our course and for providing excellent timing services at the finish. Lots of pictures were taken and a bunch are making their way to us. For now you can look at a nice sample of the race and post-race activities on our Facebook page. Check back soon and we should have more pics. For race results click the links on the right sidebar of this page.

Spring 2012 Issue of Newsletter Just Released

Our lead story is on the Deep River Rail-Trail in Randolph County and we also will give you the latest on the recent grant to the Elkin Valley Trails Association from Lowes Home Improvement. The PDF version is here now. Members opting for the hardcopy version can expect it in the mail by mid-June.

UPDATE--Construction of Final Segment of American Tobacco Trail Set to Start on June 11th

In early April Durham's City Council approved the $7.7 million Phase E contract with Blythe Construction of Charlotte. This will provide 10' of asphalt paving for the southern 4 miles of the ATT in Durham and construct a bicycle and pedestrian bridge which will span I-40. We also understand it will include a dual surface section from the Chatham County line to Scott-King Road. Durham has not released a specific schedule for the project but has previously indicated that construction would take ~13 months from the actual start of work. In late May, Durham announced that construction will start on June 11th.  Please see a recent Herald-Sun article for more on the project. Public meetings to outline construction plans and the impacts on trail users during construction were held on May 14th, 15th and 17th. To keep up with schedules, trail closure dates,  and progress on the project check the Public Works Department's website periodically.

Presentation on Ecusta Trail Well Attended

About 400 persons attended the March 28th presentation on the economic and planning studies for the proposed Ecusta rail-trail. Many elected officials from the counties and cities along the line came out to hear the presentation and ask questions. The Hendersonville Times News and WLOS ran stories on March 29th. A fairly complete account of the meeting and current outlook can be found in a March 29th BlueRidgeNow.com article.

An additional series of Community Presentations is planned for several locations during April and May. In an effort to accommodate as many schedules as possible, these are all "drop in" type events. Several stations will be set up to allow closer access to maps and knowledgeable folks who have information to share. Any formal presentations will be short and repeated many times over the course of each event: 

Thursday, April 26- 5:15 - 7:45pm

Henderson County Public Library, Hendersonville Branch

Tuesday, May 1- 4:00 - 6:00pm

Homestead Small Business Center, Horse Shoe

Thursday, May 3- 4:00 - 8:00pm

Rogow Room at the Transylvania County Library, Brevard

Thursday, May 10- 5:00 - 7:30pm

First Congregational Church, Laurel Park

Saturday, May 19- 9:30am - 12:30pm

Etowah Public Library, Etowah

Winter 2012 Newsletter Has the Latest on Elkin Valley Rail-Trail Project

Our latest newsletter is out and contains a great article on the work of the Elkin Valley Trail Association to plan and organize efforts for the long-term development of a two county rail-trail. The trail will be built on a corridor formerly used by the Elkin & Alleghany RR in Surry and Wilkes Counties.  NCRT has been an active supporter of the efforts of the Association to gather local support and broaden their fund raising efforts. We also highlight our 2011 donors and preview our Leadership Circle, a new program for donors that can support us beyond the basic membership level.

NC DOT Meetings on Transportation Priorities

Over the next few weeks, North Carolina's DOT is hosting a total of seven public meetings around the State to get public input on how to spend transportation dollars. DOT is hoping to educate members of the public as well those serving on local Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations (MPOs and RPOs) on the financial challenges associated with addressing transportation needs for highways, bike/ped, transit, rail and other needs during the 2013-2022 period. These meetings provide a nice opportunity to tell the DOT just how important State non-highway funding is to rail-trail and greenway projects. For more info and the dates and locations of these "summits", please see the DOT Flyer.

Trail Workday Set by Elkin Valley Trails Association

The Association has been busy this Winter in doing trail clean-ups. Their next workday is scheduled for Saturday March 10th. Plans call for volunteers to help clear a section of the proposed Elkin & Allegheny Rail-Trail. Volunteers will meet in the parking lot to the right of the Recreation Center at Elkin's Municipal Park on Hwy. 268. For more on this workday and other efforts by the Association, please see the Association's web site http://elkinvalleytrails.org/
Workday Update: At least 36 volunteers came out for the Association's March 10 workday and cleared about a mile of trail from the first crossing of Elkin Creek to the second crossing at the Town reservoir.

Key Votes Coming on Changes to Federal Transportation Funding

Bills being considered in both Houses of Congress include potentially large changes to long standing programs that have been used by States and by local governments to develop and improve bicycling and walking trails and support popular initiatives such as the Safe Routes to School program. You may already be aware that last week the US House of Representatives voted to eliminate funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs. There will be a vote in the Senate in the week of Feb. 13-18, and Maryland Senator Cardin is sponsoring an amendment that could restore much of what's been lost. North Carolina Senator Richard Burr is considered a key vote on this issue. For some specifics please see this Summary of the Cardin Amendment. You can contact Senator Burr via his web site.

 

 

Ecusta Studies Are Finished -- Public Presentation Scheduled

The planning and economic studies for the proposed Ecusta Trail between Hendersonville and Brevard have been completed and are being reviewed by city staff. A public presentation of the findings has been scheduled for 6 pm on March 28th in Hendersonville. The presentation will include recommendations for trail surface, width, support facilities, detailed maps, prospective trail heads and implementation strategies. Representatives from Henderson and Transylvania County will be there, as well as the media. This is a great opportunity to come show your support. The specific venue for the meeting will be determined after County officials have a better estimate of the numbers expected to attend. If you would like to attend please contact Summit Results.

February 21 Update: County officials were pleased with the interest shown and have reserved the West Henderson High School Auditorium for the presentation. The High School is at 3600 Haywood Road (Hwy 191).

March 31 Update: About 400 interested supporters attended the presentation. See the article about the event at BlueRidgeNow.com NCRT Board member Mike Domonkos attended and notes that NCDENR has indicated that this could be the first NC rail-trail state park or NC state rail-trail. (State park status would require enabling legislation as is the case for all new State Parks. Creation as a state rail- trail would be possible under existing legislation.)

An additional series of Community Presentations is planned for several locations during April and May. In an effort to accommodate as many schedules as possible, these are all "drop in" type events. Several stations will be set up to allow closer access to maps. Knowledgeable folks who have information to share, and any formal presentations will be short and repeat many times over the course of each event:

Thursday, April 26- 5:15 - 7:45pm

Henderson County Public Library, Hendersonville Branch

Tuesday, May 1- 4:00 - 6:00pm

Homestead Small Business Center, Horse Shoe

Thursday, May 3- 4:00 - 8:00pm

Rogow Room at the Transylvania County Library, Brevard

Thursday, May 10- 5:00 - 7:30pm

First Congregational Church, Laurel Park

Saturday, May 19- 9:30am - 12:30pm

Etowah Public Library, Etowah

 

 

 

 

Rail Corridor is the Centerpiece of Large Beltline Project in Atlanta

From a sidelink on a recent health article we came across information on the Atlanta BeltLine, a very large, multi-year project taking shape in Atlanta. The project will use  a former rail corridor and tie this into more than 33 miles of multi-use trails in a linear park that will connect 40 Atlanta parks, including approximately 700 acres of existing park land. The multi-use trails include the core 22-mile loop plus various extensions to increase connectivity to parks and trails surrounding the BeltLine. The corridor will also include a light rail system. Planning and organizational efforts have been underway for over 7 years and involves most City departments, Atlanta's mass transit authority and numerous community organizations and businesses. The core loop will facilitate both recreation and commuting since it will conect to a number of mass-transit stops. Due the large size of the Atlanta metro area, this project has a scope and complexity far beyond anything we'll see in North Carolina anytime soon. The project is useful as an instructive example of the many benefits that connective trails can provide to an area. The BeltLine website has links discussing economic benefits, community engagement, reducing congestion and of course the healthy outdoors exercise that users will be able to experience on the corridor and in the parks it connects to. Several maps of the proposed loop and its many connections are also on the site.