The city’s next five greenways and trail extensions could add nearly 11 miles of paths for residents and visitors to bike and walk on.
City staffers recently gave Durham City Council members a list of five priority trails to consider when allocating funds for the next budget year.
The five trails are a Pearsontown Trail extension, Bryant Bridge North/Good Creek West Trail, a Sandy Creek Trail extension, a North Ellerbee Creek Trail, a Third Fork Creek Trail extension.
The five priority trails, estimated to cost a total of $5.4 million, are near
▪ the residences of 27,135 people.
▪ 9,436 families living below twice the poverty rate.
▪ 9,889 households without a vehicle.
▪ 6,660 youth under the age of 18.
The list follows a City Council discussion earlier this year on Capital Improvement Plan priorities, which didn’t include any new trails – despite Durham residents indicating those are a top wish on city surveys.
“The administration said we are really unable to do that work to prioritize the trails as part of the Capital Improvement Plan because we didn’t have enough details about the actual trails, and what they may cost,” Councilman Steve Schewel said.
So, at the end of the budget process, the council set aside money for a study so they would have that information when looking at the 2016-17 fiscal year, which starts July 1.
“We didn’t really have the tools last year, but we do now,” Schewel said.
The list represents the top five trails that Durham Parks and Recreation officials and the Durham Open Space & Trails Commission recommends be built.
John Goebel, chair of the Durham Open Space & Trails Commission, said they considered the distribution of trails throughout Durham, whether the city held the easements for the trails and the potential of the trail to be used to reach an actual destination, such as a school or a park. Other considerations included community support of the trails and connectivity to existing trails.
About the proposed trails
▪ Pearsontown Trail extension (2.3 miles, $1.2 million)
The current trail begins at the Elmira Avenue Park, just to the east of its junction with the American Tobacco Trail. It continues through College View neighborhood to the NCCU campus. The existing trail would be upgraded. The on-street extension would move along Grant Street, connect to Grant Park and evolve into a greenway that would pass through the abandoned Fayette Place housing development. It ends at Hayti Heritage Center.
▪ Bryant Bridge/ North Good Creek West Trail (1.8 miles, $1.3 million)
The plan includes upgrades to sidewalks and on-street facilities north of the R. Kelly Bryant Bridge crossing the Durham Freeway between Alston and Briggs avenues. The upgrade would provide a pedestrian and bike route to Pettigrew Street. The on-street connection would move north along Goley Street and connect to Eastway Avenue. The greenway section of the trail would then move north, connecting Long Meadow Park near Eastway Elementary School, north to East End Park in the middle and then Drew-Granby Park.
▪ Sandy Creek Trail extension (1 mile, $917,600)
The current trail runs north from Sandy Creek Park, a destination park for viewing birds, to Pickett Road. The greenway’s extension would move northward across Pickett Road and follow along the southeast side of Sandy Creek behind the Colony Park and Beach Hill communities.
▪ North Ellerbee Creek Trail (5 miles, $1.3 million)
The proposed natural surface walking trail has the potential to almost link the Mountains to Sea Trail to the Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve. The greenway would extend from the Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve (west of Roxboro and south of Club Boulevard) to the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association’s Glennstone Nature Preserve, with a future possible connection to the Mountain to Sea Trail.
▪ Third Fork Creek Trail extension (1 mile, $937,600)
The current Third Ford Creek Trail begins at Garrett Road Park and ends at Southern Boundaries Park. The extension would continue from Southern Boundaries Park along the northwestern side of Third Fork Creek and continue to Cornwallis Road. A sidewalk continues along the north side of Cornwallis Road to Fayetteville Street, which provices a connection to the American Tobacco Trail.
To learn more about the trails, read the Priority Trails pamphlet at http://bit.ly/prioritytrails.