I have been privileged to travel around the world over the last several weeks. As I have mentioned before in this column, one of my favorite things to do when out of town is to seek out greenways and …
I have been privileged to travel around the world over the last several weeks. As I have mentioned before in this column, one of my favorite things to do when out of town is to seek out greenways and trails, and compare them to our own great linear park, the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway.
A few columns ago I detailed the greenways I found while at a conference in Singapore.
When I was at Disney World in May, I found myself comparing features and seeing if we could implement some of them here. Granted, anything Disney is going to have a layer of “wow,” not to mention a coating of cash.
I tried to keep that in mind as I ran the trail that encircled our resort. What I noted is we have what Disney has: a lighted concrete Greenway with benches and amenities. I was entertained by a series of colorful, waist-high trivia signs, something that was fitting for that resort, but not so much for our Greenway.
My most recent — and intriguing — trail comparison was a visit to Alaska in mid-June. I was primarily there to run the Mayor’s Half Marathon in downtown Anchorage, June 17. After the start from a city park and through a couple of neighborhoods, the race took us onto the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a beautiful path that I was told went for 10 miles one way.
On the portions I trekked I took mental notes and a few photos. Here are my three primary takeaways:
1. Through neighborhoods: The trail made its way through the backyards of some very expensive homes, some of which had no buffer zone — no fence, not even bushes … just green grass connecting right to the Greenway and all of its patrons.
2. No lights: Perhaps because it goes through these neighborhoods, there were no lights along the path. Granted, it stays daylight for 24 hours in June (try sleeping at midnight when the sun is still shining), but conversely, there is only about six hours of light in December. Without lighting, the trail, which snakes its way through a dense forest for part of the way, would be so dark you would not be able to see your hand in front of your face.
3. Pavement, not concrete: The entire trail was paved, a surface which is less expensive, quicker to lay, and less stressful on the knees of runners than concrete.
These three factors were also true of greenways I have run in other cities, including Salt Lake City, Nashville, and even Chattanooga. Most of those whose properties abut the Greenway realize that proximity increases home values and many welcome the patrons who use the Greenway with a simple trust they will not bother them.
As I mentioned in this column two weeks ago, these kinds of questions and decisions will need to be addressed as we move forward with our Greenway plans. The more we compare our Greenway what other cities are doing on theirs, the more knowledge we can use to our ultimate advantage.
Facebook: The Greenway
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