0 Shade Sails New Amenity on Heritage Trails

Thanks to a Recreational Trail Grant awarded to the Rome/Floyd Planning Department, three shade sails are in the process of being installed on the Heritage Trails by the City of Rome Public Works and Street Department.  These sails not only provide opportunities for trail users to enjoy a respite from the sun on the benches they are also colorful and attractive amenities. TRED is grateful for city planners who look after trail users!

Shade Sail Trails

0 Silver Comet Trail Connection Draw Crowd to Cedartown

Silver Comet open house

Silver Comet open house

The Rome contingent at the public forum in Cedartown on Monday night, April 20, 2015, included Bob Moore (from front), Chris McCormick and Peggy Moore. Bob and Peggy Moore owned Bob’s Cycle Shop in Rome for many years. Chris is a past president of the Coosa Valley Cycling Association. (Tricia Cambron/SJ)

CEDARTOWN — A goodly number of Rome residents made the trek to Cedartown Monday night to get a first look at proposed routes to take the Silver Comet Trail from Cedartown to Cave Spring.

About 10 of the 75 people at the public forum organized by planners from Northwest Georgia Regional Commission and Alta Planning+Design were from Rome, including Peggy and Bob Moore, who owned Bob’s Cycle Shop for more than 30 years.

Peggy Moore said the couple came to the forum for the love of trails, and hope to add the connector to the many miles they’ve already pedaled on the Silver Comet Trail. Moore said she believes the extension will boost Cave Spring’s economy, and maybe one day Rome’s.

“It’s like a stepping stone,” she said.

Her hope is that a Rome link will be a consideration in planning for the Cedartown-Cave Spring link. That’s a theme Alta project manager Britt Storck has heard before.

“A lot of people come up to me and say ‘how do we connect this to Rome,’ and I say, ‘I can’t tell you.’ That’s not what we’re considering now,” Storck said.

Storck emphasized planners did not design the maps with an eye toward how the proposed trail might eventually connect with Rome.

“That never was and will not be a consideration in the final feasibility report. It is not in our scope of work,” he said.

The public forum, which ran around two hours, skipped the presentation and comment format, and instead invited visitors to browse the various materials provided on easels and on tables around the room.

Members of NWGRC and Alta circulated among the crowd, answering questions and engaging in conversations with groups and individuals.

The routes are similar, generally following Seab Green Road to Old Cave Spring Road out of Cedartown and paralleling Perry Farm Road or Cedartown Road to Cave Spring. Route 1 is more rural, Route 2 includes a loop around Cave Spring and Route 3 shares a portion of public highway in the Mountain Home area.

Storck said all three were selected based on the same considerations, and each consideration was given equal weight in the decision. Those included property rights, avoiding intrusion on private property, impact costs and access to natural resources. Planners also considered what was the most direct route, and whether the link should tie into the Pinhoti Trail.

Paulette Harbin has lived in Cave Spring for 38 years and is the owner of Nanna’s near the town square. She said she couldn’t hike or bike anymore because “my knees won’t let me,” but she came to the forum to support her friends who can use the trail. She prefers Route 1.

“It seems like the simplest, there’s less to do (to construct it), less sharing with the Pinhoti trail,” she said, and “there’s beautiful views of the ridge of hills running along the path.”

NWGRC planner Charles Jones said funds to build the proposed connection could come from state or federal funding, some of which would require a city or county match.

The Silver Comet Trail is the nation’s longest and oldest paved rail-trail, extending 61.5 miles and connecting seven cities and three counties from Smyrna to the Georgia/Alabama state line.

Alta’s 2013 economic impact report said that this in-state expansion alone has the potential to double the number of users and economic benefits on a local and regional scale.

-Tricia Cambron, Cedartown Standard-Journal

0 Possible Silver Comet Trail Extension Discussions

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Doug Walker, Rome News-Tribune

More than two dozen public officials turned out Monday for the first of two workshops this week to consider a possible extension of the Silver Comet Trail from Cedartown to Cave Spring.

Sandra Lindsey, director of the Cave Spring Downtown Development Authority, said she’s excited about the tourism opportunities a connection to the 61.5-mile multi-use trail would bring.

Cedartown Council Chair­man Dale Tuck also was enthusiastic about extending the pathway that starts in Smyrna and runs through her city.

“I think this would be a great boost to the city of Cedartown,” she said.

In addition to officials from the two cities, the session at the Cave Spring Public Library drew representatives from the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Rome-Floyd Planning Department and the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission.

Consultant Britt Storck of ALTA Planning and Design presented several potential routes for discussion and said her team would look at the physical sites this week.

“These maps are just a starting point,” she reminded the gathering. “We’re going to study lots of different opportunities, constraints and different alignment options.”

She said there’s a high rate of return on investment in trails, noting that trails in new residential or mixed-use developments increases property values by 10 to 20 percent.

Katelyn DiGioia, GDOT bike and pedestrian engineer, said there is “plenty of evidence” — particularly in major metropolitan areas — that more people are using bikes to commute to work.

“We’re getting better at tracking that,” she said.

The ALTA team will present the results of their work to the same group of stakeholders Friday at 9 a.m.

Storck said the public will have an opportunity to comment about the project during a workshop later this spring on a date yet to be determined. The sessions this week were designed for public officials.

 

0 Everything you Wanted to Know about Trails in Georgia and More…

The Georgia Trail Summit is an awesome event that will take place for the second year in Athens, GA June 4-6.  Organizers are focused on the themes of “Building a Culture of Health on Trails in Georgia” and “Trails as a Transportation Solution”.  If you are interested in learning more about trails and the many positive benefits of them and how to be involved in your community (hint, TRED), please plan on attending the Summit.  Visit Georgia Trail Summit.

This document encapsulates the work of the organizers and is a “clif’s notes” version of why trails, what is the difference between trails and greenways, how are trails funded, trails in Georgia, and other resources.

GTSWhitePaper2015.docx

GA Trail Summit 2015

0 Sunday Cyclocross Race to Benefit TRED

Blake Dudley navigates a CX race  The weekend forecast — some sunshine and a high close to 60 — is not such good news for the Rome Winter Cyclocross races, scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday in Ridge Ferry Park. When it comes to cyclocross, a Euro-centric cycling sport, it seems the worse the weather, the better the event. “It’s based in the tradition of bad weather, cold, rain, snow, mud,” said organizer Trey Smith. Smith said a 1.5 mile course will be laid out over the section of the park closest to downtown. The format will be somewhat non-traditional. Instead of one long race, 45 minutes to an hour, the Sunday races will feature three 20-minute heats with the total number of laps deciding the winner. “We’ll run all of the divisions together — men, women, juniors, everybody,” Smith said. “Everybody’s real supportive of each other, so you’ll have pros that will pull up next to juniors and cheer them on and ride with the junior a little bit, so it’s an experience they would never get otherwise.” Smith expects close to 100 riders, with 90 percent of them coming from out of town. He said the early start-time is meant to encourage riders to come in Saturday night and spend some time in downtown Rome.

Proceeds from Sunday’s event, sponsored by Cycle Therapy, will go to TRED, a local nonprofit advocating for the expansion of the trail network across Rome and Floyd County. Registration, $20 per rider, begins at 8:30 a.m. with the racing to start at 10 a.m. Doug Walker, Rome News-Tribune

0 Bike/Ped Plan Update Moving Forward Even with Edits

If you missed last night’s bike/ped/trail update meeting at the Forum in Rome, you missed hearing from people who believe in Rome and Floyd County being better connected creating more bike and pedestrian infrastructure.  Yes, there were people there who felt that “Rome will be like Pakistan, with all these people on bikes.” and people not understanding why this plan has to happen in the first place, but I choose to believe in good, and the good news is that at least half of the room understood that we are planning for the future and that we have to plan now for transportation alternatives that include more people on bikes and walking.  The goals that we are working toward include achieving the much sought after Bicycle Friendly Community in 2018 as deemed by the League of American Bicycle Organization, doubling the number of people walking and biking to work in five years, and connecting Cave Spring to the Silver Comet Trail.

The much aligned “Broad Street” portion of the plan was removed, due likely to public outcry over reducing Broad Street to one lane, installing reverse angle parking, and removing some parking spaces to make bike lanes.  Here are some facts that prove that ALTA Planning WAS thinking about the positive economic benefits of changing Broad Street and ultimately connecting the entire community to the central business district:

  • A study in Portland, OR on consumer behavior mode share (how one gets around), addressed the concern business owners have asked when to replace car parking with bike parking.  The study states that even though cyclists and pedestrians spend less per trip, they MAKE MORE frequent visits to a business throughout the month and end up spending more on average than their car driving peers.
  • Magnolia Street in Fort Worth, TX, reported a 163% increase in retail sales after a bike lane and improved bike parking were installed in the area.
  • For those downtown residents, studies have looked at the effects proximity to trails and other bike and walking facilities have on property values and in Omaha, NE, nearly two-thirds of homeowners who purchased their home after a trail was built said that the trail positively influenced their purchase decision.

The positive news is that the rest of the plan is still in place.  That means getting focused on (including the aforementioned goals) connecting the four colleges via a trail network, adding 25 miles of new on-street bikeways, and 35 miles of new trails and side paths.  A bike/ped advisory committee will also be formed to work through the challenges of making this community safer and healthier for everyone.

TRED supports the City of Rome and Floyd County as we look to create the type of environment that attracts visitors and create our own Chattanooga or Portland, in our beautiful part of Northwest Georgia.

The plan will be posted for 30 days, see link:  http://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/local/broad-street-taken-out-of-bike-pedestrian-draft-plan/article_eebbbf12-85b3-11e4-96ae-d7dfa1458806.html

Please send your comments to Sue Hiller, shiller@romega.us, in the Rome-Floyd Planning Department.