Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Real estate coverage of trails access (as desirable amenities)

Indian Head Trail Trail, Prince George's County, Maryland
Geralyn Adams and Norman Dyson ride on Indian Head's Rail Trail. Photo Credit: Ann Cameron Siegal for The Washington Post.

The only meeting where I got absolutely beat down, when I was doing the Western Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plan, was over plans to put a trail in a particular park just east of Towson. I had a bit of hubris about my ability to deal with opposition going into the meeting and I got schooled, big time.

In my observation, they were against the trail not just because they had spent so much time fixing up the park, but because of "misuse" by mountain bikers in the adjacent Loch Raven Reservoir, and they expected that providing multi-use trail access would lead to all kinds of problems.

I countered that with the right design and management (although at this time Baltimore County doesn't have park rangers) you can design out the potential for problems. I even suggested that the State (Gunpowder Falls State Park + the NCR Trail), Baltimore City (which owns Loch Raven Reservoir), and the County (Cromwell Valley Park) join together and do a joint management plan for the parks, which abut each other...

And I also mentioned the fact that after trails are opened they experience high usage and support, that this was the case for the North Central Trail which goes from Ashland Mill Road in Cockeysville up to the Pennsylvania state border (and continues to York) as well as with trails in the Catonsville area ("Input sought on safer bicycle, walking paths in western county" from the Catonsville Times), not to mention Anne Arundel County's experience with the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail.

I still got my clock cleaned.

But I am struck today, reading the Post real estate section, which today features Indian Head, Prince George's County, in the "Where We Live" column on neighborhoods, how many of the recent articles in this feature have specifically mentioned multiuse trails. Today's article has a nice photo of people riding on the Indian Head Rail Trail (shown above).

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