FAQ: Building trails near ports

Examples of combined recreational and industrial uses on east and west coast port properties.

by American Trails Staff

October 01, 2009

The Silver Strand bike path along the west side of San Diego Bay; photo by Robert Ashworth

Recreation and marine use examples

Research by Port of Portland staff, October 2009

Overview

This research offers examples of combined recreational and industrial uses on west coast port properties. It explores the interface of public space and water access areas developed and operated by ports. It is not intended to be an inclusive look at all ports, but rather a collection of relevant examples.

As the use of containers, gentrification and population pressures have shrunk the footprint of urban marine terminals, many ports, still the owners of unused piers, have redeveloped certain areas with upscale restaurants, art galleries and boardwalks.

Some parks are created by ports for the purposes of establishing buffer zones to residential areas, providing views of port operations and as forms of environmental remediation. Parks and open spaces which are created by ports can also be the results of complicated past real estate transactions, or developments that did come to full fruition. This report does not address the significant maintenance issues and costs for some of the cited examples, which would be important considerations for ports considering these types of use.

Harborside Trail, New Haven Harbor, Connecticut

The Harborside Trail will connect the mouth of the West River to Lighthouse Point following closely the shoreline of New Haven Harbor. The trail will be an off-road paved path wherever existing conditions permit. The trail will enhance public access to the shoreline of New Haven Harbor. It will contribute, along with other ongoing projects, to reconnect the public to the City’s waterfront. The trail will connect the harbor’s varied and diverse water-dependant commercial and industrial facilities, cultural destinations, and natural environments.

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