Inclusionary Trail Planning Toolkit

A guide to planning and programming equitable trail networks

This report will discuss how community organizing principles and practices can help organizations and agencies connect with the communities they are working in to achieve comprehensive community engagement. As a lack of resources is a common obstacle to achieving an inclusive process, Section Three of this report outlines low-cost outreach methods and emphasizes the importance of leveraging existing community-based resources.

Trails and parks are community assets that ideally serve the needs of their surrounding communities. These spaces provide the opportunity for exercise, active transportation, outdoor recreation, and gathering together. Studies show that access to green space improves health and wellbeing while also providing environmental benefits such as retaining stormwater, lowering ambient temperature, and restoring animal habitat. Trails also improve connectivity between neighborhoods and provide alternative transportation options. Considering these benefits and opportunities, it is no surprise that green spaces are playing an important role in the revitalization of post-industrial cities nationwide. From the Capital Crescent Trail in Washington, DC to Railroad Park in Birmingham, Alabama, parks have improved the local economy and attracted new development.

Multi-use trails can encourage people to be active and feel connected to their neighborhood. As trails improve connectivity between neighborhoods, it becomes easier and more desirable for people and amenities to move into new spaces along the trail. Indeed, access to green space with welcoming, low-stress facilities for walking and biking are desirable characteristics of a neighborhood and attract new development in the area. While new development can have very positive effects in a community, new amenities may come with the unintended consequences of increasing property values, displacing residents, and shifting demographics. This report does not discuss the geographic distribution of trails and parks in depth, but it deals with community engagement around open space development that focuses on improving the quality of life for existing residents and creating more equitable spaces by prioritizing historically disenfranchised groups.

For new trails and parks to best serve existing communities, it is important to plan them with support and input from the current surrounding community. The process of achieving community buy-in is not always clear, however. As planners seek to build new or improved public spaces, it is important to consider all the potential effects these new spaces could have on the surrounding communities. Non-profit and advocacy organizations play an important role in supporting the outreach efforts of urban planners by providing a critical link to the community. This report will use case studies to outline best practices in inclusionary planning, and will provide a tool kit to help non-profit organizations and planning agencies do inclusive trail development.

 

Webinars on YouTube that you might like

Community Driven: How Engagement Guides the Vision and Planning of a Community Wide Trail Network

Apr 25, 2024

With an emphasis on community wide trail networks, the best practices explored in this session will better equip professionals and community members toward creating vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable communities through trail development.

Grand Canyon Greenway: From Vision to Reality

Apr 4, 2024

This webinar will feature three members of the original design team who will take attendees through the vision, design, and development process to develop the Grand Canyon Greenway.

More resources in this category

Blackstone River Bikeway (2017)

posted Apr 19, 2024

The Blackstone River Bikeway is a 48-mile-long route connecting Worcester, Massachusetts with Providence, Rhode Island. The Bikeway generally follows the historic Blackstone River and utilizes an off-road multi-use path and an on-road facility.

Benchmarking Bike Networks

posted Apr 17, 2024

This report summarizes guidance and best practices to create safer bicycle facilities and connect them into networks that allow more people to safely bike to more places within and throughout communities.

Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook

posted Mar 27, 2024

The purpose of the Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook 2014 is to provide direction for creating wilderness stewardship plans, driven by the concept of preserving wilderness character. The Handbook focuses on how to incorporate wilderness policy and wilderness character into a wilderness stewardship plan and also offers a general overview of planning and compliance to be useful for those with and without a professional background in planning.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail: Trail Stewardship Notebook

posted Mar 27, 2024

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail (NST) is a thousand-mile footpath highlighting Wisconsin’s renowned Ice Age heritage and scenic beauty. The Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) and its partners can shape users’ experiences. As stewards of the land and the Trail, we can help users develop a connection with the land and create a sense of wonder — even pique their curiosity enough to further explore the Trail.


986 views • posted 07/29/2020