End of Year Message--2014

Season’s greetings and happy holidays from Triangle Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (TRTC)! It’s almost the end of the year and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your help in the past, keep you up to date on what we have been doing this year, and ask you for your continuing support. Any amount you can spare will be welcome as we continue to maintain selected ATT facilities and to promote and improve the American Tobacco Trail and local rail-trails. Here is some of what we have been doing in 2014 with your donations and support:

Special projects: Our long term advocacy for expanded parking at Scott King was rewarding as the City at long last provided 2015 funding for a new parking facility just east of the trail crossing on Scott King Road. ATT user parking along the road has seen a steady increase for several years and additional capacity is clearly needed. Our outreach to potential partners was also successful and resulted in a $5000 grant to the City from the NC Horse Council to support this project. Until bids on this project are received some months from now, it is not clear whether the currently available funds will be sufficient to complete the project. TRTC has offered to provide safety fencing if the City faces a modest shortfall.

Trail safety: Since 2012 we have purchased and installed over a dozen Pass with Care signs along the Durham section of the ATT to encourage safe passing by cyclists. We completed these installations in July 2014. After numerous contacts with NCDOT over nine months concerning the lack of proper crossing signs at Scott King Road, DOT did install bright yellow new signage there in July. We have also been encouraging NCDOT to lower the speed limit to 35 mph at the Scott King Road crossing area but so far with no success. We plan to push on this issue again in 2015 since the 45+ speeds by vehicles at this crossing pose a real hazard to the large numbers of users crossing the road. Finally, we have approached Cary and Chatham County to consider adding yellow center dashes on the asphalt section of the trail in Chatham. TRTC has offered to partner on 50% of the costs for this effort but it appears that no government funding for this will be available until the next fiscal year starting in July.

Trail maintenance: We maintained the Pittard Sears parking lot including plumbing support needed to open the water fountain in early April and shut it down for the winter last month.
Funds from donations were used to pay the monthly water bill for this very popular ATT amenity. The 21 vehicle site, which gets regular use, provides a safe (and legal) alternative to parking on O’Kelly Church Road. Donations to TRTC and funds from the Tobacco Road Marathon were key to allowing this long term ATT facility to happen.

We held about ten targeted workdays this year. These included installing two water bars, re-building the trail drain and efforts to replenish the stone surface on the access trail at the Fayetteville Road trailhead. At Scott King Road we installed a new information display case and built and installed an additional seat at the kiosk. On the trail itself we swept or blew off sand and pine needles several times on sections south of Renaissance Parkway.
We also held two workdays on the 2.2-mile Eagle Spur rail-trail south of Stagecoach Road, to remove downed trees and carry out trash. Eagle Spur is an unimproved rural wooded trail corridor leading to Jordan Lake on land now managed by the NC Fish and Wildlife Commission; it is popular with fishermen, hunters and hikers.

Trail events: We handed out maps and information at the Wake County health event held at White Oak Road in June. TRTC volunteers once again manned a rest stop at Bikefest, a fund raising event put on by the Carolina Tarwheels.

Maps: In late August TRTC measured and marked the entire ATT at quarter mile intervals. TRTC has taken the lead in getting the governments in Durham, Chatham and Wake Counties to agree to use these measurements as the basis for new, uniform mileage markers on the trail using a unitary north to south system (Mile 0.0 at the DBAP and Mile 22.0 just south of US 64). This new signage should be installed by these governments by March 2015. We have revised our 2010 ATT maps to reflect these measurements, the completion of Phase E in Durham County and other miscellaneous changes. Printable PDF files for the 2015 ATT maps will be available on our site in late December with printed copies available early in 2015. On Jan. 22nd we installed a map box at Scott King where you can get copies.

Other essential trail support: We continue to pay for regular service to the porta-jon that we brought back into service in July 2013 at the Fayetteville Road parking trailhead. To accommodate the far larger user base at Scott King Road, we moved this porta-jon to the access road at Herndon Park in October.
In sum, we continue to work as volunteers to make the American Tobacco Trail (and its little sibling the Eagle Spur Trail, originally part of the same rail line) great places to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Your donations help us to build connector trails, do maintenance, create and print trail maps, fund important special projects and provide water – and that porta-jon – for trail users. All of us at TRTC thank you for your continued support. Please consider us in your holiday giving, by purchasing or renewing a membership and making a tax-deductible donation to TRTC.

You can donate online by going to www.triangletrails.org/membership and paying via PayPal, or you can send us a check payable to Triangle Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Inc. (TRTC)
P.O Box 61091
Durham, NC 27715-1091

If you have any questions about joining or making a tax-deductible contribution to TRTC, or if you have any questions about your existing or past membership, please contact TRTC's Treasurer at: membership@triangletrails.org

Rails to Trails: The Time is Now

Utilizing railroads for mass transit systems may become necessary in the next century. Why not preserve the existing railroad corridors and avoid condemnation of private land for government projects? Once preserved, why not use these relatively flat, straight corridors for alternate transportation through bicycle commuting and recreational trails? These are not unique or radical ideas. Rail-trails efforts are active and successful throughout the country. Currently, the TRTC is actively seeking volunteers and contributions. If you would like to help, or you want to know more, please join us today by completing a membership form or joining us in workdays with Friends of the ATT.

This view of the American Tobacco Trail (ATT) shows folks enjoying an early Fall afternoon on the trail in downtown Durham. (Photo from Nancy Pierce Photo.com)

Research Report on Impacts of Completing the ATT Bridge

I-40 Bike-Ped bridge on the ATT in Durham.

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at NC State University has released a report on the effects of completing a critical link in the American Tobacco Trail in Durham, NC: Bridging the Gap: Economic, Health, and Transportation Impacts from completing a critical link in the ATT. The construction of the bridge over Interstate 40 and corresponding paved connections joined the two unconnected trail segments forming a continuous 22-mile shared use path corridor. Data collected before (in 2013) and after the addition of the bridge segment (in 2014) were compared to determine changes. The researchers found that use of the trail increased 133% and an additional $3.7 million is spent annually on goods and services by those using the trail. The research also portrayed exceptional gains in the amount of physical activity and economic impact measured by people using the trail, occurring just three short months after the opening of the bridge. This ITRE led study provides empirical evidence that constructing bicycle and pedestrian facilities, particularly those that fill a critical link in non-motorized transportation network, will result in measurable positive impacts. A recent article by Jim Wise in the Durham News focuses on the health and economic benefits brought by this bridge connection http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/01/24/4501719/i-40-bridge-a-boost-for-h...

To read or at least browse through this report ITRE offers two versions of the report on their web site: http://www.itre.ncsu.edu/Public/bikeped.html: An 8 page brochure which presents summaries of the major findings and a 99 page full report which includes numerous tables and longer discussions.

New ATT Maps Availale for Printing and Download

Our revised maps for Durham's greenways and all sections of the ATT are now available from this site (links are on the left sidebar of the homepage. For the Durham and Greenways Map: http://www.triangletrails.org/pdfs/ATT_map_page1-2015.pdf and for the Chatham and Wake Map: http://www.triangletrails.org/pdfs/ATT_map_page2-2015.pdf . These maps show north to south mileage markers on the ATT based on the measurements TRTC conducted in August. We also show the I-40 bridge as part of the trail, updated the names of some roads, added the location of some benches and fountains put in since 2010, and included notes and icons for the new trailhead facility under construction by the Town of Cary at New Hope Church Road (opening estimated for summer 2015). Since 2010, ATT users have told us that they really found our maps useful and with this feedback we decided to invest the time and resources to research these changes and apply the revisions to our previous maps. We hope you like them!!
January 22-- We've just installed a maps box on the kiosk at Scott King road and will be stocking it with copies of our 2015 map. We'll also have copies in the kiosk box at O'Kelly Chapel Road.

Santa Comes for a Ride on the ATT

Santa AL, aka Al Capehart was a long time advocate for securing the retired rail corridor and for the development of the ATT as a multi-use rail-trail. Many have referred to him as the father of the ATT. As a second career AL has appeared as Santa in the Raleigh-Durham area for many years and had a long ambition to have Santa take a spin on the I-40 bridge. On December 26th, his dream came true. Here is a picture of Santa with Carolyn Townsend, another champion of rail-trails and the Chair of NC Rail-Trails until 2009.

Porta-Jon Relocated to Herndon Park

Porta-jon at access road to Herndon Park, Durham

Due to the large and growing user access at the Scott King trailhead, TRTC has moved the porta-jon which has been at the Fayetteville Road trailhead for the last three years. It is located just into Herndon Park on the left side so will offer easy access for the many users parking or passing through the Scott King area. This porta-jon will be there year round so should be especially welcome after the Park restrooms are shut for the Winter in the next few weeks.

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