New Pictures Showing Early and Later Progress in ATT Phase E Construction

Check our ATT Construction link below (and on the left sidebar under PHOTOS) to see recent shots showing construction progress. Asphalt has been laid on sections both South and North of Scott-King Road and in mid-December asphalt was laid in the new section north of Massey-Chapel Road. The trailhead parking area on Fayetteville Road was re-opened for public use at the end of February. By the end of March the six foot wide granite screenings portion south of Scott-King was seeing lots of use by runners and some equestrians and all of the green access gates and chain link fencing were complete from Massey-Chapel Road to the Chatham County line. The work to correct the height of the bridge supports on the north side of I-40 (by reducing it's height by 2.5') was completed in mid-April. The bridge arc was set in place across I-40 on April 27-28. Most recently, images of work on the short section along Massey-Chapel Road from August through November have been added. http://www.triangletrails.org/gallery/att

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)

Porta-Jon Relocated to Herndon Park

Porta-Jon at Scott King Road 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.

Community Input Session for ATT Users

The American Tobacco Trail Study being done by North Carolina Rail-Trails and researchers from NC Central and NC State is going well. A community input workshop will be held this Saturday (Sept. 27th). The team will have a tent with tables at 2919 Fayetteville St (just off the American Tobacco Trail at The Office Connection) from noon-4pm. It's a drop in type of event, no need to stay long but there will be hot dogs and raffles!
If you can't stop by but would still like to provide input, please take a few moments to complete the online survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ATTrail

Durham Receives Grant for Duke Beltline Planning

On September 10th Durham took a first step towards planning for the future acquisition and development of a 2.2 mile rail corridor in downtown Durham. The Duke Beltline is a rail spur that rings the western and northern portions of downtown. Supporters of a rails-to-trails conversion see it as a complement to the American Tobacco Trail and other city greenway projects.
Federal officials have awarded Durham a $222,700 grant the city can use to fund planning for a new trail along the Duke Beltline rail corridor.
U.S. Reps. G.K. Butterfield, D-1st, and David Price, D-4th, issued a joint statement Wednesday evening announcing the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Butterfield made a point of thanking Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, a former mayor of Charlotte, for supporting the application.
The grant replied to an application from the city government, which hopes someday to acquire the downtown-ringing Beltline from the Norfolk Southern Corp.
City Manager Tom Bonfield said the planning work should bolster the city’s case if and when it comes time to seek outside funding for an acquisition. “If we were going to look for philanthropic support from the private sector, the foundation or business world, it was difficult to do that without a plan or strategy or some visual representation of what we’re talking about,” Bonfield said, summarizing the advice officials have solicited from organizations who might be able to help.
Officials will need to come up with a $75,000 local match, with private contributions being a potential source of at least some of that money.
City Transportation Director Mark Ahrendsen said in putting together the grant application, officials touched base with Duke University, Downtown Durham Inc. and the people behind the American Tobacco complex and the proposed Durham Innovation District. They “indicated if we were successful [in landing the planning grant], we’d be returning to them,” Ahrendsen said. “They were open to that, but no commitments were made at that time. We will follow up with the private interests that expressed support for the project.”
He added that the grant is supposed to pay for the creation of a master plan for a trail project along the beltline, to include “trail development guidelines, [construction] phasing and a funding strategy.” Officials in assembling the application figured the work will take about a year. It can’t begin until they nail down grant agreements with the federal government and the N.C. Department of Transportation, and select a consultant. The city’s timetable calls for the administrative spadework to be completed by the end of the year and the selection of the consultant to take place by the spring. That would translate into a completed plan sometime in early 2016, Ahrendsen said. Acquisition talks between the city and Norfolk Southern bogged down in 2013 after the railroad said it wants $7.1 million for the corridor. The city had $2 million on hand thanks to a Price-secured federal appropriation. The project gained new life this year when a Virgina-based trust, The Conservation Fund, signaled interest in lending a hand. Its North Carolina operation is led by Bill Holman, a former Sierra Club lobbyist, state administrator and Duke University policy analyst. Bonfield said representatives of The Conservation Fund and the railroad have met several times and, while not making any deals yet, are having “fruitful talks” about the Beltline. Holman confirmed that talks are continuing.

To date, the conversations are about “seeing if we can get together an agreement on what the property is worth,” as a preliminary to figuring out “how to pay for it and how quickly to pay for it,” he said. But “both parties are very interested in working things out,” Holman said. Holman added that the planning grant “will help a lot.”
“There are opportunities to bring other public and private funds into the project,” he said. “Having a great plan developed [using the grant] will aid those interests.”

TRTC Completes North to South Measurement of the ATT

On August 24th, a volunteer team lead by TRTC's Treasurer, Mike Forte, measured the entire ATT and posted markings at each mile and at each quarter mile. These new markings will allow trail markings on the entire ATT to be based on a single, unitary mileage scheme rather than the prior scheme in which Durham used a north to south scheme and Wake and Chatham employed a south to north scheme.
All miles have been marked with a nail, washer, surveyor's orange paint circle (except mile 0.0 designated with white), and the distance in white. All quarter miles are marked with a dot and the distance in white. The exception to this is in the southern most 8 miles where the surface is granite screening. This area was marked by a 1' wooden stake to the side of the trail with the distance written on it, top painted orange, and the nearest tree (if one was nearby) with a white mark for the quarter miles and a white and orange mark for the whole miles. The total distance from the Durham 0.0 marker to the Apex 0.0 marker is 21.09 miles making the Apex unofficial/official end 21.09 miles. Measuring to the trail head in Apex at the New Hill Olive Chapel Rd parking lot is a distance of 22.08 miles. From the Durham Ballpark to mile 6.5 our measurements were consistent with those done earlier by Durham. From this point south new trail markers reflecting the unitary mileage scheme will be installed by Durham, Cary Parks and Wake County Parks early in 2015.

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