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.

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

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.

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.

Pages

Subscribe to Triangle Rails to Trails RSS