A greenway is a corridor of protected open space set aside for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, usually with the intention to connect parks or civic landmarks. Richmond already has an extensive network of mountain bike trails and is slowly developing more people-friendly paths.
WCVE’s Virginia Currents discovers how old railroad tracks can become today’s trails and bike paths on a road to tomorrow. Champe Burnley, president of the Virginia Bicycling Federation; city councilman Doug Conner and James River Park System trail builder Nathan Burrell are featured in a video from late spring 2010 about an on-going rails-to-trails project effort to convert a former CSX railroad line, the James River Branch Line, that runs 2.5 miles between Belt Boulevard and Hopkins Road. The segment is about 12 minutes long, but contains plenty of good information and incite into the heart of the plans for Richmond.
Burnley is passionate about greenways and said that “rails to trails is a great way to get people out of the house, off the couch and get some fresh air and sunshine.
“We find if we put a rail to trail or greenway in someone’s backyard, it really improves property values. People find that if you put a facility like this in a neighborhood, its like being next to a golf course or a marina. Next thing you know, everyone wants to live next to the trail because it is so convenient,” Burnley said. That has proven to be true with the Westover Hills, Woodland Heights and Forest Hill Park neighborhoods in South Richmond.