Bright Spot: Granville Greenways
Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash
This bright spot was originally published in the 100 Million Healthier Lives Change Library and is brought to you through partnership with 100 Million Healthier Lives and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Granville Greenways aims to reduce obesity and increase cardiovascular health by increasing the amount of green space and walkways throughout the county of Granville. By encouraging more people to walk and bike to their destinations, not only will their health increase, but impact on the environment will also decrease. Greenways are corridors of protected open space managed for conservation and recreation purposes. Greenways often follow natural land or water features, and link natural reserves, parks, cultural features and historic sites with each other and with populated areas. Greenways can be publicly or privately owned, and some are the result of public/private partnerships. Greenways can have trails that are paths used for walking, biking, horseback riding, and other forms of recreation of transportation. In over 3,500 American towns, cities, and counties, greenways provide over 35,000 miles of trails - all linked to the common goals of a healthier population, a cleaner environment, and more livable, enjoyable communities.
Local governments that adopt the Greenway Master Plan will:
- Minimize planning, construction, and land preparation costs of greenway segments
- Maximize public use facilities that provide functional and attractive routes for non-motorized transportation, recreation, and sport
- Become leaders in creating communities that promote the health and well-being of their residents and workers by maintaining an optimal balance between land development and open space needs
- Possibly reduce obesity by increasing physical activity through alternative transportation and creating the space necessary for sport and recreation
Below are the steps Granville Greenways took to implement their plan
- Stakeholders invited to information session
- Granville County conducted recreation survey independently of greenway planning process (821 respond Facilities most requested are walking/jogging trails).
- Utilities (Progress Energy, Duke Power, Wake Electric, Piedmont Electric and Scana/Public Service of NC) and municipalities (water and sewer lines) approached about sharing information about easement locations. (Duke Power and Public Service would not share information for security purposes; sewer lines are often better options because they tend to run cross-country while water lines are often in the middle of streets.)
- County mapped all easement information.
- Consulted with NC Chair of East Coast Greenway Alliance
- Survey about suggested greenway routes mailed to civic group, church, and municipal leaders (low response but all suggested trails were also mentioned during forums).
- Community forums conducted in Butner, Oxford, and Stovall (32 non-grant related participants, 54 overall) See Appendix B
- Consulted with President of NC Rail Trails
- Granville County applies for Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding to create two transportation greenways: 158 Bypass/Loop Road Intersection to DT Oxford, and Butner to Creedmoor
- Assessment tool for potential greenway trails created.
- Walked easements
- Mapped trails
Key Steps for Implementation
Below are the steps Granville Greenways took to implement their plan:
1. Stakeholders invited to information session
2. Granville County conducted recreation survey independently of greenway planning process (821 respond Facilities most requested are walking/jogging trails).
3. Utilities (Progress Energy, Duke Power, Wake Electric, Piedmont Electric and Scana/Public Service of NC) and municipalities (water and sewer lines) approached about sharing information about easement locations. (Duke Power and Public Service would not share information for security purposes; sewer lines are often better options because they tend to run cross-country while water lines are often in the middle of streets.).
4. County mapped all easement information.
5.Consulted with NC Chair of East Coast Greenway Alliance
6.Survey about suggested greenway routes mailed to civic group, church, and municipal leaders (low response but all suggested trails were also mentioned during forums).
7. Community forums conducted in Butner, Oxford, and Stovall (32 non-grant related participants, 54 overall) See Appendix B
8.Consulted with President of NC Rail Trails
9.Granville County applies for Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding to create two transportation greenways: 158 Bypass/Loop Road Intersection to DT Oxford, and Butner to Creedmoor
10. Assessment tool for potential greenway trails created.
11. Walked easements
12. Mapped trails
The effects of this intervention will take a long time to see, making the return on investment also not so clear. The goal is that with more pathways and green areas available, people in these communities will be more physically active and travel via walking or bicycle. The return on investment down the road would be whether an intervention at this level will have any effect on healthcare costs by encouraging more physical activity.
Policies, Laws and Regulations
Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Trails The premise for the Greenway Master Plan was to encourage non-motorized traffic in order to increase levels of physical activity among residents. In addition, some funding opportunities are related to decreasing the pollution effects of gasoline powered vehicles. Yet ORV use is a popular past-time among many in the County. Designating certain trails for ORV use may prevent ORV riders from using trails that should not be subjected to motorized traffic. ORV users can be as responsible trail users as others such as hikers or horse-back riders. Rules and standards of behavior have been established by the National Off-Road Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and should be used to guide ORV as well as other trail users. However, within municipal boundaries ORV use is not likely feasible. Local law enforcement should commit to enforcing non-motorized vehicle use of trails where applicable. Safety County and local governments should incorporate new greenways into established patrol patterns for their jurisdictions. Environmental Protection Greenway construction should follow best practices for environmental protection, and include stream bank enhancement as necessary. Trails should generally not be constructed within 30 ft of adjacent streams unless run-off mitigation has been addressed. Wetlands will not be disturbed beyond construction of a boardwalk or bridge. Greenway corridor acquisition may be used to protect an environmentally sensitive or threatened areas. Trail construction in such areas should be designed for minimum impact, or land may be left open for bird watching, wildflower identification or comparable activities.
Required Staffing (FTEs)
Depends on the size of the community
Local governments should actively seek and use outside funding to create the greenway infrastructure. There are a variety of federal, state, and private resources available. Some funding sources include:
- Recreational Trail Grants Rails to Trails Transportation Grants (NC DOT, FHWA, Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations)
- Transportation Enhancements (TEA-21) Program
- SAFETEA-LU Hazard Elimination Funds Surface Transportation Program Discretionary Account Funds Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Funds of Transportation Improvement Programs Bikeway Funds Conservation Funds
- Clean Water Management Trust Funds o Conservation Enhancement Program Funds
- Land and Water Conservation Grants
- National Heritage Trust Fund State Park funds
- Private Foundations such as:
- BCBS Foundation, Bikes Belong Coalition Residential or industrial development enactments Bond referendums community Development Block Grants Corporate or private donors that may support trail projects for varying levels of recognition.
Some small municipalities or communities that want to provide safe trails, pedways, or bikeways and do not fit easily with the Greenway Plan may have a harder time accessing some of the resources above. Walking trails and other localized recreation facilities can be pursued in partnership with outside agencies through Granville County Recreation Mini-Grant Program.
The land required must be wide enough to accommodate construction and maintenance of a trail. The following guidelines for easement width are recommended for adoption as policy. On railways, the rail bed and the original right-of-way should be preserved. Exceptions for pre-existing structures, undue hardship to landowners, or other circumstances require jurisdictional board approval. In developed urban areas, an easement of 20 -25 feet or more is preferable. Adjacent to streams with mapped floodplains in non-urbanized areas, the greenway easement shall be a minimum of 50 feet and shall comply with riparian buffer standards. Per the Granville County Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Conservation/open space land uses should be provided in areas where there is the potential for flooding (100 year flood plain) or the need for buffering. On sanitary sewer easements that are adjacent to a stream, the greenway easement width should extend from the adjacent stream bank to the outer edge of the sewer easement.
Accessibility: All paved greenways should be fully accessible to people with disabilities. Unpaved trails should be as accessible as is feasible given the development and landscape characteristics of the surrounding area.
Types of Staff
See community Partnerships
Return on Investment Details
County and municipal governments should work together to create a group that will be responsible for enacting the precepts of the Greenway Master Plan. Because it is a county-wide plan, |the county government should take the lead establishing and assuring an oversight committee. Suggested membership should include representatives from:
- Municipalities County Government
- Land Use Planning and Zoning County Planning Board
- County Board of Adjustments
- Tourism Development
- Recreation / Parks State and Regional Transportation Planning Organizations
- Public Health / Health Promotion Workgroup Engineering
- Water and Sewer
- Public Safety
- Land Use Attorney
- Land Surveyor
- Finance Department
General outcome measures include:
- Decreased air pollution from use of greenways as a source for alternative transportation
- Better overall community health by increasing physical activity