Photo courtesy of www.pedbikeimages.org
/ Dan Burden
Greenways are corridors of undeveloped land, which are set aside
or used for recreation and/or conservation. Greenways often follow
natural land features, such as ridges or streams, or parts of
the human landscape, such as abandoned railways or canals. Greenways
can be used for multi-use trails, pedestrian trails, and/or biological
corridors. They are an important tool for protecting wildlife
habitat, trees and forests, water quality, and downstream properties
from excessive erosion and flooding.
Effective greenway planning should involve many participants
including communities, developers, landowners, community groups,
and local businesses. Many greenways naturally extend beyond a
single municipality's boundary, so it's a good idea to involve
adjacent municipalities, if possible.
Communities and developers can plan and reserve land for greenways
through a number of different strategies. Communities can acquire
park land through subdivision and site plan exactions, as long
as it is tied clearly to a comprehensive plan. They also may acquire
land in floodplains to create a greenway network that would not
be economically impacted by expected flood events.
Developers can integrate greenways into their landscape plans
linking residential areas to adjoining parks, greenways, and open
spaces. Communities may also use public rights-of-way for greenways
and work with private companies to gain access to private rights-of-way,
such as utility and railway corridors. Local businesses and community
organizations can adopt sections of the greenway to keep it free
from litter and ensure its protection.