by Ben Burmester, Facilities Management
Trails and shared-use pathways are growing in popularity everywhere thanks to health, environmental, transportation and quality of life benefits they bring to a community. When located away from a roadway these pathways are commonly called greenways and can follow abandoned railroad rights-of-way, utility easements, within parks or along natural amenities like streams. Greenways are used for all types of non-motorized uses, including biking, walking, skating, and jogging.
The Parkerson Mill Creek Greenway has been long planned on the Auburn University campus and in the City of Auburn over the last 20 years. The long-term vision is to provide a new shared-use path that follows Parkerson Mill Creek, which carries the vast majority of the watershed for campus. A pathway along the creek not only works well for improved campus circulation but also highlights the importance of the waterway through the campus. The greenway route is located within the Auburn main campus with the goal to extend off-campus and ultimately connect to Chewacla State Park.
Over the last two years, the university has made a significant investment toward implementing the first two phases of the Parkerson Mill Creek Greenway. As many on campus have already taken advantage of, the university has constructed approximately 0.6 miles of new shared use path that runs from the Coliseum Parking Lot to Lem Morrison Drive. These first two phases, funded primarily by Campus Recreation, allow users to enjoy alternative modes of transportation between the core of campus and the Intramural Fields and SportsPlex.
A third phase of the Parkerson Mill Creek Greenway is in the works that will add new destinations to the emerging trail system. This phase is planned to be 0.4 miles of new shared-use path and will extend the greenway from its end point today at Lem Morrison Drive to the south and connect to the existing trail circling the pond adjacent to the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. With this pathway addition, users will have more opportunities and options for connecting and traveling around campus.
The funding for this third phase is made possible through a Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program grant secured from the Alabama Department of Transportation. The competitive grant is open to all cities and counties in the State of Alabama and will provide a large portion of the funding to implement this next phase of the Parkerson Mill Creek Greenway. It is expected construction will begin in early 2023.
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