By David Steinberg, Bike Camden County Steering Committee Member
If your town or county is negotiating with a railroad or private land owners, the following suggestions are for the use of irregular sized parcels of land that may be available adjacent to a trail’s path. For the most part, they are unusable to the railroad, as they are supposed to maintain them, but often don’t. These odd shaped parcels can be integrated into the towns for which have tracks going through. Of course, each town reserves the option to produce their own ideas within their borders. Here are some ideas for them to ponder and they are intended to be locally sponsored and can be at municipal or volunteer expense. If you like any of these ideas, talk to your municipal officials about undertaking these projects as some may qualify for governmental, foundation or business grants.
- Adding bike paths along the trail as connectors with other trails in the communities.
- Create bike share/rental stations along the trail.
- Additional off-street parking for businesses and residential needs.
- Civic spaces
- Addition of street furniture & playground equipment, where applicable.
- Create mini-parks and gathering places for residents, such as concerts, and community events.
- Add monuments, flagpoles and statuary to commemorate special occasions or significant local events, for example: Walt Whitman’s Summer residence in Laurel Springs, NJ.
- Create a nursery to grow trees and plants along the trail to be replanted in other parts of the town.
- Community projects such as: creating flower gardens and rain gardens along the trail by inviting public school students, the local garden club, the Boy Scout or Girls Scout troops, etc. to create and maintain them.
- Beatifying with flowers the railroad intersections with local streets, county roads and state highways.
- Energy savings through solar energy
- Solar panels on poles to light the trail & provide communication to local police departments.
- Ground mount solar fields along the trail can provide energy savings to the municipality.
- Sustainable Jersey
There could be points assigned for your town to receive Sustainable Jersey Bronze, Silver or Gold Certifications, for many of these items, such as: Bicycle and Pedestrian Audits & Plans, Safe Routes to School, Open Space Plans, Tree Planting Programs, etc. are on the list.
If you have any questions, please contact me, as the Trail Coordinator for Tri-CSA (Tri County Sustainability Alliance) Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties. 856-383-5325 firstname.lastname@example.org.