TSW was retained by Spalding County and the City of Griffin to create a comprehensive plan for the development of the former Southern railway railroad corridor into a shared-use off-road rail-with-trail facility, Spalding County Rail with Trail Study. The plan includes a 7.75-mile pedestrian and bicycle master plan that identifies segments of the corridor that are ideal for the rail-with-trail facility and evaluates the potential for mixed-use development along the rail corridor. The study also examines how the rail-trail corridor can connect to existing and proposed local, regional, and statewide economic development corridors, redevelopment areas, trail systems, greenways, and bicycle/pedestrian networks.
One of the key components of the plan is the inclusion of multi-use paths and bikeways, which provide important corridors for commuter trips and a desirable facility for cyclists of all skill levels. TSW identified design standards, including widths, materials, and grades, for multi-use paths and bikeways that can withstand a variety of conditions, such as floodway and floodplain trails, elevated trails, and shared neighborhood electric vehicles. The plan includes cost estimates for a three-phase approach and identifies potential funding sources, including federal, state, local, and private funding strategies to build the project.
The plan aims to promote active transportation and sustainable development in the City of Griffin and Spalding County and will be a valuable tool to attract investors and residents to the area. The rail-trail corridor will not only provide a recreational and transportation facility for the community,
but also contribute to the preservation of the area’s history and natural resources.
Additionally, the study addresses the need for adequate parking facilities along the rail-trail corridor. It recommends the development of shared and public parking arrangements, especially in denser areas, to reduce the overall number of car parking spaces and encourage the use of active transportation modes. Clear signage is also proposed to help users find parking easily and combat the perception that parking is hard to find.
The plan takes into consideration the safety and accessibility of users, with the proposed design incorporating features such as wayfinding signage, lighting, and security cameras. The design also includes provisions for accommodating people with disabilities and ensuring that the rail-trail is accessible for all users.
The Spalding County Rail with Trail Study is a comprehensive and integrated plan that considers the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the rail-trail facility. The study recognizes the importance of preserving and promoting the cultural and historical resources of the area, and proposes measures to mitigate the potential impacts of the rail-trail on these resources.
The Spalding County Rail with Trail Study serves as a model for other communities looking to convert abandoned rail corridors into recreational and transportation facilities. The plan’s recommendations for the development of a shared-use off-road rail-with-trail facility, combined with its emphasis on promoting active transportation, sustainable development, and cultural preservation, make it a valuable resource for communities looking to transform their unused rail corridors into thriving, multi-use destinations.