The Voice of the Black Community
|Safe Trail Access a Top Priority|
It's important that our residents enjoy the many trails that scenically wind their way through our community. However, it is equally important that our trails have designated, maintained, and safe points-of-entry.
Such was the case with the requested foot path by Ms. Shirley Smith highlighted in your recent July 11th article, "Durham's forgotten trail." There were several factors involved as to why an entranceway to the Riddle Road spur of the American Tobacco Trail (across from the Emmanuel AME Church, 2018 Riddle Road) was not feasible.
These factors include:
? Pedestrian safety along Riddle Road is a major concern and we don't want to add a walkway to encourage a mid-block crossing where there is no traffic signal or crosswalk on a very busy roadway.
? New access points must be consistent with the standards for existing access points to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards as well as trail standards, which comes with a considerable cost. Simply removing the underbrush and mowing the grass would not be sufficient to meet these standards.
? Private property rights must be respected since placing an entrance from the church parking lot would imply that parking area is available to the general public for trail use, and the City does not want to create a situation that could inconvenience the church.
? We're working with the Durham Police Department to close (not create) many of the footpaths along this trail to prevent those who have less-than-honorable intentions from using these footpaths to disturb those enjoying the trail.
Ms. Smith did bring forth a legitimate concern, and that concern was taken seriously by the City of Durham. However, after completing an extensive evaluation and consultation amongst several departments, we simply could not accommodate her request for the above-stated reasons.
We certainly want to encourage Ms. Smith and her walking companions to continue using the trail by accessing it at one of its many designated and safe points-of-entry.
Division Manager, Landscape Services & Urban Forestry
City of Durham General Services Department
|Posted on July 15, 2013|
|Maybe if the requests came through the Rails for Trails Conservancy, INC the attention would be greater to this problem. i know that once or twice a year on the WAKE side there are groups that go and work to maintain the trailways and clear brush, etc. Maybe a volunteer or non-profit group would be willing with your churches cooperation of course to help clear and build a decent entry from the parking lot you mention. I'd suggest looking into that course of action since the city and government side of the matter seems to be pointless.|
|Posted on July 12, 2013|
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