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A young trail user enjoys Fun on the River Walk
in Springfield, Mass.


Connecticut River Walk

Springfield, Mass.
Length: 3.7 miles
Opened: 2002

For more information, contact the city of Springfield, Mass.


Lafitte Corridor

New Orleans, La.
Length: 3.1 miles
Construction planned for 2014

For more information, contact Friends of Lafitte Corridor


Case Studies: Events and Urban Pathways

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Connecticut River Walk, Springfield, Mass.

While offering sweeping views of the Connecticut River—a designated American Heritage River—the Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway is largely sequestered from adjacent neighborhoods by an active Amtrak corridor and concrete barrier. To increase awareness of the trail among residents of the Brightwood Neighborhood, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) hosted "Fun on the River Walk," a four-hour festival along the trail. RTC partnered with several community and health organizations, including Brightwood Community School Based Health Center, City of Springfield Planning & Economic Development, North End Campus Coalition, North End Citizen's Council, Partners for a Healthier Community, Riverview Senior Center and Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

The event featured activities for all ages, such as hula hooping, a BMX demonstration, balloon animals, face painting, Zumba, and Tai Chi. There was also a DJ and free food. The event was widely publicized – flyers were produced in both English and Spanish. An estimated 300 to 400 people attended the event, allowing neighborhood residents to become more familiar and comfortable with the trail.

Lafitte Corridor, New Orleans, La.

Each April since Hurricane Katrina, a group of New Orleans residents has "hiked" along the 3.1-miles of former rail corridor, the home of the future Lafitte Greenway. Hosted by Friends of Lafitte Corridor (FOLC), the purpose of the annual hike is to raise awareness of the city-owned corridor and keep the project moving forward.

Through the Urban Pathways Initiative, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) brought additional resources for the 2011 Lafitte Corridor Hike, helping local partners to provide a more structured event. RTC helped develop a Greenway Ambassadors Program to educate community residents about the corridor's history and the greenway planning process. On the day of the hike, the Greenway Ambassadors guided small groups along the corridor, giving hikers a more personalized tour of the corridor. RTC also worked with FOLC to create fun activity stations along the hike, allowing participants to stop and play volleyball or other group sports, and speak with the team designing plans for this exciting new greenway. The annual hike is an effective community outreach tool—a record 369 participants attended the hike in 2011.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037