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A young attendee enjoying the "Fun on the River Walk" activities.

 

Project Information

This project is part of RTC's Urban Pathways Initiative.

Map of Trail

Latest Project Updates

Funding
The Kresge Foundation

Contact
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Northeast Regional Office
northeast@railstotrails.org
717.238.1717

 

Connecticut River Walk
Years: 2008 to present

This project is part of RTC's Urban Pathways Initiative. Learn more about this work.

Location
Springfield, Mass.

Partners
City of Springfield; Springfield Partners for a Healthier Community; Live Well Springfield; Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; MassBike Pioneer Valley Chapter; YMCA of Greater Springfield; Baystate Children's Hospital MIGHTY Program; North End Campus Coalition; Brightwood Community Based Health Center; LA Fitness; New North Citizens' Council; Riverside Senior Center

Project Deliverables
Trail access audit; trail amenities plan

Trail Description
The Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway is currently 3.7 miles long as it runs south from the Chicopee town line to the South End Bridge. Unique features of the trail include its path alongside an active train line, making it a rail-with-trail, and its passing in close proximity to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The trail passes through several urban neighborhoods but is significantly underused.

Project Description
RTC has worked with our local partners to encourage greater use of the River Walk. In May 2011, the highly successful "Fun on the River Walk" event was held, in which nearly 400 area residents participated in a day of activities, food, music and friendship on the River Walk. RTC also installed a large trail map in the nearby Brightwood neighborhood to help orient local residents to the trail. We conducted a community assessment detailing the difficulties Brightwood residents faced in accessing the River Walk due to the barrier of a large flood wall, and we worked with our local partners, including the city of Springfield's planning and parks departments and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, to offer innovative design solutions, such as a ladder access system.

Looking toward the future, continued involvment by local groups such as the New North Citizens' Council, better wayfinding signage to the River Walk, and weekly 'guided tours' of the walk will all heighten awareness and interest in the River Walk and should lead to a continued expansion of programming in the years to come.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037
+1-202-331-9696