Photo of gardens along New York City's High Line. — Photo CC JR P via Flickr

The design of a trail doesn’t always end when the trail opens. Various enhancements to the trail, such as lighting, gardens and public art, can be added at any time. While many of these amenities can also be accounted for during the initial design process, sometimes limited funding demands that they be put on hold until after the trail opens. Trail managers can use this waiting period to their advantage; they can often get a better sense of the unique needs and most desired enhancements from trail users and the surrounding community after the trail has opened.

As with the original design of the trail, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities is a comprehensive resource to provide guidelines and standards. Specifically included within the authoritative guide are resources on enhancements such as trail lighting and bicycle parking facilities.

For gardens and public art, local resources are almost always the best option. Most gardeners and artists know best practices in their field, and involving them in the design and implementation of these enhancements is a great way to build community pride, cultivate a sense of local ownership and add unique, locally relevant elements to the trail.

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