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Future of Raleigh greenway goes beyond recreation

Posted February 13, 2015

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— Even when it's cold, many run, walk or bike the miles of Raleigh's greenway system. With more than 100 miles of trails, residents have lots of options, and the city is looking to more than double that in coming year.

Since the city's greenway plan was written in 1989, the population has exploded. In just five years, the size of the greenway system in Raleigh and Wake County has doubled. But local leaders are far from finished. The city has outlined a plan to add 120 miles of greenway, mostly to connect existing trails to each other and to busy residential and commercial areas.

Todd Milam, a Raleigh greenway planner, says the next step is to expand uses beyond recreation. "There are a lot more users and different types of uses," he said.

Milam's vision includes a greenway people can use to get to and from school, work and shopping.

"We currently don't have a timeline or the funding for those projects, but as we look into the future, it helps us know which trail sections to plan for," Milam said.

New connections will benefit recreation as well. 

Ann Scheunemann uses the House Creek Trail for her morning run. "It's pretty and calming and soothing running between the trees instead of on the road," she said. 

And an expanded greenway would mean new routes for her to explore. "I've got a nice, 20-mile loop," she said. "I run marathons, so it'll be nice to expand my horizons."

In the immediate future, Raleigh will use bond money to repair and maintain existing greenway trails and to expand the greenway from Crabtree Creek to Umstead State Park. 

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