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Thread: Trails on utility rights of way

  1. #1
          Downtown's avatar
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    Trails on utility rights of way

    About 5 years ago, we built a new park that utilized a high transmission power line right of way to connect two portions of the park to each other with a recreational path.


    Recently, our local utility provider (Niagara Mohawk) was absorbed into National Grid, who is notoriously difficult to work with. We're hoping to work with them on another project, and are looking for additional examples of where building a trail on a utility ROW has been successful and mutually beneficial for both the muni and the utility.

    I was just curious if anyone else had any experience or advice about this issue.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    From the American Trails website:

    Safe management of power line trails
    http://www.americantrails.org/resour...werLineBC.html

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    You could contact City of Modesto, CA (parks dept). They have a parks trail system that includes the Hetch Hetchy trail on a irrigation canal owned by one of the irrigation districts and also a trail by Standiford Ave that runs under powerlines. http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/prnd/

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I currently have a proposed multi-use trail project on an abanonded railroad corridor that's now owned by National Grid in Massachusetts. We haven't yet sat down and discussed our plans with the utility yet, but have heard they are tough to deal with.

    I assume we'll pursue a 99-year recreation lease (with liability waivers) for the town and design the path wide enough so the utility's trucks could access their utility poles for maintenance, etc.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    According to our Comprehensive Plan update, our community will be "investigating" using utility ROW as trails.

    Many people seem to think it would be very difficult and people with powerline easements in their backyards would not be keen on the idea. I think it would be really cool if we could make it work.
    Last edited by graciela; 09 Nov 2007 at 12:01 PM. Reason: oopsie

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Indiana example is the Calumet Trail -
    http://www.indianatrails.org/Calumet.htm

    Description: Trail parallels US12 just to the north, and runs along the south side of Indiana Dunes State Park. The trail is built on a Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) right of way running parallel with the active South Shore railroad tracks.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    There is a developing area on Appleton's far northeast side that includes public trails that were built along natural gas pipeline RsOW.

    Mike

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Our community recently completed a license agreement with the local utility to maintain public access and pave our formerly gravel recreational trail.

    The utility was not the fastest organization and they did ask for a lot of supporting documention. The utility remained supportive of the concept of providing recreational opportunities throughout our discussions with them. The main concern the utility had centered around public safety and conflict with line trucks.

    A couple of items we needed to keep in mind:
    1)width and thickness of pavement in order to support the size and weight of utility vehicles.
    2)routing and signage to deter users away from larger generator/equipment areas were line trucks entered and exited.

    Lastly, I would suggest that you check to see if any cell phone carriers are located along the utility ROW. You may want to see if your design specs work for the cell companies but also ask to see if they may be supportive ($$$) of improving access to their facilities.

    A good example of muni and utility cooperation is:
    http://www.interurbantrail.us/

  9. #9
          Downtown's avatar
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    Ah - thank you SO much guys.

    And Greenescapist - let me know how it goes with NG. I've heard they'll make us long for the days of Niagara Mohawk. :sigh:

  10. #10
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
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    I just looked at an application for trail funding through the Transportation Ehancement program and the City of Portage, Michigan, Parks Department is looking to develop a trail within a utility corridor operated by Consurmers Energy.

    The City has done this before and Consumers Energy has been open to allowing trail development on their corridors in other parts of the state.

    You could contact the City of Portage or the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance ( contact info at www.michgiantrails.org ). MTGA may have some resources and info that could be useful.

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