Northwest Georgia Bikeway & Pedestrian Routes Study
Terry D. Reynolds, AICP, Ragan · Smith Associates, Inc.
Everyone is familiar with the Riverwalk, which extends from Chickamauga Dam south along the south edge of the Tennessee River well southwest of Downtown. A final link will connect it with the St. Elmo Greenway which extends almost to the TN-GA state line. Similarly, efforts are underway to complete all portions of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway from the Riverwalk southeast to Camp Jordan Park. These shared-use trails will facilitate bicycle and pedestrian travel in a wide arc, both of whose ends lie near the TN-GA state line. The program next week will present a feasibility study which was prepared to explore inter-connecting both ends of that arc across the southern part of the greater Chattanooga area as well as other proposed shared-use trails in Dade County, Walker County and Catoosa County and inter-connections between five study area municipalities.
As Terry reviewed the topography of the north-Georgia region near Chattanooga he pointed out that north-south ridges dominate the terrain with creeks running between each ridge. The ridges form natural barriers to accessible paths so some old railway beds might be used since they were originally chosen for their moderate gradients. The landmark Chickamauga Battlefield in the middle of the study area forms a political barrier since paths are to lead to it but not through it. And various charts of historical/cultural destination points and of population travel densities when overlaid on the geography began to point toward corridors. Some corridors can be connected into loops providing round-trip bike or hike paths.
Many other aspects were also taken into account: Marking and separation zones must be distinct for bicycles & pedestrians versus power vehicles. Incentives must be present for people to want the improvements and local governments to receive a return on their investment. And provision must be made not only to design & construct, but then to Own, Operate, Manage, & Maintain the facilities affordably for a long time.
For more info see the complete report at : http://www.nwgrc.org/publications/northwest-georgia-feasibility-study-for-bikeway-pedestrian-multi-use-trails/