Eagle Scouts Create The Summit Park Line Path

Eagle Scout candidate Henry Lord, with the help of other scouts and scout leaders create the phase one path of the Summit Park Line Saturday, April 22nd by spreading gravel over the path to maintain it and prevent overgrowth. Scout masters Keith Halper and Terry Dwyer, Frank Friedel and other volunteers pitched-in, for the community effort. Phase one of the Park Line will make a linear park connection between Broad Street and Morris Ave with a view of the NYC skyline in the distance.

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David Burwell, who saw bike paths where trains once ran, passes away at 69

David Burwell, the co-founder and first president of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a Washington-based organization that has led nationwide efforts to convert thousands of miles of unused railroad corridors to trails and parklands, died Feb. 1 at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 69.

He had complications from acute myeloid leukemia, said his wife, Irene Burwell.

Inspired in part by his mother, who helped create an 11-mile bike trail on Cape Cod, Mass., Mr. Burwell was instrumental in building a national movement to preserve green space and to provide options for alternative modes of transportation.

As thousands of miles of old railroad lines were abandoned each year, some communities across the country remade them as paths for bicycling and nature walks. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which Mr. Burwell founded in 1986 with Peter Harnik, became the first group to coordinate national efforts to build such a network.

“It was David who turned ‘rails-to-trails’ from an idea with very good potential into a powerful national force backed by firm legal standing, true political muscle and undeniable financial backing,” Harnik said in a statement released by the conservancy.

The organization was launched with a $75,000 grant from environmental advocate Laurance Rockefeller, who called Mr. Burwell “a fireball of energy and determination and talent.”

Mr. Burwell and Harnik persuaded officials from the Interstate Commerce Commission to develop regulations that eased the conversion of old rail lines to trails. With his training as a lawyer, Mr. Burwell helped untangle thorny right-of-way ownership issues across the country.

In the beginning, the rails-to-trails coalition fought road builders and other entrenched interests before it could claim a place as part of the nation’s surface transportation network.

“The idea of turning unused lines into a vibrant resource unites many people — hiking clubs, cyclists, wildlife advocates, political types who are community-oriented,” Mr. Burwell told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1997. “But you get long, skinny parks, cutting across several jurisdictions. Such things fall through the cracks of conventional government. Who has the current title? Who’ll fund the trail, who winds up managing it? That’s where we arrive, to provide expertise.”

In 1991, the conservancy won a major battle with the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), which mandated that a small portion of federal highway funds be reserved for projects other than paved roads. That money helped groups buy old railroad property, rip up the tracks or build new trails alongside existing rail lines.

Today, often in conjunction with the National Park Service, the conservancy has helped build more than 2,000 trails on more than 22,000 miles of rail corridors in all 50 states and the District. Another 8,000 miles of trails are in the planning stage. The longest trail, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, stretches 253 miles in the state of Washington.

David Gates Burwell was born Sept. 14, 1947, in Boston and grew up largely in Falmouth and Woods Hole, Mass. His father was a doctor. His mother spent more than a decade spearheading the Shining Sea Bikeway, the rail-trail on Cape Cod.

Mr. Burwell received a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College in 1969 and a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1973. He practiced law in Boston and Vermont before working for a public interest advocacy group in Massachusetts.

He came to Washington in the late 1970s to work on transportation issues for the National Wildlife Federation. He stepped down as president of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 2001 to found the Surface Transportation Policy Project. He later worked as a consultant on transportation, the environment and urban policy before directing the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 2010 to 2014.

His first marriage, to Elizabeth Hennings, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 16 years, the former Irene Ovchinnikova of Bethesda; her son, Victor Ovchinnikov, whom he adopted, of Watertown, Mass.; a sister and brother; and two granddaughters.

“My dream,” Mr. Burwell told a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy publication in 2006, “is that one day you could go across this entire country — old or young, handicapped or able — on flat, wide, off-road paths. I want rail-trails to be America’s main street.”

 

 

Center For Active Design: The Importance Of Execution

Assembly: Shaping Space for Civic Life

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The Center for Active Design (CfAD) is leading a pioneering initiative to understand how place-based design informs a range of civic engagement outcomes: civic trust, participation in public life, stewardship of the public realm, and informed local voting. The findings will be translated into practical design strategies and disseminated in an upcoming publication known as Assembly: Shaping Space for Civic Life. Assembly will serve as a groundbreaking resource for city leaders and designers who seek to strengthen their communities by harnessing design to support civic life. This work is generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and guided by a diverse, multi-disciplinary advisory committee.

Read about incredible applications of active design & their effects.

How Did An Obese City Lose A Million Pounds?

February 6, 20158:44 AM ET

Heard on TED Radio Hour

About Mick Cornett's TED Talk

Mayor Mick Cornett realized that, to make Oklahoma City a great place to live, it had to become healthier and cope with gluttony. He explains step-by-step how the city dropped a collective million pounds. Read summary.

 

 

A Glorified Sidewalk, and the Path to Transform Atlanta

By RICHARD FAUSSET

SEPTEMBER 11, 2016

ATLANTA — Could this traffic-clogged Southern city, long derided as the epitome of suburban sprawl, really be discovering its walkable, bike-friendly, density-embracing, streetcar-riding, human-scale soul?

The answer is evident in the outpouring of affection that residents here have showered on the Atlanta BeltLine, which aims to convert 22 miles of mostly disused railway beds circling the city’s urban core into a biking and pedestrian loop, a new streetcar line, and a staggeringly ambitious engine of urban revitalization.

Even though just a small fraction of the loop trail has been completed, Atlantans, in one of the purer expressions of America’s newly rekindled romance with city life, have already passionately embraced the project. And like any budding romance, it is full of high hopes — for an Atlanta that is more racially integrated, less congested and, in a change refreshing to many here, more focused on improving the lives of residents rather than just projecting a glittering New South image to the rest of the world.

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The High Line's 'Halo Effect' On Property

The High Line's 'Halo Effect' On Property

 

Prices of apartments along the High Line have gotten a measurable boost from their proximity to the popular West Chelsea park. Photo: Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal By Josh Barbanel Aug. 7, 2016 6:22 p.m. ET The High Line enthralls thousands of tourists every day who walk through its mix of industrial ruins and flowers on track beds above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. But new data show that this aerial park has also helped transform real-estate values for apartment owners in the surrounding blocks since its first section opened in 2009. Resale values of properties already nearby rose a cumulative 10 percentage points faster than areas only a few blocks farther away. It is the “High Line’s halo effect,” according to the report by real-estate website StreetEasy, the first in a series of studies it is planning on the impact of New York City icons on their neighborhoods. While resale prices in many other Manhattan neighborhoods have been tapering off, the report said they have continued to rise near the High Line. ENLARGE A pedestrian photographs 245 Tenth Ave. along the High Line. Photo: Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal Twenty apartments there have sold for $10 million or more since 2009. The median price of condos above 20th Street in the High Line neighborhood topped $6 million in the 12 months ending in May, mainly because of sales at 500 West 21st St. along the High Line. More are on the way: 11 developments with 155 apartments are under construction, and nine more are planned with 751 apartments or hotel rooms, according to Halstead Property Development Marketing. “Pricing exceeded a lot of people’s expectations,” said Stephen Kliegerman, president of the Halstead firm. Condo prices have risen to between $2,000 and $3,000 a square foot from about $1,000 in 2009, he said, and the units have become more elaborate in their architecture and finishes. The High Line was part of a larger development effort that included the 2005 rezoning of West Chelsea, then a decaying industrial area that had begun to attract art galleries. The rezoning preserved some older industrial buildings and allowed residential development in others. It allowed the transfer of air rights along the High Line and offered bonuses for creating stair and elevator access to the planned park. StreetEasy’s study used a proprietary price index to track repeat sales at the first two sections of the High Line that were built. The first, south of West 20th Street, opened in 2009, and the second, extending north to West 30th Street, opened two years later. The third section, from West 30th to West 34th streets, opened in 2014. Resale prices of homes bordering the first section rose by 8.9% more than those two blocks east, while resale prices bordering the second section rose 12.8% more. At the Spears Building on West 22nd Street, an 1893 manufacturing structure converted to condominium lofts a century later, apartment 3E’s floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the High Line. The 1,600-square-foot apartment sold for about $350,000 in 1997, but by 2008, when the High Line was under construction, it sold for $2.2 million. In March, it sold again for $3.15 million, a 40% premium since 2008. “The High Line changed the dynamic of the neighborhood,” said Michael Chapman, a broker at Stribling & Associates who represented the sellers in the most recent sale, “making it more accessible to more people.” Now there are more restaurants and services coming to the neighborhood, he said, while it “still has that kind of hipness of the West Chelsea area.” Some of the resale buildings included in the High Line study are luxury condos that went up under the new zoning at the height of the real-estate boom. At Highline 519 on West 23rd Street, an eighth-floor apartment sold for $2.85 million in 2014, up 16% from its first sale in 2007. Leonard Steinberg, president of Compass, a Manhattan brokerage, said that the potential value of real estate near the High Line hasn’t yet been realized. That will come, he said, when Hudson Yards, at the northern end of the park, is complete. “West Chelsea hasn’t been completely bracketed yet,” he said. “People have to be a little more patient. The upside to West Chelsea is not realized.” Write to Josh Barbanel at josh.barbanel@wsj.com

 

Union News Daily: Rails to trails for train tracks in Summit

Union News Daily: Rails to trails for train tracks in Summit

UNION COUNTY, NJ — According to Union County’s Master Plan, Summit has made it a priority to fund a green pathway that would serve both recreational and commuter purposes.

Summit’s Robert Rubino has envisioned converting an abandoned railway into the city’s own Highline Park. The land to be converted to the Highline used to be the right-of-way for the Raritan Valley Railroad....Read full story.

Summit High Line "Crown Jewel"

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SUMMIT — There’s an abandoned railroad line running through Summit and Council President Robert Rubino has a vision about what it could become — Summit’s own Highline.

During her “State of the City” address, Mayor Ellen Dickson, predicted the “Summit Highline initiative will be a crown jewel in a trail system in Summit.”

The land to be used for the Highline was once the right of way for the Raritan Valley Railroad. The state hired the Morristown and Erie Railway to restore the line to connect Staten Island to the national rail network through an interchange in Cranford and a junction in Summit. In the end, there was significant opposition to the project and the line was essentially abandoned in 2012.

About one mile of the railroad lies in Summit between Briant Park and Salerno Duane on Broad Street.