Tell US DOT that bicyclists’ safety counts.

Sign Our Petition & Help Support Our Rails-With-Trails Resolution

Then get your organization or local government to write a letter of support for our rails-with-trails resolution (PDF). As of August, 2011, 31 organizations have signed on, along with over nearly 1300 individuals. Also see our RailsWithTrails.Com information site.

Please sign our rails-with-trails petition.

Rail with trail, & crossing

The Virginia Bicycling Federation, along with 25 national, state and local organizations has endorsed a resolution asking Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine to support rails with trails along all major rail projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

With concerns for the environment, the economy, and the ability to maintain our Interstate highway system, government is looking at railroads as a key component of our transportation infrastructure for the twenty-first century. Railroads are experiencing an unprecedented level of interest and expansion.

By investing in upgraded infrastructure, government is helping rail companies to improve their levels of service for freight, passenger and multimodal transportation. Upgraded railways will help reduce the number of cars and trucks on our roads, and decrease air pollution, energy use, and wear and tear to our highways. The Virginia Bicycling Federation supports this effort.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has already invested over $60 million in rail projects in Virginia. Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation are seeking billions more state and federal dollars to complete these projects.

Current upgrades include the Crescent Corridor which travels from New Orleans to the Ports of New Jersey. This Crescent Corridor splits in Birmingham, Alabama, with a branch routed along the I-81 corridor in the Shenandoah Valley through Roanoke; and another branch traveling east of the Blue Ridge through Danville, Lynchburg, and Charlottesville, ending in Manassas.

Also being upgraded is the Heartland Corridor, which would connect the Port of Portsmouth with Chicago, following the Route 460 corridor through Southside Virginia.

The Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor would connect Washington DC, Richmond Virginia, and Raleigh North Carolina.

Crescent, Heartland, and Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridors

The Virginia Bicycling Federation believes that citizens and taxpayers deserve to benefit directly from these massive government expenditures.

The Resolution asks Governor Kaine to ensure that as these railroad projects are planned and implemented, bike and pedestrian accommodations, rails with trails, are included as a required and integral part of these projects.

Including multi-modal facilities in all transportation projects is consistent with both State and Federal transportation policy.

Rails-with-trails have proven to be a safe and viable way to offer true multimodal accommodations, and provide facilities for people to walk and cycle throughout their communities.

There are currently 1,184 miles of open trails among 142 different rails with trails projects throughout the United States. Another 75 projects are underway, which will add 905 additional miles of trails when completed.

These projects provide transportation alternatives, promote healthy lifestyles, and encourage exercise in an increasingly obese population. Trails also encourage economic development and tourism.

Asking for these facilities while in their early planning stages is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create thousands of miles of trails connecting communities throughout Virginia and the United States.

Current supporters of the resolution include:

Adventure Cycling Association
Alliance for Biking and Walking
BikeWalk Virginia
Blue Ridge Bicycle Club of VA
Capital Region Land Conservancy
Cycor Sports
East Coast Greenway Alliance
Franklin Freewheelers
Friends of the Rivers of Virginia
International Mountain Biking Association
League of American Bicyclists
Nelson Bicycling Alliance
New River Bicycle Club of VA
Pathways for Radford
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Richmond Area Bicycling Association
Richmond Pro Cycling
Rivanna Trails Foundation
Rockbridge Area Conservation Council
Three Notched Trail Foundation
Tidewater Bicycle Association
Virginia Bicycling Federation
Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail Foundation
Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club
Virginia Conservation Network
Williamsburg Area Bicyclists

Support This Resolution

Download a copy of the Rails-With-Trails Resolution (PDF), and get your organization to write a brief letter of support — your bike club, hiking or birdwatching group, scout troop, church, school, PTA/PTO, university, neighborhood association, town, city, or county. Send your letter of support to VBF at the address listed on the resolution. You an also download copies of our press release, and this article (PDF), to print and hand out at meetings and get-togethers, leave in your local coffee shop, etc.

Sign Our Online Petition

Individuals can also sign our online rails-with-trails petition. Please link to it, share it, and help spread the word about it.

More Information

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4 comments… add one

  • IS TRAIN NOISE A DETERRENT?
    I’ve never ridden on a rail-trail but I wonder whether the train noise would discourage recreational riding. For example, that might freak out at least one of my kids (all under 9).

    Anyone have experience on this or any quantification of how much recreational use such trails get. (My google-fu failed to find any info on this).

  • INCREMENTAL COST ?

    Any idea of the incremental cost of adding a rail-trail whilst working on the adjacent track?

    I think it would be valuable “ammo” for the legislators to have that as a cost compared to constructing a trail independently. E.g., if you can show that such a trail costs 1/2 as much that’s a pretty big efficiency. An argument for “if you’re ever going to do it, do it NOW”. Even with the cost of borrowing the money from future generations, that 50% (hypothetical) discount pays for 10 years of interest. AND we get to use the trail 10 years sooner.

  • Clay,

    There is very active north-south, CSX, rail corridor in Central VA with 30+ trains per day. This corridor runs through the middle of Ashland, VA along Center Street. The tracks are literally 40 inches from the street.

    I can’t say how your children will react but I can tell you this; when I see children walking down the sidewalk in Ashland as a train passes through, the usual reaction is complete fascination and glee. (And the little ones aren’t the only ones smiling!)

    The good news is that you can hear the trains coming a long way off so I think a parent has time to prepare their little ones. (Best of all, the trains are normally gone in 3 or 4 minutes and it’s back to peace and tranquility. So 95% of the time, this is a non-issue.)

    As far as your second question, you make a great point; there are clearly shared benefits and savings from shared engineering, environmenatl impact analysis, acquiring land, shared legal costs, concurrent construction, etc. by combining the rail and trail projects at the same time. Though I don’t know the exact percentage saved, I’m sure the savings are significant.

    Though it hasn’t been mentioned, by building rails with trails along these corridors, the railroads also benefit by getting, essentially, a free access road they can use to work on and maintain their rails. Yet another reason we all benefit by these projects.

  • The Emanuel Freeman Family has owned property in the Halifax Va area for over 110 years. This Historical and influential family has been established with a name and legacy Our great great grandfather was Emanuel Freeman Sr.The Freeman family would love to be included in having the Rail To Trails connected through our property for the bike trails located in a land lock position in Halifax Va next to the Historical Clarkston bridge. We also want to be involed with the Heritage Tourismn site on the Dan river where our property is also.We own property right next to the Clarkston Plantation and the beautiful Clarkston bridge.The Clark family and the Freeman family have been neighbors for yearsThe history of the Freeman Family is extensive and our affluential family has owned sucessful businesses for over 110 years in Halifax Va. Today The Freeman Family owns a Farm with the Freeman historical legacy attached.We look forward to working with this program and many future endeavors.

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