ANNAPOLIS IS BEGINNING construction of Spa Creek Trail, a 1.5 mile path that will link the West Street corridor with Truxtun Park. This is a key link of a planned 40-mile hiker-biker trail network that will tie together open spaces and enable residents and visitors to get around the city without their automobiles.
The Annapolis system of pathways was first proposed in master plan a decade ago. The plan's major goal was to link public recreational spaces -- parks, waterfronts, stream valleys -- with pedestrian trails and bike paths.
Annapolis currently has a uncoordinated collection of foot paths, sidewalks, striped bikeways on streets and unmarked short cuts. The plan envisioned a network that took advantage of many these existing paths but added a few crucial links that would enable a person to walk or bike from one end of the state capital to the other. If all goes according to plan, Annapolis' trail system will be completed in about five years.
This off-street trail network could easily become an alternative transportation system for people who live and work in the city. Instead of using their cars for work and errands, some people might choose to walk, bike or skate instead. Not only will they have a much more pleasant trip, they will also help to relieve some of the city's growing traffic congestion.
Federal transportation funds -- authorized by the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which diverted a portion of highway trust money to alternative transportation projects -- are paying for half of the $895,000 cost of Spa Creek Trail. City and state money will finance construction of other sections. Annapolis' system of paths will ultimately link up with the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail.
Some Maryland communities have resisted these trails, believing linear parks will attract undesirables to their neighborhoods.
But existing pathways have put many of those fears to rest. The popularity of the B&A Trail through the northern half of Anne Arundel County continues to swell. Any suggestion of converting a portion of trail for eventual extension of the Central Light Rail Line triggers loud protest. In all likelihood, the success of that county trail probably eased the way for the creation of Annapolis' system.
Pub Date: 8/14/97