Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (SFPC) was selected for a subplanning demonstration project to design safe, pedestrian/cyclist access points to Shelby Farms Park (SFP) and Shelby Farms Greenline (SFG). The project idea stemmed from the efforts of the Avon Neighborhood’s advocacy in 2011. The neighbors raised money and support to commission a preliminary concept plan for a neighborhood entrance to the SFG. This came right after the SFG was installed and the need has just grown ever since. SFPC staff knew the same would occur along the future SFG and decided to plan ahead and design access along the 4.5-mile SFG East Extension. SFPC staff assessed the need along the current SFG and saw gaps in access along the future SFG E. Extension. From this research, SFPC chose four priority access points: Perkins Road, Shelby Place, Appling Rd and Gameday Baseball. Ritchie Smith Associates (RSA) partnered with SFPC on the project, taking the designs started with the Avon Neighborhood a few years prior to Design Development and design access at the three other locations.
The goals and objectives for the access study are:
- Provide safe connections between Shelby Farms Greenline and adjacent neighborhoods
- Increase property values in neighborhoods adjacent to Shelby Farms Park + Greenline by providing access to recreational opportunities and green space
- Strengthen communities through enhanced social interaction provided by increased access to green space
- Positively affect public health through increased access to opportunities for exercise and active lifestyles
- Increase community support through close collaboration with neighborhood stakeholders potentially affected by enhanced neighborhood access
- Develop design documents for 4 neighborhood access points at strategic locations on the SFG—one on the existing 6.5-mile SFG and three on the planned 4.3-mile SFG Eastern Extension
- Engage with appropriate neighborhood associations and other stakeholders to garner public input and buy-in for plans to increase access to SFG and SFP
- Develop an outreach strategy for informing and attracting potential trail-users from target communities
The first priority for funding and constructing is the Perkins Rd. Access. It has the most community momentum behind it and connects to the current Greenline. There is also great need as the access point is eroding, unsafe, and along a 2.5 mile stretch where there is not an at-grade, official bike/ped access to the SFG.
The Appling Rd. Access point is the second priority as there is strong neighborhood support and need behind this link to SFP and SFG. There is currently no bike/ped access for people north of the Park except at Farm Rd. and Mullins Station Rd.
The third priority is two proposed access points at the Gameday Baseball complex. SFPC will pursue both if the Fischer Steel area develops as is laid out in the Fischer Steel Design Plan done in 2009. SFPC would partner with Gameday Baseball to fund the access point that links directly into Gameday Baseball’s parking lot. This is more of a connection between two nodes of outdoor recreation and less of a connection to other cycling/pedestrian routes.