Safety a top priority for pedestrian and bicycle greenways in Birmingham

Safety a top priority for pedestrian and bicycle greenways in Birmingham

HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - Nishant Bradham thought about the violence in Manhattan as he completed his afternoon run at the Shades Creek Greenway in Homewood.

"It's terrible," Bradham said.

But it doesn't raise fears about running on a pedestrian and bike designated greenway like the one where a suspected terrorist claimed eight lives Tuesday afternoon in New York. In fact, Bradham said peace and quiet lure him to this trail each day.

"That's what I've got here. Even late at night, after finishing my run, I'm still very safe," he said.

Landscape architect Jane Reed Ross of Goodwin Mills and Cawood said safety is a top priority for the designs she works on.

"We want our facilities to be safe," Ross said.

When she saw the attack happened on a pedestrian/bike trail in New York, it upset her.

"I hated it," she said. "I also wanted to look and see what were the elements of the greenway."

She pointed to industry standards on trails in Birmingham as a key way to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe.

Permanent bollards, the short metal or concrete poles that block plazas and pedestrian trails, are common at popular locations like Shades Creek Greenway, Railroad Park and Rotary Trail.

In addition, Ross said landscaping and light posts can provide protective barriers.

The Red Rock Trail coordinator for Fresh Water Land Trust agreed with Ross' examples.

"We have 77 miles of off-road greenways or hiking trails," Carolyn Buck said. "We want to make sure people feel comfortable to use these facilities. They are for the people and we know safety is a concern they have and we make sure to plan for it."

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