A community trail network is an excellent community asset that promotes recreation. But the real value lies in the ability to make those communities more walkable.
In other words, nice as the trails are, they are even better if they go somewhere.
That’s why it’s good to hear that the city of Franklin is planning a new trail along Jefferson Street. The trail would begin near the intersection of State Road 144/Westview Drive and extend on both sides of the street to just west of Fairground Street.
Construction on the $1.5 million project is expected to begin in 2019, city engineer Travis Underhill said. However, design work will begin shortly.
Plans are to build a trail on the south side of the road, and a sidewalk on the north side of the road.
A new bridge would be built over a creek near Tracy Miles Road. And monuments between 3 feet and 10 feet tall are planned along the trail, according to the project description.
The project will help address both improving the look of entrances into the city and adding more walkable routes through the city. Underhill said the trail also would help students walk and bike to Creekside Elementary School, St. Rose of Lima School and Custer Baker Intermediate School.
The project is planned to be paid for with $1.2 million in federal funding and $300,000 from the city, Underhill said.
When this new segment is added to others planned or already in existence, a pedestrian or bicyclist will be able to travel from the east side of the city at Interstate 65 to the west side. Once northside paths are completed, Franklin will have a comprehensive system that well might be the envy of many communities.
We’ve long been supportive of community trails. They are an asset that benefits existing residents and is attractive to prospective ones. We commend Franklin on its continuing commitment to its trail network and a willingness to expand its broad utility, offering and even encouraging people to use the trails rather than driving.
Community trails are more effective when they link places users want to go.
By building a trail along West Jefferson Street, Franklin is broadening its network in a way that will encourage people to use them in place of driving.