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American Society of Landscape Architects


June 2004 Issue

Winning with Rail Trails
Award winners suggest guidelines for trail planning and design.

By Jim Donovan, ASLA, and Hugh Morris

Winning with Rail Trails
Luoni Gold Design Studio

Rail trails continue to grow in popularity around the country and the world, with over 1,200 open for use in the United States and another 1,200 under development. These bicycle and pedestrian trails, built on former railroad alignments, pass through urban, suburban, and rural landscapes and are used for both transportation and recreation. They frequently serve as a community economic engine. Rail trails typically must address at least some, if not all, significant design issues and can provide exciting opportunities for designers.

Winners of the TrailLink 2003 Rail-Trail Design Recognition Awards, cosponsored by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and ASLA, provide excellent examples of how design points can be creatively addressed. RTC and ASLA developed this award program to promote creative and innovative designs of rail trails that will inspire future trail designers and communities.

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