Freshwater Land Trust (FLT) is releasing its much-anticipated Red Rock Action Plan outlining the next phase of the Red Rock Trail System®: a 36-mile trail loop consisting of seven priority trail projects to connect the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan Area within the next fifteen years. By joining Ruffner Mountain in the east through Railroad Park downtown to Red Mountain Park in the west, this loop will yield 19 new trail miles, connecting the Cities of Birmingham, Fairfield, Homewood, and Irondale, along with other cities previously included in the trail system.
On August 22, FLT will host a press conference at FLT’s office, 3501 1st Avenue South, Suite 201-A at 8:30 a.m. with the mayors of each of the involved cities to officially announce the Red Rock Action Plan: Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Mayor Eddie Penny of Fairfield, Mayor James D. Stewart of Irondale, and Mayor Patrick McClusky of Homewood.
The Red Rock Trail System® is a master plan of existing and proposed future trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, and parks throughout Jefferson County, totaling 750 miles, which was developed in 2010 by FLT in partnership with the Jefferson County Department of Health. The goal of the Red Rock Trail System® is to connect every resident to a trail or greenspace within one mile of their home. In June, FLT reached the milestone of 129 miles constructed with the addition of two miles to the popular Five Mile Creek Greenway in North Jefferson County. Over 2.5 million visitors use the trail system each year; the Hugh Kaul Trail, which opened in April 2022, already has over 350 users per day.
The Red Rock Action Plan was developed in consultation with FLT and local stakeholders by Alta Design + Planning of Portland, Oregon, a national leader in trail and infrastructure planning. In addition to the seven priority trail projects outlined in the plan (labeled as Corridors A-G), the Red Rock Action Plan contains a health, transportation, and economics benefit analysis, which estimates that the 36-mile loop will yield almost $25 million in those benefits annually.
The release comes shortly after U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell announced that the City of Birmingham has been awarded a $21,681,306 grant from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to support the “Birmingham Civil Rights Crossroads: Reconnecting Historic Neighborhoods Through Active Mobility” project, which incorporates Corridor A from the Red Rock Action Plan. This project will include an urban trail that will connect City Walk BHAM to Morris Avenue and 20th Street to Legion Field, revitalizing and celebrating the Smithfield neighborhood, the west side of Birmingham, and the Civil Rights District. The funding is part of DOT’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant Program and will specifically be used to redevelop approximately 2.5-miles of road with a complete streets approach, including a two-way cycle track, improved ADA access, sidewalks, and other universal design elements.
The seven Red Rock Action Plan corridors are, as follows:
- Corridor A (Smithfield to Downtown) connects Smithfield, historically cut off by I-65, to downtown Birmingham. The corridor also goes through the historic Black Merchant District (4th Avenue) and connects downtown Birmingham to Legion Field.
- Corridor B (20th Street) connects downtown Birmingham to Kiwanis Vulcan Trail and corrects vehicular and pedestrian safety issues.
- Corridor C (Red Mountain Park to UAB) connects Red Mountain Park to Kiwanis Vulcan Trail and UAB. Additionally, it reconnects Titusville to downtown Birmingham.
- Corridor D (High Ore Line to Valley Creek Rail-to-Trail) connects the existing High Ore Line Greenway via Fairfield and Midfield to the Valley Creek Rail-to-Trail and will connect to Miles College via a trail spur.
- Corridor E (Ruffner Mountain Rail Trail) connects downtown Birmingham and Woodlawn to Ruffner Mountain.
- Corridor F (Irondale to Jemison) connects Ruffner Mountain to Jemison Park via a new trail in development along Shades Creek.
- Corridor G (Red Mountain to Shades Creek) connects Red Mountain Park to Shades Creek and the Jemison Greenway.
FLT conserves, connects, and cares for land and water in Central Alabama, creating dynamic green spaces for future generations. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FLT works in Bibb, Blount, Choctaw, Coosa, Dallas, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, and Walker counties. Since 1996, FLT has worked to conserve lands that are critical to protecting rivers and streams and that provide outdoor recreational opportunities for local communities. Learn more at freshwaterlandtrust.org.
More information: https://freshwaterlandtrust.org/