Capital City Greenway Plan
Top 10 Planning Events in North Carolina
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of City and Regional Planning (1946-2006), members of the NC Chapter of the American Planning Association were asked to make nominations for a top ten list. Over fifty entries were received, constituting an impressive list of events, plans, and programs from which to choose. The Spring issue of Carolina Planning Magazine reported the conclusion reached by David Godschalk FAICP, Wes Hankins FAICP, and Michelle Nance AICP who had the responsibility of assessing which had and continue to have lasting impact on North Carolina communities, citizens, and planning profession.
Raleigh’s Capital City Greenway Plan, now known as the Capital Area Greenway, was among the top ten planning events celebrated in the article. It joined the first Historic District Zoning (Old Salem), establishment of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, creation of the Research Triangle Park, passage of the Coastal Area Management Act, and others to fill out the list.
In recognizing the Capital City Greenway Plan the article cited Charles E. Little’s finding in his 1991 book Greenways for America that it: “is thought to be the earliest comprehensive local greenway system in the country”. Finally it concludes that it is significant because it jump-started the greenway movement in North Carolina and became a model used by organizations and governmental agencies throughout the state and country. To that end, the role of the Triangle Greenways Council was mentioned for its promotion of the greenway concept over the past twenty-five years.
While greenways may have germinated and taken root in Raleigh, they are now growing throughout the region. As segments interconnect into systems, the systems will interconnect into networks. Statewide initiatives such as the Mountains to See Trail, and interstate initiatives such as the East Coast Greenway will interconnect. The proposed High Speed Rail project is even considering the potential for a non-motorized trail within the corridor between Richmond and Raleigh. Clearly, the greenway concept of providing for multiple public benefits within interconnected and integrated linear open space corridors is alive and well, and only limited by the will to take advantage of opportunities.