Orchestra Partners and REV Birmingham have partnered to launch The Parkside Trail, a temporary conversion of First Avenue South into a car-free, multi-use trail modeled after The Open Streets Project.
The Parkside Trail
Every Saturday and Sunday through the end of May, the First Avenue South corridor between 12th Street and 20th Street is closed to vehicles and becomes a multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists. Since launching the trail on May 2, Orchestra Partners and REV Birmingham have been working with local retailers and restaurants to install pop-up activations along The Parkside Trail to reinforce walkability and provide businesses with more opportunities to generate revenue.
Founded in 2011, The Open Streets Project is a celebration of walkers, runners and cyclists taking back the streets from vehicles and demonstrating the demand for multi-modal infrastructure across the country. Forward-thinking cities such as Denver, Des Moines, Minneapolis and Oakland have recently implemented successful Open Street models to promote public health and safety during COVID-19.
Following the lead of these and other Open Streets concepts, The Parkside Trail, a natural western extension of the Rotary Trail, is not just a temporary relief measure during the pandemic, but a trial for a potential long-term solution for a safer, more walkable urban district.
Introducing slower, pedestrian and bike-friendly streets has been a goal of city stakeholders like Orchestra Partners and REV Birmingham for years, and the pandemic has only increased the urgency to make Birmingham streets safer and more spacious for non-motorists. The project is being supported by the City of Birmingham Department of Transportation and the Birmingham Police Department to ensure public safety is a top priority. City officials urge residents to continue abiding by the City’s face mask ordinance and follow CDC social distancing guidelines. Partners have installed educational signage and street paint in six-foot increments to guide social distancing.
The Parkside Trail is a timely extension of Orchestra Partner’s vision to transform the district into Birmingham’s central hub of connectivity, with mixed-use redevelopment plans slated for the historic Powell Avenue Steam Plant and soon to be developed Urban Supply District in the blocks immediately west of Regions Field.
To enhance these connections, Orchestra Partners continues to work with Freshwater Land Trust to leverage the Red Rock Trail System as a pathway of connection between Birmingham’s central business district and surrounding neighborhoods. Connecting with the Rotary Trail at 20th Street, The Parkside Trail extends from the east to the west end of the Parkside District and is helping educate more citizens on the benefits of trails.
Participating businesses thus far include Steel City Pops, Redemptive Cycles, Faith Skate and Infinite Soaps as well as brick-and-mortar Parkside tenants Hero Doughnuts, Red Cat Coffee, Good People Brewing and Tortugas Pizza. The Parkside Trail will continue to be open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. through May 31.
Free public parking is available in the Urban Supply parking lot at the corner of 13th Street and First Avenue South.
For more information, visit www.parksidebham.com.
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