Beyond Greenways: The Next Step for City Trails and Walking Routes (Paperback)

Beyond Greenways: The Next Step for City Trails and Walking Routes By Robert Searns Cover Image
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If your doorstep were a trailhead, how would you experience your city? With this newfound freedom, you might head in a new direction—walk to a restaurant in an area you’ve never explored, begin to savor your daily walk to work, or set out with a daypack to the city edges for fresh air and nature. Despite the known health benefits of routine walking, many people don’t have pleasant, safe places to walk. Too often, street networks have barriers—cul-de-sacs, freeways, or busy, dangerous-to-cross, arterials. Many lack sidewalks at all. There is a clear need for high-quality, readily accessible pedestrian infrastructure in and around urban areas.

In Beyond Greenways: The Next Step for City Trails and Walking Routes, greenways expert Robert Searns makes a case for walking infrastructure that serves a more diverse array of people. He builds on the legacy of boulevards, parkways, and greenways to introduce a next generation of more accessible pathways, wide enough for two people to stroll together, that stitch together urban and suburban areas. With more trails built near neighborhoods that haven’t had access to them, more people can get around on foot, in town or further out. Searns lays out practical advice on how to plan and design them, garner community support, and get them built. Drawing inspiration from the US and abroad, he introduces two models—grand loop trails and town walks. Grand loop trails are regional-scale, 20 to 350-mile systems that encircle metro areas, running along the edges where city meets countryside. Town walks are shorter—2 to 6-mile routes in cities. Throughout, Searns presents examples that embody these ideals, from Tucson’s Turquoise Trail, created by just two people with an idea and some left-over blue paint the city had, to a more deluxe 5-mile loop in Denver, to the Maricopa trail in Phoenix, a completed 315 mile grand loop. He also envisions these trails in new places across North America.

Planners, trail advocates, community leaders and those who just want closer-in places to hike or walk will find the tools they need to develop successful and affordable plans, including how to envision them to fit various settings and strategies for implementation. Now is the time to think beyond greenways, to pursue a legacy of accessible pedestrian routes for this, and future, generations.

About the Author

Robert Searns has a four-decade history of visualizing, planning, and getting trails and greenway projects built. He was Project Director of Denver’s Platte River and Mary Carter Greenways—both national-award-wining projects. He helped plan the Grand Canyon National Park Greenway, played a key role on the Memphis Wolf River Greenway, and authored the Commerce City, CO Walk, Bike, Fit Master Plan.  He co-authored Greenways: A Guide to Planning Design and Development (Island Press)—published in the U.S. and China—and contributed to Greenways: The Beginning of an International Movement (Elsevier Press). He has written for Planning, Landscape Architecture, LA China, and American Trails Magazines and has served as Editor-in-Chief of Trails and Beyond Magazine. He's been a keynote speaker in the U.S. and Asia and a trainer for the U.S. National Park Service and the Urban Land Institute. He chaired American Trails and was a founder of The World Trails Network as well as being a delegate to the America’s Great Outdoors White House conclave. He resides, writes, hikes and bikes near Denver, Colorado.

Praise For…

“This is a guide to envisioning, laying out, and promoting these routes and, in so doing realizing the benefits they offer—to facilitate, encourage, and enable more close-in walking, hiking, running, and trekking…. I really enjoyed reading this book. Searns' has a vision we can all get behind and one day we’ll be able to walk out our front door and head out walking on a trail. What a beautiful day that will be. I used to say ‘see you on the trail.’ Today I’m going to start saying ‘see you on your doorstep.’”
— American Trails

“Robert Searns, a trails and greenways planner, offers a fresh take on how to make cities more walkable. He calls for designing “grand loops” on the edges of cities and shorter “town walks,” which are “branded, in-town walking loops” that tie parks, civic spaces, and neighborhoods together. These kinds of trails support good urban design that puts pedestrians’ access to nature and street life first.”
— ASLA's The Dirt

"Bob Searns offers the prescription to treat what ails us: grand loops and town walks! He provides unique, practical insights on bringing walkability to absolutely everyone. He details an approach for communities of all sizes from urban metros to rural hamlets, including a focus on serving those residents who have been historically shut out of more costly and less accessible outdoor recreation."
— Mark Fenton, author of "The Complete Guide to Walking" and host of the PBS "America's Walking" series

"During the global pandemic, the importance of urban trails became clear. Walking became a lifeline for people, providing both psychological and physical benefits. Places like New York and San Francisco already had great walking infrastructure, but many cities had to adapt and needed a plan. Beyond Greenways is a terrific resource that can help students, designers, planners, communities, and elected officials advocate for urban parks and trails in their communities. Beyond being a design manual, the book provides important examples and exciting case studies of trails in different environments across North America."
— Susannah Drake, Principal Architect, Sasaki

"I am thrilled that Bob Searns, a seasoned trails specialist with over four decades of experience, was inspired by South Korea’s Jeju Olle and is introducing an exciting new vision for trails and walking routes.  I wholeheartedly recommend his new book."
— Suh Myung Sook, Founding CEO, The Jeju Olle Foundation
Product Details
ISBN: 9781642832631
ISBN-10: 1642832634
Publisher: Island Press
Publication Date: July 25th, 2023
Pages: 246
Language: English