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Current Status of the Birthplace of America Trail

Current Status of the Birthplace of America Trail

Graphic of the front of a bike with BOAT Trail Funding pie chart as the front tireFollowing the 2015 opening of the Virginia Capital Trail (VCT) joining Richmond and Jamestown, VDOT and HRTPO conducted planning to join the VCT to the eastern ends of the Peninsula and Southside.  The resulting “Birthplace of America Trail Study” (2017) evaluated prior bicycle and pedestrian plans and studies, considered potential route alternatives, and identified the recommended route for the Birthplace trail.  To further the construction of this trail, HRTPO staff prepared the recent report—“Current Status of the Birthplace of America Trail” (2019)—identifying segments as:

  1. Complete – defined as paved shared-use paths with a minimum width of 8 feet
  2. Interim – defined as sections where there are some existing facilities (e.g. shoulder or unpaved path)
  3. Funded – refers to sections which have identified funding sources and implementation schedules
  4. Unfunded – defined as the remaining sections

Given the transportation, health, and economic benefits of trails investigated in “Signature Paths in Hampton Roads” (HRTPO, 2016) and “Economic Impact of Bicycle Facilities in Hampton Roads” (HRTPO, 2019), the goal of this study is to draw the public’s attention to the first two types of segments to increase usage of them, and to draw government’s attention to the last two types of segments to increase the likelihood of completing the trail via joint highway-path projects or stand-alone projects.

HRTPO staff conducted map and field observations of all sections, placing information in a database to produce maps and charts showing the status of the trail by locality and in total.

Unfunded segments make up 83% of the overall trail, while 7% of the Birthplace Trail is made up of interim facilities. Complete sections of the trail and funded sections make up 5% of the trail each. Currently identified funding for construction of the Birthplace of America Trail totals $10.1 million.

Over the next several years, HRTPO staff plans to monitor Trail status, updating the database and maps as appropriate.

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