planning smart transportation, conservation, and recreation… …one link at a time Informational Meeting Friday February 10 th, 1:00–3:00 pm
WHY GREENWAYS? Green infrastructure brings a multitude of environmental benefits to the table, such as heat island mitigation, habitat preservation, storm water run-off purification, and alleviation of pollutants from the built environment. Greenways and trail systems also have beneficial impacts on air quality and congestion. What is even more encouraging, these benefits become all the more robust when a region develops a system or network of trails rather than a singular facility. A wide-spread network of trails and open space provides a greater number of people the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from an organized initiative. Research has shown it is primarily a lack of opportunity – and place – instead of a lack of desire on the part of residents to participate in a regional greenways system.
Benefits of Recreation oGrowing popularity of outdoor recreation activities coupled with the loss of community open space = increased need for quality recreational facilities such as rail trails oCan serve as independent community amenities oEnhance existing recreational resources by linking neighborhoods and schools to parks, waterfront, recreational centers and other facilities oRecreational greenways are directly linked to improved health & wellness oExamples of recreation options: o Bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding inline skating, running, cycling, fishing, snowmobiles, walking, recreational fitness activities
Benefits of Transportation Alternatives oGreenways have the ability to function as viable transportation corridors oRail-trails have the tendency to be flat and direct, often connecting residential and business districts, which make them convenient as a primary means of getting safely to and from work, school, shopping areas and other destinations. o1995 National Personal Transportation Survey = 43% of cycling trips are made for purposes other than just recreation oCycling on an off-road trail facility is generally safer than riding on sidewalks or streets without bike lanes oRecent cycling/running accidents here in NW Ohio oThe more safe facilities made available, the more people are willing to use non-motorized transportation for many daily trips.
Benefits of Health & Wellness oTrails and greenways help people of all ages incorporate exercise into their daily routines by connecting them with places they want or need to go oThe “Healthier U.S. Initiative” fitness campaign is designed to educate and inspire Americans to be active oTrails figure prominently in the fight against obesity & inactivity oRegular physical activity is a key component of any weight loss effort. 3 Greater access to trails can directly impact our nation's obesity epidemic by improving access to places for physical activity and opportunities. Participating in aerobic training significantly reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 4 Trails provide the opportunity for individuals to help control their hypertension (high blood pressure). Moderate physical activity such as walking and cycling on trails can protect against developing non-insulin dependent diabetes. 5 Through aerobic exercise training, walking and cycling on trails can improve symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety of a magnitude comparable to that obtained with some pharmacological agent. 6 o Studies have reported that walking two or more miles a day reduces the chance of premature death by 50%. 7
Benefits of Conservation oRail-trails provide Americans reconnection with the natural environment, a renewed sense of community, and a restored appreciation for historical and cultural artifacts and nostalgia for the “ golden age ” of rail transportation. oRail-trails help preserve important natural landscapes, provide needed links between fragmented habitats and offer tremendous opportunities for protecting plant and animal species; also useful tools for wetland preservation and improvement of air and water quality. oA corridor can become a linear habitat or “ greenway ” that connects wildlife areas isolated by expansive development. o They often link, provide access to and incorporate historic features such as battlefields, bridges, canals, historic buildings, and rail depots
Benefits of Revitalization oOne of the greatest challenges many local governments face is how to revitalize urban environments and attract people back to the cities from the suburbs (or extended suburbs). oToledo as an example: how do we create a picture of desirability to entice young professions to come live, work, and play here? oTrails & greenways are valued for their ability to connect people with places and enhance the beauty of urban centers oFound to be an economically wise choice; often bring job growth in construction and maintenance fields, as well as tourism industry such as bike shops, restaurants, and lodging oMany companies seeking to relocate or establish a corporate headquarters have cited the availability of trails as a significant factor in their decision to choose one locale over another oRail-trails are known to increase the natural beauty of communities; they may also bolster property values and make adjacent properties easier to sell, becoming an asset and key attractor to neighborhoods oRedevelopment efforts help reverse industrial blight
Benefits of Connectivity oLinking the places where we live, work, learn, and play with trails and greenways is a crucial element of our nation’s efforts to build safer, healthier, more livable communities. oRail-trails can bind communities together as effectively as the railroads did before them oThe many benefits of individual rail-trails (recreation, transportation, health, conservation, revitalization) are multiplied when trails are connected to regional systems of trails and greenways. oThe process of trail building also becomes a process of community building o Greenways are a chance to reconnect our neighbors by creating common ground for social interaction. They reconnect our families by providing safe and healthy recreation areas for children, parents, and grandparents. Trails reconnect us to nature by giving us access to green space for recreation and relaxation. And, with the restoration of old railroad trestles and tunnels, we are reconnected to the rich period of history when previous generations helped build and connect America by rail.
WHY NOW? Increasing negative health issues nationwide Decreasing natural biodiversity Lack of open space available for recreation, conservation Importance of green infrastructure being recognized Need for a diversified local economy Desire to increase Northwest Ohioan’s QUALITY OF LIFE
For Better Health… Physical inactivity contributes to 300,000 preventable deaths a year in the United States. Some 40% of deaths in the United States are caused by behavior patterns that could be modified. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor across the spectrum of preventable diseases that lower the quality of life and kill Americans. Walking and bicycling by children ages 5-15 years dropped 40% from 1977 to 1995. In the US, 6,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are killed each year in traffic accidents; 90,000 are injured; 100 bicyclists and pedestrians were killed in Ohio in 2001. A 1999 study in South Carolina found that the lack of physical activity causes nearly 2,000 deaths annually and costs the state $157 million or more annually in hospital charges. A recent study showed that total cost of the physical inactivity of 7.6 million Michigan adults was nearly &8.9 billion in 2002. Of these costs, $8.6 billion are attributed to workers’ compensation, which equates to a loss of 162 productive hours (about 20 days) per worker.
“The built environment is our most important habitat,” notes Allen Dearry, Ph.D., associate director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, national Institutes of Health. “It plays a significant role in chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. Communities, biomedical scientists, planners, policy makers and others need to identify the mechanisms by which the built environment impacts health and develop appropriate interventions to reduce or eliminate its harmful effects.”
… Thru Greenways Several Studies have found that nature and outdoor settings help reduce stress. Natural environments elicit positive feelings, reduce fear, are interesting to look at and even help block stressful thoughts. The most beneficial natural environments are those composed primarily of vegetation and water. After instituting a Safe Routes to School program, Marin County, California increased students walking by 64% and biking by 114%. Nature contact has been credited with reducing stress and enhancing work performance
For Greater Biodiversity In 2001, 2.9 million Ohioans spent $880 million watching wildlife. “Over the past 200 years, habitat in most of Ohio has been converted from nearly a continuous cover of natural, deciduous forest to a mosaic of agriculture, suburban/urban and fragmented woodlands. Original prairie habitat has been lost as a functional ecosystem.” “Habitat management is a key to the success of restoring endangered species. For example, the protected habitat at Crane Creek is essential to our osprey reintroduction program in Ottawa County.” –Additional examples… Oak Openings Preserve, Toledo Botanical Gardens
The Importance of Recreation in Ohio 43 million US cyclists spend 5.3 billion annually. In 1997, 1.4 million day-use visitors to the beach at Maumee Bay State Park spent $6.2 million. Non-consumptive activities on public lands in Ohio generate $50.2 million in retails sales, $35.5 million in salaries and wages, 2000 jobs and $3.7 million in tax revenues. People who fish, hunt, and watch Ohio’s wildlife spend about $2.8 billion a year to do so. Of the 50 states, Ohio ranked: o3 rd in hunting related expenditures, $951 million o5 th in the number of people who watch wildlife, 2.9 million o7 th in fishing-related expenditures, $944.6 million o7 th in the number of in-state anglers, 1.4 million o7 th in the number of in-state hunters, 490,000 o16 th in money spent watching wildlife, $880 million
Harnessing the Economic Benefits of Open Space for Ohioans In 1999, 31 million visitors to Ohio’s State Parks spent an average of nearly $70 per trip. Each year, nature tourists spend $5.6 million in Ottawa County alone. In 1997, bird watchers at Magee Marsh spent $47.50 per day in direct expenses. Nature-based tourists participated in the following vacation activities: o68% watch wildlife (including bird watching) o58% visit parks o55% hike o48% explore nature preserves
The Case for Green Infrastructure Open Space Management –Open space projects offer natural solutions for pest control and pollution, which can help save local governments money on such expenditures. –When open lands are managed as a natural buffer area rather than turf, corporate landowners can save between $270 to $640 per acre in annual mowing and maintenance costs. –Haphazard development often requires huge investments in roads, sewers, schools, and other public infrastructure. Development –Impervious cover (roadways, parking lots, roof tops) conveys 16 times more storm-water than forest cover. –High levees built next to a river channel are very expensive. A far less expensive method is to setback the levees and let the river occupy its natural floodplain. This floodplain can also serve as a farmland or parkland. –Which will cost more: storm-water control projects or a greenway system? In Kansas: oStorm-water control projects $120 million ($600,000 x 200) OR oGreenway systems $600,000 Natural Landscapes –Studies show that one rural tree can intercept up to 50 pounds of particulates every year. –The absence of trees increases dust levels (a common allergen) by 4-100 times. –A single mature tree can provide cooling energy equivalent to 5 average room air conditioning units running for 20 hours a day. Soil Erosion –In Ohio, more than 85 million tons of soil erodes annually. Much of this soil ends up in lakes, rivers, and streams, degrading water quality and costing millions of dollars to remove. –The 2002 cost of dredging Ohio’s Lake Erie harbors alone = $5.6 million. –Reducing soil erosion could reduce the cost of dredging harbors and lakes by $0.87 per ton.
A study of 36 urban rail-trails found that the crime rate was very low compared to the national crime rate for urban areas. Of the 81 suburban and 255 rural rail-trails in the study area, even fewer major crimes were reported than in the urban areas. These reports were lower than national averages for suburban and rural areas. Only 5% of the 36 urban trails in a 1997 study area reported any incidents of trespassing. A study of 125 rail-trails found that 85% of the projects met either no opposition or opposition that was readily dismissed after routine landowner and citizen concerns were addressed. 88% of adjacent landowners to the Little Miami Scenic Trail feel that the trail has improved the quality of their neighborhood. 79% of adjacent landowners to the Little Miami Scenic Trail would recommend living near a trail to other landowners. Open Spaces Make Good Neighbors
Support for Economic Diversity In the city of Loveland, Ohio, a study found that the bike trail was the single most important reason people were visiting downtown Loveland. People using the trail spend, on average, $7 per visit in the town. Most of the shoppers at the city’s antique stores discover the stores while riding the bike trail and come back to shop. Alexandra’s Bed and Breakfast Inn, a historic home in Madison County, gives its first line of advertising as being “Located on the Rails to Trails Bike Path near Columbus, Dayton, and Springfield.” A storefront area of Dunedin, Florida, was suffering a 35% vacancy rate. The Pinellas Trail was introduced to the town and in 1997 the storefront occupancy rose to 100% and business boomed.
Enhancing Quality of Life A community survey in Columbus, Ohio, found that 95% of respondents believe the Metroparks contributed to the quality of life in central Ohio and 77% believe the Metroparks improve their own quality of life. In Whetstone Park, Columbus, Ohio, a nearby park and river account for 7.35% of the selling price of properties. One developer in San Diego County found he could increase the sale price of his houses by 25% by scaling back his development 15% and adding natural open space corridors visible from every home. In Philadelphia’s Pennypack Park, the Regional Science Research Institute found that property value decreases the farther away it is from open space. At 40 feet, the park accounted for 33% of the land value, 9% of the value at 1,000 feet and 4.2% of the value at 2,500 feet. Among 22 community amenities, park areas and walking/jogging trails were the top rated amenities with 62% and 58% of the respondents, respectively, saying that these features would have an influence on their purchase. Natural undeveloped lands ranked top on respondents’ list of open spaces preferences. “Community livability is enhanced by conservation development that provides access to recreation opportunities, open space, and trails and reduces the risk of flooding.”
…WHY NORTHWEST OHIO? Our abundant natural resources –Rivers and watersheds Maumee, Blanchard, Auglaize Ottawa & Sandusky –Open space and agriculture Our existing green infrastructure –Rail trails, parks, and recreational resources Our historic and cultural background –Maumee Heritage Corridor –Miami Erie Canal Our economic needs –Potential for tourism & related activities Our emphasis on “quality of life” –Making NW Ohio a DESIREABLE place to live!
Rivers & Streams Ohio’s Largest Watersheds Maumee River –4,862 sq. miles Sandusky River –1,421 sq. miles Ohio’s Longest Streams Sandusky River –130.0 miles Maumee River –105.4 miles Blanchard River –104.2 miles Auglaize River –101.9 miles Stream Facts There are over 3,300 named streams in Ohio Ohio has an estimated 61,532 total miles of streams Every stream is a tributary with a watershed Ohio passed the first scenic rivers law in 1968 Drainage Facts 22,500 miles of county ditches are built in Ohio 4,000 miles of drainage ditches are currently maintained in Ohio
GREENWAYS & AGRICULTURE An Unlikely Partnership Each day, Ohio loses an average of 394 acres of farmland. That’s one third of its farmland since 1950. Census of Agriculture, 1997 Preserving farmland is an economic, environmental, and social challenge that requires a synergistic approach for optimal growth to occur – preserving greenspace, for example, while revitalizing urban brownfields to reduce pressure to build outside of already-urbanized areas. Protecting farmland will help assure a strong rural economy and protect scenic open space, wildlife habitats, and our quality of life. Farmland preservation is not about being anti-development; it is about wise development.
Existing Trails, Greenways & Bike Paths in Northwest Ohio The Buckeye Trail The North Coast Inland Trail The North Country Scenic Trail Miami Erie Canal –Allen, Auglaize, Miami, Shelby, and Van Wert Counties Wabash Cannonball Trail –Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Williams Counties Blanchard River Greenway –Hancock County Old Mill Stream Parkway –Hancock County University Park Bike-Hike Trail –Lucas County Celina Coldwater Bikeway –Mercer County North Coast Inland Trail –Ottawa County North Coast Inland Trail –Sandusky County North Coast Inland Trail –Wood County Slippery Elm Trail –Wood County
COUNTY ANALYSIS Nineteen Counties To Be Included –Auglaize –Allen –Crawford –Defiance –Fulton –Hancock –Hardin –Henry –Lucas –Mercer –Ottawa –Paulding –Putnam –Sandusky –Seneca –Williams –Wyandot –Wood
HOW WE GET THERE Formulate a steering committee Identify resources –Inventory & analysis –University of Toledo, Spring GIS Lab Course Public input & visioning –Public charrettes and advisory meetings to be held on a monthly basis Weighing alternatives Preliminary visioning Finalized planning
“The public involvement in greenway projects offers opportunities for sharing and receiving information, for broadening support of activities through increased awareness and for making the residents feel a sense of ownership in a project.” o1998. Fish, M. Jennifer. “An Analysis of the Perceived Costs and Benefits of Residing Near a Rural and Recreational Greenway.” The Ohio State University, 1998.
Please fill out the questionnaires provided so that we may better understand your thoughts and interest on the Northwest Ohio Greenways Initiative. Sign up to be a member on our advisory committee and become an active part of the Northwest Ohio Greenways Vision! Stay up to date on what’s happening with the advisory committee and public input meetings by visiting our website at: http://www.metroparkstoledo.com/metroparks/development/display.asp?id=513&subj=development Our official website will be coming soon! INTERESTED?