Safety & Rail Trails- A recent study by the
National Park Service (Rail-Trails and Safe Communities, January, 1998,
National Park Service) found Rail-Trails to be very safe environments.
A survey of 372 opened Rail-Trails in urban, suburban, and rural areas
indicated the rate of crime on Rail-Trails was very low, and in all cases
significantly lower than the rate for the general population. The development
of Rail-Trails tends to increase the safety of the rail corridor as it
is patrolled regularly and becomes a treasured asset for the community.
“The trail does not encourage crime, and in fact, probably deters crime since there are many people, tourists and local citizens using the trail for many activities at various hours of the day”
-Pat Conlin, Sheriff, Green County, WI
Economic Benefits of Rail-Trails- Rail-Trails generate significant economic benefit for the communities surrounding them. A 1992 National Park Services Study showed that trail users typically inject $4-$11 into the local economy per use. Another study, Burke-Gillman Trail’s Effect on Property Values & Crime (1987, Seattle Engineering Department), found the Rail-Trail had a beneficial effect on property values increasing them by up to 6%. Other studies indicate that property values increase 0-10% for communities containing Rail-Trails.
Financing of the Chester Creek Branch Rail-Trail- The Friends of the Chester Creek Branch (FOCCB) is a not-for-profit organization. Funding for FOCCB is derived from Members donations, the business community, grants from foundations, and Pennsylvania State and Federal Grants. The goal of FOCCB is to completely finance the Rail-Trail through utilization of existing private, State, and Federal funding. This financing will build the Rail-Trail without materially impacting local taxes.
Health Benefits of Rail-Trails- A recent report
from the U.S. Surgeon General- Physical Activity and Health (1996) demonstrated
there is a direct link between the level of a person’s physical activity
and health. Increased physical activity such as walking, jogging, and bicycling
was shown to delay or prevent disease, thus improving a person’s quality
of life. This report indicated that to improve access to safe physical
activity, communities had to provide more trails for its citizens.