The Norman Transcript

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May 4, 2014

Greenbelt Commission looking for ways to connect city through green corridors

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Most trails in the city are sidewalks which allow for multimodal use, but there are some special use trails. At Sutton Wilderness, parts of the trail may not be accessible for motorized wheel chairs, for example.

In Saxon Park, the packed granite path was designed for runners but also will be accessible — dogs won’t be allowed on the running path, however, Parks Planner James Briggs said. Instead, a future sidewalk in Saxon Park will allow for dogs.

“When I envision this network of trails I see a portion that is very inclusive for children, folks with disabilities and seniors, but there also could be parts of the trail that are geared for more rugged recreational activities,” Nanny said.

Even sidewalks become a greenbelt when they curve through a park or include landscaping along a city pathway.

“They’re green, they’re full of energy and life,” Nanny said. “It’s not just a sidewalk along the road. When we talk about the network through the urban area, you’re talking more about trails like Legacy Trail.”

Green corridors invite multimodal forms of transportation that function beyond recreation and leisure. In some cases, public art can be incorporated in urban landscapes. In wilder places, nature might reign.

“It’s a living space. You want to go outside and just walk and get fresh air and clear your head,” Nanny said.

Developing Norman’s network of trails also creates connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians of all abilities and can increase access by connecting CART stops.

“Many people who use bicycles for transportation feel OK going on Rock Creek Road,” Nanny said. “I would never ride my bicycle on Rock Creek Road. When I talk about multimodal, I’m talking about something really wide where bicycles can ride.”

The Greenbelt Commission is comprised of Norman residents who volunteer their time to identify suitable parcels of land as green space and make recommendations to the city council about policy. The commission also advocates for green space in the city’s planning process.

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