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ARC earmarks $250,000 for Rockdale trail

Kathy Campbell gets in some exercise on her lunch break Monday on the multi-use trail that runs from Nancy Guinn Memorial Library along Parker Road. Rockdale County recently received grant funding to expand the network of trails in the community. The new funding is earmarked for the county’s multi-use trail project along Sigman Road. (Staff Photo: Julie Wells)

Kathy Campbell gets in some exercise on her lunch break Monday on the multi-use trail that runs from Nancy Guinn Memorial Library along Parker Road. Rockdale County recently received grant funding to expand the network of trails in the community. The new funding is earmarked for the county’s multi-use trail project along Sigman Road. (Staff Photo: Julie Wells)

CONYERS — Funding for a greenway trail in western Rockdale County is among more than $14 million in projects approved through a federal grant program to promote transportation alternatives in metro Atlanta.

Officials with the Atlanta Regional Commission announced recently that $250,000 will go toward construction of the Sigman Road multi-use trail project as part of grant funding released through the federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Rockdale County will be required to submit $62,500 in matching local funds. The project is a 1.3-mile portion of the Conyers-Covington trail system and runs from Lester Road to Irwin Bridge Road, according to Miguel Valentin, director of the Rockdale County Department of Transportation.

“The goal is for the multi-use trail to eventually provide connectivity from the GRTA park-and-ride facility on Farmer Road, along Sigman Road to Old Covington Road on the east side of the county,” Valentin said in an email response.

The design of the trail will fall within the county’s overall plans to widen Sigman Road. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017 if funding is available. Valentin added that the county and city of Conyers would seek additional state and federal funding for the other phases of the project.

In all, the ARC will manage $14.36 million in grants across 17 projects. Requirements for the funding are to “focus on advancing greenway trail segments, walking and cycling improvements within activity centers and promoting safe routes to schools and transit stations,” according to an ARC press release announcing the grants.

“Currently, all or parts of some 20,000 metro Atlanta commutes are made on bicycles each week, plus many more on foot and transit,” John Orr, manager of ARC’s Transportation Access & Mobility Division, said in the press release. “And in today’s world of increasing congestion and decreasing funding, biking and walking are viable modes of transportation in places where they are safe and convenient.”

In addition to transportation access and safety, much of the federal funding will be spent to lay a foundation for greenway trail connections throughout the region and to help develop a regional network that eventually reaches from Alabama to Covington and from Cumming to Senoia, according to the ARC press release.

In addition to the Sigman Road trail in Rockdale County, projects to be funded through the federal program include:

• City of Atlanta Pedestrian Accessibility Project; city of Atlanta; $5,880,000

• Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road Bicycle and Pedestrian; DeKalb County; $1,750,000

• Atlanta Beltline Trail from Glenwood Avenue to Allen Avenue; city of Atlanta; $719,000

• Bob Callan Trail Phase II, U.S. Hwy. 41 Trail and Trailhead; Cobb County; $620,000

• Western Gwinnett Bikeway Extension; Gwinnett County; $900,000

• Perimeter Commuter Trail System Study; Perimeter Center CIDs; $400,000

• Georgetown Area Multimodal Project; city of Dunwoody; $200,000

• Path Forward Program; Fayette County; $841,000

• Norcross to Lilburn Multiuse Trail; Gwinnett County; $300,000

• Rottenwood Creek Trail Phase 2; city of Marietta; $200,000

• Town Center / Noonday Creek Trail / KSU Bike-Ped Connector; Cobb County; $200,000

• Barnwell Road Multi-Use Trail; city of Johns Creek; $200,000

• Global Gateway Connector Project; city of College Park; $200,000

• Bethany, Cogburn, Windward Connection; city of Milton; $200,000

For more information on the ARC’s transportation alternatives program, go to http://www.atlantaregional.com/transportation/bicycle—pedestrian/transportation-alternatives-program