Through the years since it’s final abandonment, the CSX rail bridge connecting the West Side and South Charleston has been the subject of a lot of interest from groups seeking to rehabilitate it into a pedestrian bridge. As I was biking down the Boulevard this week, I stood and admired it for a moment and thought “why?”
I think that since we gutted many of the truly charming and historic buildings in Downtown through the 70′s and 80′s that the area, collectively, has been paralyzed with fear of removing the old. There’s a big difference between an old home and a historic home. As a point of reference: Sunrise is a historic property. Many of the larger Sears kit homes that dot the East End and other early developed high wealth areas in the valley are pretty historic properties. These nasty woodframes that have been demolished recently on Dixie Street are just old. And the CSX bridge is just. . . old.
It’s not a nice bridge. It doesn’t get you anywhere in particular as a pedestrian. It connects an active rail line to an active rail line, which isn’t exactly the safest place for pedestrians and bikers. It’s not even really aesthetically pleasing as a part of the cityscape. It’s just been there a long time.
I won’t argue that the region really needs a more adequate network of mapped routes for pedestrian and bicycle transportations. But not long ago a citizen group and the Charleston Area Alliance trotted out a plan in the multiple millions of dollars (and yet, you can’t find a solid web link on this project) to rehab this bridge. Just tell me guys: Why? 10 million dollars could do so much more to improve pedestrian and bicycle transportation through our city, but instead we want to save this antiquated eyesore? No, thank you.
Someone shot us a link to the main site for this project: http://kanawhatrestletrail.org
According to their blog:
Through the leadership of Congresswoman Capito an $800,000 federal transportation appropriation has been obtained
The city of Charleston has pledged $475,000.00 to the Kanawha Trestle Trail project $500,000 is being requested from Transportation Enhancement funds through the WV Division of Highways An additional $80,000.00 is being requested from Recreational Trails funds through the WV Division of Highways $60,000.00 was donated by The Greater Kanawha Valley To date over $70,000 in state budget requests have been obtained for preliminary work related to the trestle trail Several thousand dollars have been donated by individuals and community organizations
Funding (Phase 2) Funding requests are being made to city, county and state agencies. Other funding is available through Groundworks USA, Land & Water Conservation Funds, Historic Preservation, Safe-Routes-To-School, Bikes Belong, and many other sources, including future requests for Transportation Enhancement and Recreational Trail funds through WV DOH