First Look at the temporary The Parkside Trail from Railroad Park to Rotary Trail

The Parkside Park provides more room for cyclists. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Mark your calendar. The place to be in Birmingham on weekends this May is the new temporary Parkside Trail.

Launched by Orchestra Partners and REV Birmingham on May 2, The Parkside Trail is a temporary conversion of First Avenue South into a car-free, multi-use trail modeled after The Open Streets Project. 

The Parkside Trail. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Providing More Space

In an effort to relieve use pressure on Railroad Park, the First Avenue South corridor between 12th Street and 20th Street will be closed to vehicles and become a multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of May. 

Looking down 1st Avenue South from 13th Street across from Regions Field, the proposed The Parkside Trail. Photo by Pat Byington For Bham Now

In the coming weeks, local retailers and restaurants are expected  to install pop-up activations along The Parkside Trail to reinforce walkability and provide businesses with more opportunities to generate revenue.

“The idea is to relieve the stress that has occurred on Railroad Park,” said Rob Buddo, Rev Birmingham’s City Central District Manager. “We wanted to give people an area to spread out.  We have been working on plans with Orchestra Partners  to connect Rotary Trail with Railroad Park and past I-65. This is a good opportunity to pilot the idea and solve a need for the community.”

Social Distancing

Social distancing instructions at The Parkside Trail. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Later this week, the groups will add a social distancing grid with chalk paint to help guide people and keep them safe. They are working closely with the city of Birmingham and the Freshwater Land Trust.  

“Converting city streets into a multi-use trail is a great way to give Birmingham residents a space to practice social distancing while enjoying this great weather and supporting our local businesses,” said Hunter Renfroe, Orchestra Partners Co-Founder and Principal. “Promoting walkability is a core aspect of our mission at Orchestra Partners – and we’re proud to lead this initiative alongside partners who share our vision for a walkable urban center.”

Open Streets Project

Redemptive Cycles tabling on the first day of The Parkside Trail. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Founded in 2011, The Open Streets Project is a celebration of walkers, runners and cyclists taking back the streets from vehicles and demonstrating the demand for multi-modal infrastructure across the country. Forward-thinking cities such as Denver, Des Moines, Minneapolis and Oakland have recently implemented successful Open Street models to promote public health and safety during COVID-19.

More to Come

More cyclists alongside Railroad Park on the proposed The Parkside Trail. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Orchestra Partners expects to announce more details on trail pop-up amenities throughout the month to support local businesses. The Parkside Trail officially opened to the public today, Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays during these hours through May 31. 

Free public parking will be available in the Urban Supply parking lot at the corner of 13th Street and First Avenue South. For more information, visit www.parksidebham.com.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.