Birmingham wins $21M urban trail grant to make city more walkable, bikeable and connected

Birmingham City Hall at Sunset 2021
Birmingham City Hall in 2021. ( Pat Byington/ Bham Now)

Birmingham has been awarded a $21 million grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to make the city more walkable, bikeable, safe, connected and livable.

Announcement

The grant will support the development of the Birmingham Urban Trail and Multimodal Corridor, according to U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell who announced the game-changing grant award on Thursday afternoon.

“This is such great news for the Birmingham area!” exclaimed Sewell in her news release announcing the grant. “I was so proud to help the City of Birmingham secure this $21 million grant to develop the Birmingham Urban Trail, and I know that it will go a long way in making our city more walkable, bikeable and livable.”

About RAISE Grant Program

The funding for the grant comes from DOT’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant Program. 

The Birmingham grant will support the “Birmingham Civil Rights Crossroads: Reconnecting Historic Neighborhoods Through Active Mobility” project. 

It will redevelop and create an urban trail and multi-modal corridor to celebrate, honor and revitalize the Smithfield neighborhood, the west side of Birmingham, and the Civil Rights District.

The funding will be used to redevelop approximately 2.5-miles of road with a complete streets approach, including a two-way cycle track, improved ADA access, sidewalks and other universal design elements.

Why this matters in the Magic City

Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, chair of the council’s transportation committee, described to Bham Now why this grant will change the way people travel through The Magic City. 

“The City of Birmingham is striving to retrofit our public infrastructure from prioritizing the convenience  of movement for motorized automobiles to that which acknowledges and makes space for pedestrians, people using micro-mobility devices, shared mobility systems and is accommodating for people of all abilities. 

Birmingham
Birmingham is widely known as a catalyst of civil rights. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The funding of the RAISE project will allow the City to realize that vision on two corridors that have prominent significance and will serve as an example of what we can achieve moving forward. I am particularly enthused about the plans for 16th Street in the Civil Rights District. However, I also cannot wait to see our first real protected bike lanes.”

Next Steps

Many groups played a role in supporting the city’s efforts to secure the grant – from neighborhood groups to the Freshwater Land Trust

Be on the lookout for the implementation of the project in the coming years.

Excited to see more transportation options coming to Birmingham? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

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.

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