Plans to improve Birmingham’s trails have been in discussion since 2006. Birmingham is now in the early stages of planning for improvements.

Plans to improve Birmingham’s trails have been in discussion since 2006. Birmingham is now in the early stages of planning for improvements.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Birmingham resurfaces a plan for trail improvements

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 8, 2023

BIRMINGHAM — Improving the trails in Birmingham has been a plan circulating since 2006. However, when the original Trail Improvement Concept Plan was made, there was no funding available at the time.

During the planning for the parks and recreation bond in 2020, discussions and public input made it clear that the community wanted to see trail improvements happen in Birmingham, and the plan to improve the trails resurfaced after over a decade.

“These are not brand-new ideas,” Mayor Therese Longe said. “This is implementing something that’s been long planned and long desired.”

Since voters approved the parks and recreation bond in 2020, some priority projects have already been completed, such as work at the Birmingham Ice Arena and Adams Park. This year, they began the preliminary design process for trail improvements.

There is currently no finalized estimate of the budget for this project, and they are still anticipating making changes based on feedback from various boards and from the public as they wait for it to be reviewed. The way the Trail Improvement Concept Plan is set up today, the preliminary cost estimate is just under $2.1 million. However, this number is not official, since they are in the early stages of the process.

The plan has been divided into three sections: Booth Park, the Museum Trail and the Linden Trail.

Booth Park plans include improved landscaping, seating and signage, and an accessible restaurant facility. This would also be the location of a trail entry plaza.

The Museum Trail improvement plans primarily focus on connection to include the museum as part of the trail experience. A plaza and markers are also included in this part of the plan. The museum is also working on plans of its own.

For the Linden Trail, current improvement plans include widening the sidewalk and adding a plaza with a shade shelter, a pedestrian bridge, markers and more.

One of the main goals of the project is to improve connectivity on the trails through directional points to make trails easier to navigate.

Through a survey, they found that accessibility is a major reason why some people do not use the trail system. Another goal is to add wheelchair-accessible boardwalks and viewing areas.

“We want the trail system to be able to be enjoyed by all people,” Parks and Recreation Manager Carrie Laird said.

Other highlights of the plan include a new pedestrian bridge south of Maple Road, and a Booth Park entryway, added bathroom and shade shelter.

Like many projects, community feedback has been valuable to the development of the plan, officials said. Since 2006, community input has been gathered to make sure the plan is meeting the wants and needs of the community.

Most recently, details of the plan were posted on Engage Birmingham for the community to review and take a survey at the bottom of the page. They accepted feedback through Nov. 30.

“It is important to get our committee input, because we want to make sure we are hitting the mark, because the residents have voted for the parks and recreation bond to happen, and so we want to meet the needs of the community,” Laird said.

The next steps include additional board reviews and adjustments made by the architect based on feedback before it is brought back to the Parks and Recreation Board.