Infrastructure Reuse

Adaptive infrastructure reuse is an important component of the work of the Downtown Greenway.  There are three significant examples of this along the four mile route:

Over.Under.Pass. at Morehead Park

A North Carolina railroad trestle operated by Norfolk Southern and abandoned since the mid-1970s has been transformed into a gallery of gates by Sculptor Jim Gallucci, with interactive lighting effects designed by Scott Richardson of Light Defines Form.

Funded in part through a Mayor’s Institute on City Design’s 25th Anniversary Initiative grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, this project has two major components. First, the iron gates designed by Gallucci were inspired by decorative details on the art deco-style Southern Bell Building built on nearby Eugene Street around the same time as the underpass in 1928.  The other component comprises interactive and colorful lighting created by Richardson to both illuminate the passageway and enhance security.  The lighting provides a unique and ever-changing experience, while encouraging movement through the underpass.

This section has been open to the public since 2012.


Murrow Boulevard

Originally designed as a highway by-pass system around downtown Greensboro, a portion of the system was built in the 1970’s on the eastern side of downtown, but the rest was never completed.  This road, Murrow Boulevard, has been an underutilized 6 lane divided highway that has been a physical barrier between East Greensboro and downtown ever since.  The construction of the highway and the topography of the surrounding land has created an unfriendly and unsafe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.  With the development of the Downtown Greenway, Murrow Boulevard is experiencing a road diet with one full northbound lane removed and the two remaining northbound lanes narrowed to accommodate the 12 foot wide paved trail in its place.  Landscaping, site furnishings, innovative stormwater treatment facilities and other amenities will create a beautiful, safe, and fully functional transportation system on the east side of town.

This section is scheduled for completion at the end of 2020.

Railroad Corridor:

The western side of the Downtown Greenway is a 1 mile stretch of the former Atlantic & Yadkin railway line that traversed from Mt. Airy to Wilmington, carrying much of the granite that can be found in buildings and infrastructure in Greensboro.  Portions of the railway line further north were abandoned in the 1970’s and eventually turned into what is now known as the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway – some of Greensboro’s most well used and loved trails in the northwest part of the city.

This portion of the Downtown Greenway is a part of a 3 mile section that was never abandoned and was in use as an active line by Norfolk Southern until 2014.  In 2019, the City of Greensboro reached an agreement with Norfolk Southern to purchase the rights to install the greenway along the Norfolk Southern Railway Atlantic & Yadkin Railroad corridor under the railbanking provision of the National Trails System Act. The agreement allows for construction of the western segment that runs along the railroad tracks from Spring Garden Street to Smith Street at Meeting Place, the Tradition Cornerstone, and ultimately to Markland Avenue where the existing Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway begins.

When this 3 mile section is complete, The Atlantic & Yadkin (A&Y) Greenway will connect Summerfield, Stokesdale and northwest Greensboro to downtown. The route also connects the Bicentennial Greenway, the future Piedmont Greenway, the Mountains to Sea Trail, the East Coast Greenway and the City’s watershed trail network.

This section is scheduled to go out to bid in late 2020 with construction to begin in 2021.