LOW LINE URBAN PARK AND TRAIL Richmond, VA
In concert with the non-profit, community advocacy group Capital Trees, the City of Richmond and the CSX Corporation, Waterstreet Studio has worked since 2013 to transform a historically significant stretch of Richmond’s Riverfront into a park-like setting for the enjoyment of tourists, cyclists, pedestrians, area residents and businesses. The Low Line was named with a nod to New York’s Highline Park and conceived of by a group of local volunteers wishing to enhance the aesthetic quality of the area and improve access to Richmond’s Riverfront.
Now known as Richmond’s Low Line, the site played an important role in Richmond’s tobacco and slave trade industries. The five acre site is currently owned by CSX Corporation and the City of Richmond and hosts the longest raised rail trestle in the country. The Virginia Capital Trail and historic Kanawha Canal surround this land mass and increasingly bring pedestrian traffic through the site.
Recognizing the unrealized potential for this once weed choked, forgotten landscape, Waterstreet Studio and Capital Trees negotiated easements and agreements that would ultimately give rise to a series of landscape enhancements that have spurred appreciation and use of the historic site. On April 14, 2016, Virginia’s Governor Terry McAulliffe and the Department of Conservation and Recreation awarded The Low Line status as a “Virginia Treasure.” Native plants and perennial beds line the trail and canal bank, framing views of the waterway, trestle and City skyline.
Phase I of the project was completed in 2015 to coincide with the UCI World Cycling Championship Race. A second phase of improvements is planned for Spring and Summer of 2016. Over $4 million dollars of future planting and storm water improvements are currently in the early phases of design.