To accommodate the fast-growing popularity of active transportation among residents and visitors, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) constructed the $75 million Virginia Capital Trail. The trail alignment runs mostly parallel to scenic state Route 5, which travels through a wellspring of historic, environmental and cultural resources from Virginia’s previous capitals, Jamestown and Williamsburg, to the modern government seat in Richmond.
The fully paved 51.7-mile multi-use trail provides a safe, non-motorized path for cyclists, pedestrians and other users.
Design on the trail began in 2003 and construction was completed in late 2015. The trail traverses four jurisdictions, with a host of attractions along the way. According to the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation’s 2019 impact report, trail usage trackers have recorded more than 800,000 users each year.
An economic and fiscal impact report estimated that the Virginia Capital Trail stimulated $8.9 million in economic activity during the fiscal year 2018-19, with about 95% of that impact occurring within a 50-mile radius of the trail. The report also noted an increase in employment opportunities and adjacent property values since the trail’s completion.
In the future, the trail presents opportunities to connect with other multi-use paths and to broaden the multimodal network of alternative transportation in the commonwealth.
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