Central Virginia is planning a 41-mile trail from Ashland to Petersburg

When the Virginia Capital Trail was first proposed back in 1999, critics derided the idea of the 51.7-mile multi-use path as overly-ambitious and too expensive. Today, the east-west trail connecting Virginia’s first capital of Jamestown with the modern seat of government, Richmond, faces concerns about overcrowding, and there’s now a sister trail in the pipeline.

Far from being a waste of taxpayer dollars, the Capital Trail has become one of the state’s highest visited amenities. The only other multimodal path to receive more visitors on an annual basis is Virginia Beach’s oceanfront boardwalk. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is leading an effort to replicate the Capital Trail’s success with a north-south alignment, tentatively called the Ashland to Petersburg (ATP) Trail.

The success of the VCT inspired VDOT staffers and local officials across the region to explore a trail that could become the multimodal backbone of Central Virginia. The proposed ATP Trail would extend roughly 41 miles and pass through seven of Central Virginia’s localities: the City of Ashland in the north, Hanover County, Henrico County, the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, and the Cities of Colonial Heights and Petersburg in the south.

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