A linear park is a park that is substantially longer than it is wide. It is often formed as a part of a "rails to trails" conversion of antiquated railroad beds to recreational use. Other linear parks make use of strips of public land next to canals, streams, defensive walls, moats, electrical lines, highways and shorelines. A famous example of a linear park is the Berlin Mauerpark, which was built on a part of the former Berlin Wall area and its adjacent death strip.
In some cities, many linear parks run through residential areas, where housing will front streets and back onto small linear parks containing a pathway, trees and grass. Examples are numerous in some Canadian cities such as Saskatoon.
In cities where the terrain is such that rivers and brooks have significant flood plains, the land cannot sensibly be used for urban development and so can be set aside as a civic amenity. The town of Milton Keynes in England makes extensive use of this design feature.
A parkway may refer to a road that is flanked on either side by a linear park, one of the first being the Bronx River Parkway through the Bronx River Reservation in the flood plain. These range from short urban ones like George Washington Parkway / Clara Barton Parkway in Washington, D.C. and Freedom Parkway in Atlanta (the previous alignment of a canceled freeway), to very long ones that are hundreds of miles or kilometers long. The longest is the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Natchez Trace Parkway is not far behind.
A greenbelt can also be considered a linear park, one currently being planned and built in sections is the BeltLine system in Atlanta, which will completely encircle its central business districts, and include a trail and eventual light rail line on existing tracks instead of another road.
List of Linear Parks
- Alewife Linear Park
- Brampton Valley Way in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, United Kingdom
- Beltline Linear Park and West Toronto Railpath, Toronto
- San Francisco Embarcadero
- High Line Park, New York City
- James River Park System, Richmond, VA
- Mauerpark, Berlin, Germany
- Midtown Greenway and trails network of Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Planty Park, Crakow, Poland
- Plaza Moriones, Manila
- Promenade plantée, Paris
- Rose Kennedy Greenway
- Torrens Linear Park, Adelaide
- Turia Gardens (Jardín del Turia), Spain
- Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, Northern Virginia
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