The Rock Island Greenway, named after the railroad that once used this right-of-way and was in large part the reason for Ruston’s founding, is a shared-use walking, running and bicycling path and linear park that will eventually run almost 6 miles across the city, connecting neighborhoods, businesses, educational institutions, and recreational amenities. The greenway greatly improves quality of life, economic opportunity, and the health of our community.
What is a greenway? A greenway is a linear park or open area that encourages recreation and active transportation, typically through bike and pedestrian paths.
The greenway will be the first of its kind in the region and will serve as a vital transportation link that fosters a vibrant and active culture, encourages economic development and opportunity, promotes safety and health, and offers our community a state-of-the art public space.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the greenway or any undesignated parking areas. The greenway is open daily from sunrise to sunset
The rules for the greenway are just like those of every other park in Ruston. For a complete list of rules please visit the Parks and Recreation page: www.ruston.org/rpar
In the meantime, follow Friends of the Rock Island Greenway on Facebook.
The city broke ground on the path in December 2016. The RIG Project is divided into five construction phases and timelines.
The first leg of the greenway officially opened in June, 2017 and runs south, for one mile, from the intersection of W. Kentucky and Chautauqua. This twelve foot wide compact aggregate path traverses a native forest aside a small creek... Be on the lookout for migratory songbirds.
The second leg of the greenway was completed in 2019 and runs south for 2 miles from W. California Ave to W. Tennessee Ave. It is a twelve foot wide paved path running next to the edge of Tech Farm. You can enjoy the arched tree coveraged and rolling farmland, complete with the occasional group of cows.
The third and most recent section of the greenway was completed in 2020 and connects the east side of Cook Park to Phase I at W. Kentucky Ave. It is a twelve foot wide paved path weaving through hardwood trees and crossing over Chautauqua Creek.
Public parking for the Greenway can be found at Cook Park, Duncan Park, and near the W. Kentucky Substation.
Thanks to voters’ approval (69%) in April ’16 of the Moving Ruston Forward initiative (which funds critical investments in streets, water, sewer, as well as active transportation infrastructure) the City has been able to embark on this ambitious plan. Construction is now underway on the first shared-use path in the region, the Rock Island Greenway, which will be the centerpiece of Ruston's new bicycle/pedestrian network. This 6-mile rail trail will dramatically improve community health by establishing unprecedented opportunities for physical activity, active transportation, and exercise. It will establish direct connectivity between neighborhoods, businesses, grade schools, Delta Community College, Louisiana Center for the Blind, and Louisiana Tech. The greenway also greatly expands access to healthcare, jobs, social support services, cultural centers, and recreation. Furthermore, it will pass directly through some of the city's most underserved neighborhoods, in which a substantial share of residents are reliant on walking and biking for transportation, and where opportunities for physical activity and recreation are especially limited.
· Connects the city across neighborhoods, enhancing mobility for people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds;
· Dramatically expands transportation options in a part of the country with little-to-no existing walking/bicycling infrastructure, no public transit, taxis or rideshare and few other alternatives to the private automobile;
· Improves health outcomes by encouraging physical activity;
· Reduces social exclusion in a city starkly divided along racial and economic lines while fostering community interaction and engagement;
· Facilitates access to jobs, schools, and other needs and amenities, particularly for a large poor population and for the growing ranks of the elderly and young who can’t - or choose not to - drive.
The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (CRI&P), also known as the Rock Island, or the Rock, was a class 1 railroad running west, southwest and northwest from Chicago. The railway was chartered in 1847 as the Rock Island and LaSalle, and later it was decided the line should stretch into Chicago. Over the years it expanded to many states, and fell into bankruptcy. One line ran from Little Rock, Arkansas to the south, through Junction City, Ruston, Hodge, Jonesboro, Winnfield, Packton, and then into Alexandria. By 1984 all assets had been sold, and the line ceased to exist.