City of Norfolk & Community Residents


Norfolk, Virginia


22.5 miles

Completion Date

  • Winner of the 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge
  • Winner of the 2018 Arbor Day Project of the Year Award
  • Winner of the 2021 Community UPLIFT Award (Unity, Public Service, Leadership, Innovation, Friendship, Teamwork)
  • City of Norfolk named 2021 Outdoor City of the Future with ERT listed as integral to the City’s outdoor culture
  • Awarded the 2022 Community Appreciation Award by the Tidewater Striders Club


Work Program Architects has made community service a cornerstone of its practice. That is why it is no surprise to see firm members leading a dynamic urban project: expansion of the ever-popular Elizabeth River Trail. Begun as a shared vision of the West Ghent Neighborhood League, the Norfolk Historical Society, Norfolk Southern Corp., and the City of Norfolk, the original walking route connected the West Ghent neighborhood with historic Fort Norfolk, important for its role in the War of 1812. WPA and friends first organized the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation in conjunction with the Greater Norfolk Corp.. The ERT Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that so far has raised more than $4 million, including multiple grants from Virginia and the Federal government, to improve the existing 10.5 miles and add amenities to the Trail. WPA leads the Master Planning Committee, a collection of trail enthusiasts and professionals who donate their time to design and advise on projects along the trail. WPA is responsible for overall master planning, expansion planning, trailhead structure design, and the signage and wayfinding project, designed in conjunction with Grow. The expansion plans connect the Trail north all the way to the Norfolk Naval Station, and east to Virginia Beach and South Norfolk, connecting three universities (Old Dominion, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and NSU), Sentara Norfolk, and various economic engines along the way. The Trail will have 11 trailheads that provide amenities for the 28 neighborhoods that exist within a 5-minute walk of the ERT. Proposed amenities include kayak launches, solar lighting, playgrounds, improved wayfinding, solar-charged luminous paths, charging stations and public art, turning the trail into a world-class asset.