Bicycling Trails Grow by Miles
The last several years have been kind to cyclists, as more and more cities add bicycle-only commuting lanes, more former rail lines are converted to rail trails and more innovative bike-sharing and renting programs get underway.
"The trails movement has continued to see a surge in growth," Jennifer Kaleba, vice president for communications at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, told The Daily Green, "particularly as we look at some of the economic recovery bills that went through."
In 2010, many miles of biking trails were planned or installed, including in California, Arkansas and Michigan, thanks to federal funding from President Obama's economic stimulus programs for "shovel ready" projects. The trend also got a big boost from Google, which launched maps.google.com/biking for bikers seeking to find directions and travel using those new trails.
Kaleba pointed to two examples to illustrate the types of exciting new trails that have opened in the last year or so: The 8-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail linking under-served neighborhoods to downtown Washington, D.C., and the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park, a converted 212-feet-tall railroad bridge that attracted more than half a million visitors in its first year linking the east and west shores of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (Fred Schaeffer, who was instrumental in the creation of Walkway Over the Hudson, won a 2010 Heart of Green Award from The Daily Green.)