Though often prefixed by the words "long-awaited," and "delayed," the Bloomingdale Trail project to convert an elevated rail line in Chicago into a multi-use recreational space is moving ahead pretty quickly these days.
Few doubt the tremendous potential of the Olympic Discovery Trail, a plan to construct a continuous recreational trail from Port Townsend on the northeast tip of the peninsula across to the Pacific Ocean. Already, local businesses are benefitting from the many visitors completed sections of the trail bring to the area. Last year, President Obama heralded the trail project during the launch of the America's Great Outdoors initiative to connect Americans with the nation's natural heritage.
Saturday's opening of the first section of the East Central Regional Rail Trail (ECRRT) in Volusia County, Fla., was a great opportunity to witness firsthand the growing enthusiasm for walking and biking in that state.
A sustained grassroots effort supported by a coalition of local municipalities won funding support for a 44-mile pathway for hikers, bikers and riders of all kinds along a former railway corridor in Mississippi.
One of the most stubborn obstacles to building new trails, particularly in big cities where crime and public safety are often dominating concerns, is the perception that such pathways encourage or increase incidents of vandalism, assault, vagrancy and theft in nearby neighborhoods.