An Awesome Suburban Bike Trail

I was out riding this morning and stumbled onto an awesome piece of suburban bicycle infrastructure I wanted to share with readers.  It’s in West Point and Syracuse Utah, between Ogden and Salt Lake City.  It’s not very long…only four miles or so total, but it has the potential to be a vital transportation link as this area grows in both population and density.

Taken from my RideWithGPS screen because Google doesn't show the completed route.  The D&RGW trail is at the east end between miles 16 and 17.  The Syracuse Trail is at the west end.  The Clearfield FrontRunner station is the blue dot in the lower right corner.

Taken from my RideWithGPS screen because Google doesn’t show the completed route. The D&RGW trail is at the east end between miles 16 and 17. The Syracuse Trail is at the west end. The Clearfield FrontRunner station is the blue dot in the lower right corner.

I’m talking about the trail that (as near as I can tell) goes by the name 200 S Trail.  The eastern half runs parallel to the north side of Utah State Highway 193 west from the Denver and Rio Grande Western Rail Trail to N 2000 W.  From there, the community of West Point extended the trail west another two miles to the existing Syracuse Trail.  In effect, it’s a connector that joins these two trails.

State Highway 193 is to the right of the wall.  The No Outlet sign is for cars only.  Once again, Utah has provided an outlet for cyclists.  Well done!

State Highway 193 is to the right of the wall. The No Outlet sign is for cars only. Once again, Utah has provided an outlet for cyclists. Well done!

Typical intersection with plenty of stopping space for bicyclists and high visibility, too.  Awesome!

Typical intersection with plenty of stopping space for bicyclists and high visibility, too. Awesome!

There’s a lot I love about this trail, but mostly it boils down to this:  It was built with commuters in mind. It’s all about connectivity.  It doesn’t mess around with touristy touches like plaques that talk about the history of the area or much else in the way of aesthetic touches..  It’s built for speed and it’s designed to make it easy for people who live in this area to hop on a bike and ride to school, the store or work, even if work is as far away as Salt Lake City.  It also allows access to FrontRunner trains via The D&RGW trail at the Clearfield station.

State Highway 193 ends at N 2000 W, but the bike route continues west for another two miles.

State Highway 193 ends at N 2000 W, but the bike route continues west for another two miles.  Whether intentionally or not, government officials make it easier to take a bicycle than a car here.

There’s more. The trail is built behind a wall so it is separate from the highway.  The intersections are intelligently designed. Visibility is high.  The route itself is as straight as an arrow and ten feet wide so there’s plenty of room to pass.  It’s not closed from dusk to dawn, so if you need a gallon of milk at midnight you can still go by bike.

This is no small thing.  Too many people still think of bicycle trails as a recreational resource, something that is nice to have.  Too many communities pander to this mindset, and in the process end up defeating their own initiatives.  This trail is different.  It’s all about transportation.  You can feel it when you’re here and that’s important.  One more bike on the road is one less car.  One less car is part of the solution.

According to an article in the Ogden Standard Examiner, it was built for about $200,000 per mile, a pittance compared to the cost of a road.    This is another important consideration.  Bicycles can solve multiple problems from personal health to fiscal spending in one fell swoop…if we have the courage and vision to act accordingly.

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