Bike Paths Rock! Testdriving the Lakewalk Extension. DITCH YOUR CAR. DO IT!

ImageWhile belting out the GnR classic, “Paradise City,” I tried out our full Lakewalk extension today. Like a main artery in a healthy circulation system, this path will now take you all the way to the end of the horizon in the picture above, and to the Aerial Lift Bridge at the head of Lake Superior. It traverses much of the city, and while this extension was the shortest, it was by far the most expensive and complex.

ImageThe two shots above depict a tunnel under one of the busiest roads in town, and a very fine bridge that spans the Lester River gorge. This was real flippin’ expensive, and we’re not talking burgers here (steaks and lobsters are more like it). I’m glad we weren’t penny wise and pound foolish however. In a time of austerity we all need to tighten our belts, but how about our literal belts for a change? The past 80 or so years of development have led to a health crisis of obesity, diabetes, among other maladies. Infrastructure like this encourages healthy living for individuals and families. Bike paths like this open up the city for a viable alternative mode of transportation. Now, for instance, it will be possible for families to bike to the very popular picnic park on the far eastern end of town, which was previously a destination most families would take by car due to traffic safety issues. Tonight I was able to bike through this lovely park on Lake Superior by biking under the very busy London Road on a very busy tourist day (Friday before Labor Day), and I was so thankful to do without the stress of crossing the road! Add in a couple kids, and you’re opening a whole world of possibilities. Literally hundreds (if not thousands) of kids will grow up with biking and walking being  preferred methods of transportation rather than a novelty to grow out of. I see the smiles of children of all ages, families, and elderly couples, as they use the Lakewalk every day, and it really is heartwarming. These sorts of investments truly are worth the expense, and are just a fraction of the cost of increased healthcare due to outmoded infrastructure that encourages a sedentary existence. I hope you have something similar where you live and are enjoying it. FYI to local peeps here in Duluth, this section isn’t officially open yet. After work hours it seems ok to pass through though.

The next stage involves connecting this trail to the Munger Trail, which will result in about 80 miles of connected bike path that will terminate in the central part of the state. Neato.  Then, ultimately the goal is to connect all the way up to the trail in progress that will stretch to Grand Marais (about 30 miles from the Canadian border). Eventually you’ll be able to bike all the way from the Twin Cities to Grand Marais safely, which is truly awesome. This will be an alternative type of vacation for quite a number of folk methinks. In a week I’ll do a 160 mile round trip there and back down the Lakewalk/Munger dealio, and I’m looking forward to it. Happy trails y’all…

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