St. Louis area trail plans come together

Today's St. Louis Post Dispatch reports:
[In the 1990s] the metro trail map was striped with lines, mostly unconnected to others. The idea of a two-state web of interwoven bicycle trails existed on planning easels and in forward-looking speeches.

These days, the big vision is beginning to take form. Tax-supported local agencies on both sides of the Mississippi are, like the railroad builders of old, extending a network that will allow riders a choice of routes for pedaling the breadth of the metro area.

"Trails connect us," said David Fisher, director of the Great Rivers Greenway District. "They let us be healthy together. And they have become very, very popular."

Riders already can start from Laclede's Landing and pedal to Pere Marquette State Park, north of Grafton, or to near Hamel, northeast of Edwardsville. Each is a one-way ride of more than 45 miles. Madison County, the region's leader in trail-making, in October opened the Goshen Trail, which intersects with six other county trails.

When the McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi north of downtown reopens to traffic next year, a separate bike-and-hiking lane will allow a rider to cross the river and wheel back on the Chain of Rocks Bridge upstream along an eight-mile loop of trails.
Read more, and a roundup of new trails and those in development, here.