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October 10, 2009

Pittsburgh, the Copenhagen of Appalachia

Excellent article in USAToday proclaiming the Great Allegheny Passage as a Recession-Proof Getaway, complete with "life-affirming views amid forgiving terrain".

There's a great video of Cumberland trail activist Larry Brock describing the trail and its economic impact. The work is still in progress, but the trail is already bringing positive economic benefits to the towns while presenting low obligations for maintenance and marketing. Seems pretty green/sustainable.

Maybe next summer, maybe 2011, the trail will be complete from McKeesport to Point State Park. Then we'll see more cyclists coming into Pittsburgh with loaded bags looking for lodging, carbs, and beer.

Current status is there's a trail in McKeesport that leads over the Riverton Bridge and then stops at the trainyards. In 2010, the trail, the gas company, and the railroads will complete the trail up to the Waterfront. The Holy Grail is the hope that there'll be an accomodation negotiated with Sandcastle by 2011.

I know great bicycle advocates in Pittsburgh who believe that their efforts are best spent on projects within the city proper- sharrows (that is, share-arrows) and bike lanes, signage, etc - and while those are very important, IMO the completion of the trail between Duquesne and the Hot Metal Bridge is going to be the event that moves downtown bicycling past the tipping point.

Completion of the trail will move out-of-town cyclists into the Duquesne-Southside-Station Square- Jail Trail - Downtown corridor. That will present a volume and a presence beyond that which local cyclists generate. It'll be a force-multiplier.

People will be coming into Pittsburgh to ride to DC, people will be coming from DC along the trail. Their economic impact will include bike accomodations, bike lockers, bicycle friendly hotels and restaurants, etc.

To a lesser extent, you'll see people flying into Pittsburgh with their bikes in bike-boxes and trying to ride out of the airport to a hotel near the trail complex - and then we'll see momentum for the Montour Trail's Enlow Road Connector.

I'm thinking our next sobriquet might be "Pittsburgh, the Copenhagen of Appalachia".


Anonymous said...

Coo. :o)

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