Proposed rail to trail plan featured in national publication

BROWNSVILLE — The Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Transportation and Tourism Plan is getting national interest. The venture was featured in the spring/summer 2017 trouble of “Rails to Trails Magazine,” the legitimate guide of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Washington D.C., primarily based on RTC, which enables rails-to-trails projects around the use, has also assigned someone to help discover the money for the project. The agency already had the specific Active Plan, a “task of national significance” for its community, connecting a couple of groups in Cameron County.

The plan envisions a 428-mile community of biking, pedestrian, and paddling trails connecting Brownsville and nine different communities within the Lower Valley: Combes, Harlingen, Laguna Vista, Los Fresnos, Los Indios, Port Isabel, Rancho Viejo, San Benito, and South Padre Island. The proposed West Rail Trail, which would convert eight miles of former Union Pacific railroad right-of-way into the hike-and-bike path from the B&M International Bridge to I-69E at Olmito, is covered inside the Active Plan, formally followed final November. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy encouraged the West Rail Trail proposal last year.

In 2015, the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation donated $100,000 to develop the Active Plan, with each of the ten groups contributing an identical quantity. Brownsville is the lead city in the initiative. The magazine article, titled “A New Star for Texas,” describes the task as a “bold plan” that could start with six top-priority “catalyst tasks” connecting present trails and leisure areas and serving as a spine for the bigger Active Plan network. The combined segments would create a 75-mile trail community with 57.5 miles of multi-use trails, on-road motorcycle routes, and 18 miles of paddle trails.

The Arroyo-Resaca phase could hyperlink Harlingen and San Benito via two separate corridors: the Bahia Grande Trail piece would join the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park with the Bahia Grande Unit of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, and the Battlefield Trail extension phase might enlarge the Palo Alto battlefield path four. Two miles to Los Fresnos from its cutting-edge terminus at Palo Alto.

The South Padre Island Trail could join the town of South Padre Island with the Island’s undeveloped northern stretch; the Arroyo Colorado Paddling Trail would link inland groups with the Laguna Madre and intersect parts of the Active Plan’s proposed hike-and-bike network as well as a proposed U.S. Bicycle Route that’s additionally among the catalyst initiatives.

Proposed U.S. Bicycle Route 55 might create a scenic direction connecting coastal and bayside groups in Cameron County with the Laguna Madre National Wildlife Refuge. HALFF Associates Inc. Designed the Active Plan’s system of trails in partnership with Toole Design Group and the Adventure Cycling Association. Brownsville City Commissioner Rose Gowen, a champion of hike-and-bike tracks who joined the RTC board one year ago, said the designers chose flashy tasks as catalysts for you to help bounce begin the Active Plan.

She stated that a 7th mission, a cantilevered hike-and-motorcycle course attached to the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway, fell after the Texas Department of Transportation raised logistical worries. “It’s now not viable presently,” Gowen said. “There are quite a few other thoughts we’re kicking around. One might be a ferry moving backward and forward among South Padre Island and Port Isabel.”

The other catalysts are “a great deal extra shovel-geared up,” she said. They’ll price cash, of direction, with an estimate of between $24.Eight million and $forty.7 million for all six. That’s where RTC comes in handy. Gowen stated that the business enterprise has assigned one of its human beings full-time to find grants and is leading technological expertise in virtual mapping.

“They additionally have numerous public family members experience that we don’t have,” she stated. “We would rent a person to do all of that, and that they can find cash that we don’t. All of a sudden, we’ve got this extraordinary helper.” Gowen stated she discovered RTC’s projects-of-national-significance designation at her first board assembly and found out they have been all placed around fundamental metropolitan regions. None turned into in the south.

Sandy Ryan
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