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Friday, March 07, 2008

Belleville to develop new bicycle trail

In case you didn't read about it in today's Belleville News-Democrat, the city of Belleville, Ill., is planning to build a new bicycle trail.

The West Belleville Bikeway would connect Citizens Park with Dapron Drive near Memorial Hospital. By my calculations, that's only about a mile and a half, but the city hopes the trail eventually extends north and south to allow people to ride their bikes from one side of town to the other.

The News-Democrat also reported that the neighboring community Swansea also applied for a state grant for the second phase of its bike trail, extending the trail from Centennial Park to the MetroLink Trail and East Belleville Bikeway in Belleville. Village leaders had put the phase on hold last year while they waited for Metro, the St. Louis mass transit agency that operates the MetroLink light-rail system, to complete plans for a second phase of its trail so the two could connect.

Angela Fletcher, a spokeswoman for Metro, stated in an e-mail to the News-Democrat that the next phase of Metro's trail is planned to run three miles from North End Park, where it connects with the East Belleville Bikeway, to the Memorial Hospital MetroLink station.

Even with the proposed trails, we have a long ways to go. Our neighbors to the north, Madison County, has about 100 miles of trails. St. Clair County only has about 15 miles.

The News-Democrat article also includes a quote from Jim Klenn, the co-producer and director of the documentary "Tour de Donut: Gluttons for Punishment." Not surprisingly, Jim is in favor of extending the Belleville area's trail system.

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