Letter: Pleasantly surprised about East Side bike trails

To the editor:

I took up bicycling this summer for health reasons. It wasn’t long before I discovered a network of state and regional bike trails that honeycombs the greater East Metro area.

Numerous bike trails in the Twin City area will take you along routes within some beautiful parks. We have some of those on paths within the Phalen and Keller Regional Parks. They provide enjoyable scenic outings. But a bonus for our area are two major trails, the Gateway and the Bruce Vento which offer  miles of shaded thoroughfares providing comfort and safety for bicyclists.

However, the true advantage of these two major trails is that they were laid upon the former railroad right-of-ways. Railroads weren’t particularly interested in providing scenery when they chose their routes.

They were looking to efficiently move goods and people to existing destinations. Now, decades later,  people on two wheels still reap the benefit of that earlier wisdom.

Beginning near downtown Saint Paul bicyclists can access these routes that will take them not only on safe recreational journeys but additionally to useful commercial destinations like Phalen Center, Gladstone, White Bear Ave, North Saint Paul, Maplewood Mall, and even as far as Oakdale, Stillwater and White Bear Lake should they desire. The practical aspects of these auto-free, level, shaded bike paths is a real bonus of which I was not aware until now, and  for which planners should be commended for providing to us. It is truly one of the finest interlacing networks of bike trails in the metro area.

Patrick Hill
East Side resident

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