Keeping the silent sports community informed and self propelled.
The construction of a .85-mile, $800,000 trail behind his house prompted a Des Moines, Iowa, resident to ask a newspaper columnist to find out if the high cost of trail building is worth it to taxpayers.
Lee Rood of the Des Moines Register complies by doing an inventory of the city's trail projects, which she writes will cost at least $3.1 million in taxes this year.
She then examines the demand for these facilities.
Residents who spoke up at town hall meetings and answered a poll in February indicated that a majority "are willing ti pay for the higher quality of life that trails bring," city officials told Rood.
“Recreational trails are right up there in the top tier of priorities, along with public safety,” said Councilwoman Christine Hensley, referring to the poll results.
Don Tripp, who heads the park and rec department, told the newspaper that Des Moines’ trails are used more than 2.5 million times a year.
Meanwhile, Iowa transportation officials are on the lookout for evidence that people are driving less, reflected nationally. The National Household Travel Survey reports Americans are driving six percent fewer miles per year than just six years ago.
And young people, age 16-34, "are driving almost 2,000 fewer miles every year, and have increased their use of public transportation by 100 percent. Cycling is up by 122 percent, and walking is up 37 percent," according to the survey.
Already seeing a need to better accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, city officials in La Crosse, Wisconsin, are gathering input from the public.
To talk about how to make the community safer for bicycling, about 30 bike enthusiasts attended a La Crosse Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan workshop on April 14, according to News8000.com.
A similar session focused on pedestrian safety was set to take place the following Monday. A plan presented to the city council should result later this year. The city has a $87,000 grant from Wisconsin Department of Transportation to implement street improvements, the website reported.