Bicycle Trails

Long Island is just full of surprises for me lately. Maybe it’s because I haven’t spent so much time at home in years or maybe it’s because people are working together to improve their quality of life in the non-materialistic sense. Whatever the reason, there are good surprises aside from the Grown on Long Island initiative. (See post August 12, 2009.)  The newest discovery for me is the paved bike path near my house. My youngest sister, always on the move, explores everywhere by bicycle. She and her friend watched the construction of a bike path along the power lines.

In April 2009, a New York Times article by John Rather reported about the Rails-To-Trails Project on Long Island. There are many defunct railroad right of ways on Long Island, many of which are now Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) property. The trails are easily accessible from existing roads and the project could be completed within two years and would connect Port Jefferson Station and Wading River, a distance of 12 miles. The trail would pass historic landmarks and connect with other trails, including the Rocky Point State Preserve, which is part of the Long Island Pine Barrens preserve. A website, LIRR Wading River Rail-Trail,  run by Denis Byrne of the Long Island Greenways and Healthy Trails (LIGHT) has the project information and updates, with pictures of the existing trail before paving. The Three Village Community Trust announced the opening of a short 1.5 mile paved path in May. (I’m unsure if the LIRR Wading River trail is the same as this segment of greenways, but no matter what it is a good thing. Hooray for Long Island Greenways!)

My sister and I went for a bike ride because she wanted to show me the trail and it was amazing! Although short, it is a beautiful path behind houses and under the shade of trees. Best of all, so many people were using the trail! People walked or biked and waved to us and said hello. I actually felt like I lived in a community. Those of you who have grown up in a community where you regularly say hello to passers-by might not understand my amazement with this in my own neighborhood. But, we’ve never had something like this and I am so excited for the area. I think the bike path will be the start of great things around here.  Maybe it will encourage people to drive less or to just get outside more often and appreciate the environment.

Hot Springs

Norfolk-Southern tracks in Hot Springs, NC

Norfolk-Southern tracks in Hot Springs, NC

I love trains and railroad tracks. Can’t you just imagine walking forever on them?  How many stories do you know involve a train? It’s the gateway to the American west.  Historic preservation involving trains and the railroad tracks and beds, once the tracks are removed, are important part of transportation history. 

Norfolk-Southern.

Norfolk-Southern.

Does anyone know what the “179” could mean? It’s a number significant to me, which is why I took the picture, but don’t know what it means otherwise. A mile marker on the train? A station number?

If you have never read of the Rails to Trails program, check it out. It’s an excellent way to rehabilitate former rail lines to usable, environmentally friendly space while preserving the actual space, vistas, and impressions. 

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Christmas Shopping Considerations to return on Thursday November 20