Monday, April 20, 2009
Bike riders, runners and skaters turned out this weekend to celebrate the opening of a new bike trail in Imperial Beach. The trail is the latest completed section of San Diego County’s Bayshore Bikeway. KPBS reporter Katie Orr was at the ribbon cutting.
A crowd of people decked out in bright bike shorts, helmets and mirrored glasses turned out to be among the first to ride the new one mile section of trail.
County Supervisor Greg Cox says about half of the 24 mile trail is now complete. The bike path will eventually circle the San Diego Bay. But Cox says this section is especially important. He says before, bikers ran out of trail after riding down the Silver Strand and into Imperial Beach.
“And then they were forced out onto State Route 75, which is a six lane freeway, it’s Palm Avenue. But, it’s not a real conducive place to ride a bicycle. And it’s actually one of the more dangerous bike path segments we had in this county,” he says.
Cox says this section of trail was one of the most difficult and expensive to complete. It runs along an old railroad track through a wildlife preserve. And it required approval from several government agencies. The project dates back to 1978. Rider Gordy Shields was a member of the committee that first proposed the idea for the path 31 years ago.
“Well, I made a vow that I was going to live until the Bayshore Bikeway was completed. But I’m 91 now, so I got probably about eight more years,” he says.
Shields rode his bike across a bridge and through a crepe paper ribbon to help open the new trail. Plans for future sections are already in progress. Supervisor Cox says he hopes the entire project will be completed in the next few years.
Katie Orr, KPBS News