Author Topic: Rails To Trails missing segments.  (Read 1066 times)

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Offline John Phillips

Rails To Trails missing segments.
« on: May 10, 2019, 02:58:25 am »
Is there any interest or work on maps to fill in the 92 missing segments in the proposed Great America Rail-Trail map.

Does anyone have input about the condition of the existing 93 segments?

https://www.railstotrails.org/media/781477/grt-map-handout_final.pdf

This trail may be an easier ride than the TA. At least there will not be any steep sections on the rail bed part?

https://www.railstotrails.org/greatamericanrailtrail/

Offline dkoloko

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 11:46:34 am »
I am not enamored with rail trails when touring. Perhaps not as steep as mountains I have ascended, but twisty and bumpy and may be overloaded with bicyclists and walkers.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 12:15:22 pm »
I doubt those segments will be completed in my lifetime.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 01:35:09 pm »
John Phillips, while I would love to see this done, realistically, like John Nelson said, I doubt this will be done in the next 30-40 years.  Way too many government entities and landowners to deal with.  However, who knows. I won't stand in the way of it by any means and if I lived in the states involved, I would pursue my politicians.

I do not know the condition of the 93 existing segments but I would guess they run the gamut from paved to original ballast and washed out bridges.

Sorry to be a Mr. Downer, but have seen too many similar projects not happen due to local politics.

Best, John

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 01:47:31 pm »
^^^This^^^

OP: You also need to understand that not all existing rail trails are created "equal." For example, that map shows the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska. If you Google reviews you will read that it's not maintained nearly as well as something like the GAP in PA and MD. I also see what I think is the NorPac Trail from Montana into Idaho. I have ridden the section up to the ID border. It's not paved and has a much more natural surface that something like the GAP or the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, which is paved. East of the NorPac looks to be the Olympian Trail, which is also less improved than other trails. The Olympian uses the former Milwaukee Road right of way. Having ridden in the area west of Missoula, I can tell you that numerous sections of the right of way have been "reclaimed" by locals, one way or another, and even turned into roads. There are also bridges that were removed over time once the railroad went bankrupt and ceased operations. You can see one here:

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.02902,-114.3939338,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s1sq-5POQOGIlLjEQzMUNCw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3D1sq-5POQOGIlLjEQzMUNCw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D246.96751%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656

In this case, just outside of St. Regis, the right of way has been converted into a private road, with a clever use of old signals:

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.283866,-115.0820233,3a,90y,142.07h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1scrJAi8o1SxqnaFRXym7hoA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The point is that land acquisition issues are a huge concern, especially once a former right of way has been allowed to sit unused for decades.  Land acquisition can often be expensive and contentious. Within the last decade or so a land owner opposing the use of a former right of way through his property for a trail took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. He won.

As for grade, you are unlikely to find anything sustained much over 3%, although ruling grades can be higher.

And I would use "curvy" rather than twisty. Anything that was used from the 70s on had to have gentle enough curves to accommodate the increased rail car lengths. When I think of twisty, I think of tight, mountain road switchbacks where I can look down and see the road directly below me. Whenever possible, railroads are designed to avoid minimize curvature, which can slow train speed and increase maintenance costs.

Offline John Phillips

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2019, 10:52:13 pm »
Thanks for your inputs.

From what I can tell from the posts, some of the segments are popular enough that using them is a pain and the other end of the spectrum is a lot of missing bridges, big gaps and no easy way around the difficult to ride segments. If a street bike does not work well on a trail I really do not want to be there.
I can see that all of the gaps may never be closed on the trail but if there are reasonable detours around the gaps and unpaved trail what good segments would gain value.

Also from the comments, it looks like I should ride the TA or the Western Express and not care about the R-T project so much. R-T does not seem to compete well with Adventure Cycling rides.

Are there AC maps that include R-T segments?

I am a flatlander and R-T grade restrictions sounded good to me.
My hardest ride to date was the 82 miles of Western Express from Vallejo Ca to Rancho Cordova. I was not carrying anything and the climb out of Vallejo was very hard for me.

I would think that segment reviews, detours around bad segments and segment gaps would increase the value of the R-T project. I am 70, I am out of time to wait for them to close all the gaps.

Of the longer segments that do exist is there enough support along the trail that riding does not feel like US 50 from Carson City NV to  Pueblo CO.

Offline jamawani

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 11:28:54 pm »
John -

There are some wonderful trails across the country - usually developed locally.
This whole cross-country rail trail thing is a promo for Rails-to-Trails.
Creating mostly hype and, from their perspective, keeping the moolah rolling in.

The map has huge sections where there were not even any railroads.
(Such as my state of Wyoming) So, there are not even any railbeds to convert.

There is never the "perfect" route, but there are some damn good choices, already.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 02:38:19 pm »
My hardest ride to date was the 82 miles of Western Express from Vallejo Ca to Rancho Cordova. I was not carrying anything and the climb out of Vallejo was very hard for me.

I just generated a RWGPS route that looked like 10 miles of climbs (some steep, nothing too high) followed by a lot of flat riding.  There's a saying in the long distance cycling community that what you don't have in your legs, you need in your gears.  If your bike doesn't have gears down to about 20 gear inches, that's one good place to start.

I've written, only half joking, that the easiest way to ride the TransAm would be to fly into Wichita, ride to the Pacific, fly back to Wichita, and ride to Virginia.  That would give you the chance to build up on flat land before you hit the Rockies, and after that you're ready to face the eastern mountains.

For shorter rides, you might consider tackling the Mickelson Trail in South Dakota.  Another week or two ride would be the Natchez Trace, ride up to Nashville (getting into shape before you face the last 100 miles of hills) and perhaps head back south.

There are also some supported tours around Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota you might want to check out.  There's some hills, yes, but they're not that long, and somebody's hauling your luggage for you.  It's a nice way to enjoy some cooler cycling in the middle of a long, hot summer.

Offline TCS

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2019, 10:06:13 am »
I look at that map and see 22 US Senators in favor of federal moneys and 78 US Senators against.   :o

Completion of D.C. to Omaha Lincoln does actually look somewhat feasible, although the devil's always in the details.

My city has a 19-mile MUP, broken by a missing 500 foot long stretch across private land.  The city negotiated for ~10 years and wrung out an agreement to complete the path across the edge of the corporate campus, giving the property owners aesthetic veto power over the work as conceived & realized.  Three years into construction and the property is still barricaded on either end by 8' chainlink, I'm told by city parks&rec staffers because of disagreements over how most beautifully to bridge a small drainage ditch.   :P
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 10:22:16 am by TCS »
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline jamawani

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2019, 11:19:53 am »
My city has a 19-mile MUP, broken by a missing 500 foot long stretch across private land.  The city negotiated for ~10 years and wrung out an agreement to complete the path across the edge of the corporate campus, giving the property owners aesthetic veto power over the work as conceived & realized. 

How is it that when they want to build a 6-lane expressway, they can just use imminent domain and show up with the bulldozers - - but a 50-foot section of bike trail is impossible to achieve?

I suspect that it is a fundamental lack of political will.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 07:56:29 am »
Are there AC maps that include R-T segments?
Several. Segments in PA, MD, , VA, OH, WA, NY, MN, MO and NJ come immediately to mind. But usually you are not talking days worth of trail riding in a row, the GAP and Katy being two exceptions. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the D&R trail in NJ, between Lambertville and Milford, NJ. It's maybe 20 miles. And none of them are paved, although the D&R is rideable on good 23c or wider tires.

Offline John Phillips

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2019, 02:21:35 am »
Thank you,
I am in Sacramento Ca so I do not think I will be using any of those.
 

Offline TCS

Re: Rails To Trails missing segments.
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2019, 01:00:27 pm »
I am in Sacramento Ca so I do not think I will be using any of those.

While they say 50 million people live within 50 miles of the route   :)  , at its closest point it's over 500 miles from me   :(  .   Best wishes, but my active support will go into touring routes and cycling infrastructure closer to home.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."