The Cultural Trail is generally viewed as a successful project by downtown boosters, but it is not without some reasonable criticism.Â This post is not intended to be a rebuttal to Connie Ziegler’s provocative post, but rather a reaffirmation of my own feelings towards the trail.
Last Saturday I rode my bike down most of the completed portion of the trail.Â Here’s what my route looked like:
Here’s a rundown of why I love the trail:
- Crossing city streets on bike or foot no longer feels like a dangerous task.
- A few prime parking spots along Massachusetts Avenue have been lost forever.Â The world has not ended.
- After I left the Cultural Trail and rode down West Street, I suddenly remembered what it was like to be on a be on a widened street intended for vehicles to travel as fast as possible.Â And then I remembered that is what life is like along a good portion of our city’s streets.
- Stopping at a place like Tavern on South for a beer or 2 is more rewarding when one doesn’t have to worry driving a car.Â This has nothing to do with the Cultural Trail per se, but needs to be mentioned regardless.
- Art installations for personal reflection and potential conversation.
- Anything that can draw more people to the American Legion Mall is a good thing.Â These parks between Meridian and Pennsylvania are a civic treasure.Â Let’s use them!
- Potential for development.Â Trailside on Mass may be the first multi-use structure to use its name to draw inspiration from the trail, but it might not be the last.
- The light installations.Â I wasn’t sure about them at first, but I’ve come to realize that they help the city seem more vibrant and forward-thinking.
- I’ll let Curt Ailes speak about this in detail: Rain gardens.
I’m sure there are more positives than this.Â I would guess that others will mention them in the comments.Â Please feel free to inspire me even further.