Pathways to Happiness, Health and Prosperity.
Today was a big day. I signed off on the latest issue of Rails to Trails magazine and in doing so launched our latest programmatic campaign: to sell the concept of rail-with-trail to the American public.
Rail-with-trail – trails alongside active rail corridors rather than the abandoned or disused ones you normally associate with rail-trails – is a growing focus of the organization. Last year we published a groundbreaking report about how these surprising and little-known facilities are actually more common than many think, and very safe, and one of the fastest booming trends in urban planning and transportation infrastructure.
But this cover story marks the beginning of our public push behind the concept. Though it is relatively well-understood by trails professionals, to the casual trail user the idea of having a train running alongside a biking or hiking or horse-riding trail is a jolting anomaly, an error.
But surprisingly, of the 1,800 rail-trails across America more than 1 in 10 of them is a rail-with-trail. They are in the biggest cities and the most isolated landscapes. They are long and they are short. They run alongside giant, chugging freight engines and beside quiet, sleek light rail cars. Like rail-trails everywhere, rails-with-trails defy pigeonholing.
As a communications professional it is a compelling story to tell – surprising and futuristic and easily busting many preconceived notions with ample evidence. Over the next few months I’ll be working with my friends in the media across the country to tell this terrific story and further educate people about the extraordinary creative potential of rail-trails. A future that involves the continued development of rail-with-trail is a future RTC is working hard to realize. Communications and the public debate is an important part of that effort, and it’s work I’m excited to be a part of.
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