Second Shore

Great Bike Paths Elevate a City


Defining Characteristics

  • Separation from motor-vehicles.
  • Important commuting arteries that give cyclists direct access to business districts and avoid traffic and street crossings.
  • Separate from motor traffic for all or most of its length.
  • Often run alongside a body of water and parkland; 9 of 12 abut a river or canal.
  • Other factors: exceptional views of, and access to, the city; good for recreational riders and tourists; engenders city pride in it.
  • While bike lanes are nice, nothing quite puts cycling on par with driving like a dedicated bike path.

USA’s Top 12 Bike Paths

  1. Midtown Greenway, Minneapolis: 5.5mi; no major breaks in traffic; busy with commuters year-round; plowed in winter; usage by 4.5% commuters. (note: 1.5% of Chicago’s commuters use bicycles)
  2. Boulder Creek Path, Boulder, Colo.: 7.5mi.
  3. Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle: 27mi; backbone of city‘s cycling infrastructure.
  4. Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade & Springwater Trail Corridor, Portland: 23mi; includes 1.5mi floating pathway, longest of its kind in the U.S.
  5. Cherry Creek Bike Path, Denver: 20mi; due to central location and infrequent intersections the path is a commuter highway.
  6. Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, Austin, TX: 10mi.
  7. Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, Boston: 10mi trail connects Greater Boston; terminates at train station "pedal and park" facility.
  8. Lakefront Trail, Chicago: 18mi scenic pathway without motor traffic.
  9. Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, NYC: a 28mi, mostly unbroken pathway almost path perfect for commuting and seeing the sites of NY.
  10. Willamette River Trail, Eugene, Ore.: 12mi on both sides of river; 6%.
  11. American River Bike Trail, Sacramento: 32mi route from downtown to neighboring towns; few road crossings and flat terrain make this trail is a favorite for commuters and those looking for a weekend ride.
  12. Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia: 23mi nearly unbroken path; a boon to commuters looking for a scenic shortcut through parts of downtown and recreational cyclists making a weekend escape.

Source: Top urban bike paths across the USA, USA Today, July 23, 2013

Source: Top urban bike paths across the USA, USA Today, July 23, 2013