You Can Now Ride a Bike from Kansas City to St. Louis on Nation's New Longest "Rail-Trail"
Converted from abandoned railways, rail-trails are forging an explosive network of bike and pedestrian cross-country connections. The best part about rail-trail conversions opposed to newly developed trails is that most of the groundwork is already done.
In Missouri, the goal is to connect the state's two largest cities, Kansas City and Saint Louis. These cities lie on the far western and eastern borders of the state (respectively), meaning that although they both call Missouri home, they aren't as close as one might think.
This unique geographical problem has had to be addressed throughout Missouri's history through the development of riverboat infrastructure, railroads, and the interstate highway system. Now, the Katy Trail can provide the crucial connection for cyclists and pedestrians.
The trail extension provides a link between the rural town of Windsor, MO and Pleasant Hill, a far suburb of Kansas City. Starting in eastern Machens, MO, the Katy Trail now officially connects both Saint Louis and Kansas City metro areas. However, there is still work to be done to bring the trail into the urban cores.
Rail-trails have laid a strong foundation for long-distance, off-road bike and pedestrian travel, but they can't be the end of the road. If the United States hopes to achieve a truly accessible and extensive countrywide trail network, it's going to take action on the state, county, and civic levels.
That's why the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy takes on a wide-ranging vision. Their philosophy is "to take a cross-disciplinary approach to ensuring trails and trail networks serve to enhance the social, economic, environmental and public health of communities". It's not just about the trails, it's about how people and communities can utilize them for a better,