Great vision … but what happened to it?

I stumbled across this sign by a multi-use path in Woodbine, deep in southern N.J., on our back-to-back metric century overnight.

See the bike in the background of the sign? I figured the 2,000 miles referred to bike miles, hopefully in the form of trails and not just paint on the side of the road or, worse, sharrows. After all, it was right by a paved trail.

And I thought: Imagine if this really was what government wanted to do. New Jersey has 21 counties, so divided equally, it would be nearly 100 miles per county. Or do it by population, which would come at the expense of those really south and west, where they are too far to commute to the job hubs of NYC and Philadelphia. And if ideas for trails that were at least 5 miles long were prioritized, encouraging projects across municipalities and reducing the odds of random, disjointed trails not even connected by bike lanes … wow. (And the East Coast Greenway in New Jersey would be done! So would the Capital to Coast Trail, which may be coming back to life.)

But this is why I know this was all just talk around the time of the millennium: the governor on the sign is Christine Todd Whitman, who left office in early 2001. Usually every new governor gets his name on every sign possible as quickly as possible. Guess none of them wanted to own this one.

And the trail itself? We stopped at the Woodbine municipal center on the other side of the grassy median to ask where it goes. The receptionist had no idea. No clue about the name either. Turns out it’s the 3-mile Woodbine Railroad Trail following a section of the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroad. It connects the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge and Belleplain State Forest. Or at least peters out on what I hope are quiet roads. Downtown Woodbine looks like it has seen better days; the only commercial activity we saw was a Family Dollar store and a butcher’s shop/grocery. Would promoting the trail (and creating a small loop for casual riders) create a bit of economic pop?

About alliumstozinnias

A gardener (along with the Brit) who has discovered there is more than hybrid tomatoes. And a cyclist.
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