Trail helps make city livable, citizens healthier

October 3, 2013 

Mayor Jim Gray got help from Maya Wijesiri, 3, and her mother, Wendy Wijesiri, in cutting the ribbon to open the second phase of the Brighton East Rail Trail on Monday.


National government dysfunction this week overwhelmed a local story of government function.

While Congress dithered painfully and publicly, Lexington officials joined a small girl in a cycling helmet to open a trail near her home where she and others will be able to bike, walk and run.

The one-mile trail, Lexington's first rail-to-trail project, extends the Brighton East Trail, now two miles in the east of Lexington.

The reality is great and the potential is even better. A proposed bridge over Man o' War Boulevard would link the trail into the Hamburg area and to the Liberty Trail.

When complete, that will be a five-mile link among schools, neighborhoods, shopping and restaurants as well as a safe, pleasant way to cycle or run into our world-class countryside.

That connectivity — the modern term for being able to get from one place to another — boosts the community's economic as well as physical health.

The landowner in this case, Marion Clark, donated the easement to allow the trail through her property because she realized it would be an amenity that would add value to future developments.

The abandoned rail bed runs to Clark County, opening the possibility of a dedicated trail linking Lexington and Winchester.

One mile of trail is a small thing in a way, but Lexington-Fayette County's persistent effort during the past decade and more has resulted in about 30 miles of recreational trails throughout the county that are used daily by thousands of residents and visitors. They are making us a healthier, more beautiful community that's easier to get around in a carbon-free way.

That's government function, and we're better for it.

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