As bike trail plans to cross the country, Quad Cities to benefit

Local News

Cyclists who want to ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans could have a route that cuts right through the Quad Cities.

Washington state to Washington D.C., that’s the plan of the Great American Rail Trail, a biking and pedestrian path all across the United States.

QC Bicycle Club President Dave Ring said, “It’s the perfect opportunity for people to come to the Quad Cities.”

Dave Ring, the president of Quad Cities Bicycle Club said he’s had a long history on his bike.  

Ring said, “I’ve cycled all my life. You know, like any other kid, you had a bike. I had a paper route.”

Now, cycling is about fitness and family and doesn’t see this recreation hitting the breaks in the QC.

Ring said, “The Davenport GO and Bettendorf continue to increase the trails and the markings and that, it’s only going to get better.”

Part of that better for Dave is the Quad Cities’ nationwide biking connection.

Organizers are connecting the dots of existing trails and working to fill the gaps between by working with communities to construct new trails.

Rail Trail, once completed, will comprise the Mississippi River Trail in Davenport and Great River Trail in Moline and Rock Island. 

Rails to Trails Conservancy Vice President Brandi Horton said, “The Rail Trail is basically the conversion of a disused railroad corridor into an interim transportation use, known as a trail.”

It’s more than 50 percent complete.

Supporters want to get federal and state financing to help with the effort.

“The Outdoor Recreational Trust Fund here in Iowa was voted in by Iowans and it’s just been sitting there empty.” Horton said, “We are hoping in 2020, we’ll be able to get the support for Iowa to get that filled, and that would provide 18 million dollars in funding for trails so that would be an incredible resource. Then on the other side in Illinois, there’s actually federal funds that haven’t been spent.”

Rails to Trails is also pushing for federal funding in the 2020 transportation bill.

On either side of the Quad Cities, tires are waiting for holes in this project to be filled. 

Horton said, “Call attention to those gaps and call attention to the fact that there are funding opportunities just sitting on the table, ready to be used.”

For organizers, building more trails is a way for people to feel safer pedaling around. 

Horton said, “They’re in traffic and they’re not comfortable doing it, so once you start to build these connections, and you really start to create seamless routes, in and between places, people use them more.”

Organizers told Local 4 News while the entire 3,700 miles won’t be complete for man years yet, planned portions of that are being finished including one in the Illinois Quad Cities area between East Moline and Colona, which will be ready in the next year or two.

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