So much good thinking has gone into the Southwest Light Rail project. Yet it’s still possible we are overlooking a radically simpler, lower-cost option: move the trails and improve the experience at the same time.
Of all the pieces of the puzzle, trails carrying humans, pets and bikes should pose much lower-cost design challenges than massive train infrastructure. Relocated and in places elevated trails wouldn’t require the heavy landscaping, irrigation and retrofitting costs that made the High Line in Manhattan so expensive. But it could become as dynamic a section as the High Line. All we need is enough pavement to accommodate two bike and one pedestrian lane, safely separated from the tracks. Personally I can’t wait to fly through the trees on what would be a new destination stretch in our trail system!
Let’s tap the wisdom of our talented design community and develop a much more cost-effective solution. Let’s build our own, better version of the High Line — maybe the “Fly Line?” Build a source of local and even national interest while we’re at it. Set a dramatically lower budget and design to it.
We need the rail line, we want the trails — so let’s get creative instead of digging ourselves into more expensive, entrenched thinking.