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Trail terminology should reflect usage and community benefit

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

By Mike Brooks

The term “bike trail” is frequently used to describe any wide pathway that is adjacent to, but apart from a road. “Bike trail “is a term that falls short in describing a trail’s full potential to advance inclusive mobility within a community.

The Mark Sather Trail is a case in point. It runs parallel to the northern shore of White Bear Lake and Lake Avenue and its 10-foot width is filled with a daily blend of walkers, runners, dog walkers, stroller pushers, and wheelchairs, as well as bicycles. Infrastructure planners would correctly refer to trails like the Sather as a shared-use trail, even though a lot of bicycles us the trail.

Every separated trail in place or planned around White Bear Lake is designed to be a shared-use trail. Gateway, Brown’s Creek, and the Hardwood Creek Regional Trail through Hugo are all shared-use trails.

The shared-use terminology is consistent with Lake Links’ mission. Communities are communities because they recognize the shared responsibility in providing for everyone. This timeless mindset is why shared use trails will never solely be bike trails and the Lake Links Trail will always be a trail for everyone.

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