When I stopped blogging, the city of Bloomington was just finishing up the first part of the "B-Line," a path on the old rail-line running North to South. The path quickly perked up the style quotient for downtown B-town, replacing an old, barely walkable stone path with a nicely paved trail. I wrote about this initial stage here.
Since then, Bloomington has extended the trail more than 3 miles, from Adams street to Country Club drive in the South. The end of the B-line connects to the Bloomington Rail Trail, an unpaved path, which, in turn, connects to the Clear Creek Trail, a paved path that runs for a little over 2 miles.
Over the last few years, my family and I have gotten much use out of the B-Line. The trail is only a couple of blocks from my house, and runs straight by my office, so I could easily get to work in about the same amount of time it takes to drive. On weekends, we take the B-line to the Farmer's Market, waving and smiling at other early-morning exercisers and market-goers.
Two weekends ago, on a nice Saturday afternoon, we decided to explore the trail on our bikes. We hopped on the B-line at Allen Street and headed South. First, over the (very steep) Bridge at Grimes.
Then down to the Rail Trail.
Followed by the Clear Creek Trail.
The ride was beautiful, even in November. Along much of it, we could pretend we were on a Superhighway in Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Once you hit the B-line at Allen Street, heading South, you don't
encounter cars again until Country Club Drive. The Rails-to-Trails crosses at several points (without very good roadway designations), but the Clear Creek clearly marks pedestrian/bike crossings, and there are only a couple to navigate on otherwise lightly traveled roads.
The smooth ride was enough to lull a toddler to sleep.
The B-line is a great asset in our community, providing a quick way for people on the near-West side to head North or South with little vehicle interaction. I certainly have much more to say about safety in Bloomington for cyclists, but for now, I only want to highlight the awesomeness that is the B-line. I don't have any numbers for use of the trail, but I do see many people going to and from downtown on their bikes or on foot. The B-line is such a great way to get downtown, I hope that, as time goes on, more people choose to forgo their cars and ride on their bikes.