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Alleys as “Urban Trails”

October 21st, 2010 | Categories: Infrastructure, People | 2 comments

Tuesday, the MD Department of Natural Resources held the state’s first ever TRAILS SUMMIT.  This full day event featured speakers from across the region on efforts to save, expand and document local trail systems.  Overall, the presenters were very good and more importantly, passionately genuine about trails.

One speaker was Tom Horton. Born and raised on the Eastern Shore, Tom was one of many “free range kids” in the room whose moms kicked us out of the house and we were only expected home at night fall.  (The good old days!)  Tom shared of his adventures paddling the Chesapeake, through the marshlands of Dorchester, even around the entire Delmarva Peninsula.   One adventure he had really hit home:  The idea of alleyways being urban trails.

He took a bike ride down Hargrove and Lovegrove alleys and saw a side of the city obscured from the streetfront.  Unique architecture, shops & murals all on a quiet stretch of “trail” that cut across the city.  I’ve taken this ride a couple times myself.  Alleys are easier to navigate when riding with novice urban cyclists.  Their slower nature gives you time to look around without having to worry about speeding traffic. (well, most of the time)

Do you know an alley or side street like this?  Where?

  • Dukiebiddle

    For particularly short trips around Midtown, like say 3 blocks or less, I prefer to use the alleyways: Morton, Lovegrove, Hargrove, Hunter, etc; but for anything longer than that using alleyways just isn’t practical transportation. Even though I already come to a complete stop at stop signs, alleyway crossing requires are far more cautious complete stop plus. I prefer the more comforting reassurance of 4-way stops and traffic signals if I’m going anywhere farther than 3 blocks.

  • Nate Evans

    If I’m on no set schedule, the alleys are a nice diversion, otherwise I stick to the main roads. I agree with your riding style modifications: I will come to a complete stop and look all directions before crossing.

    Awhile back, I posted on North B’more Bike Brigade about how alleys were designated as bike routes in my old neighborhood.



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