“Tracks Come Out Along the Virginia Corridor” This was the headline of a story David wrote in June of 2003. As a teenager, our son was a volunteer reporter for city of Modesto, writing community interest stories like this. His stories were published in an information newsletter, City Pride, an insert for the city’s monthly water bill.
David’s story was the first we knew of the biking and walking trail our city planned to build along the site of the old unused Union Pacific railroad track. I had been very sad, years ago, when the trains stopped running through the city of Modesto – the end of an era. But now we were happy to learn that the forlorn and neglected strip of land would have such a glorious future, and we eagerly watched the progress of the Virginia Corridor bike and walking trail.
The groundbreaking was May 23, 2005, and in January 2007 the “Centennial Junction phase” of the Virginia Corridor Trail opened to the public.
Walking with friends, and walking our dog, we have used that trail a lot! It begins at College Avenue, and future plans take the trail all the way north as far as Pelandale. How exciting – to be able to bike or walk essentially from one end of Modesto to the other!
David actually bikes from his house all the way to his job downtown on the partially completed trail, but for months now we have walked to the end of the trail and looked impatiently toward the new construction.
And finally, last Saturday, the newest section of the trail opened. John and I walked over the beautiful pedestrian bridge that spans Briggsmore Avenue! What an exciting day!
Biking and walking across Modesto is getting easier — and much prettier!
Today we were talking to our mechanic, Marty Miller, who is an avid long-distance biker and writes for a biking magazine. He had just written a piece about the bike trail and I asked him if I could quote him here in my blog:
Marty writes, “ It will benefit everyone, but particularly the bicycle commuters who live north of Briggsmore and west of McHenry, but that’s not the best part of the Virginia Corridor improvement. When the last Tidewater Southern train rolled down that track, it ended a congestion problem on Ninth Street that had been plaguing Modesto for years. Also the miles long row of gray hopper cars that took feed to the chicken plant on Prairie Flower Road west of Turlock no longer leaked product as they moved, virtually eliminating an insurmountable rodent problem in some of Modesto’s premier neighborhoods…”
(I never thought of that back when I mourned the loss of the train running through Modesto, right down Ninth Street and up Virginia Avenue)
Marty continues, “…My own commute used to include riding in the dark in the rain up Virginia Avenue with car headlights smearing through the water on my glasses, which made seeing the black 90 gallon (trash) containers in the road on Wednesday before Thursday garbage day a real dance with danger. All a memory now as I ride home on the lighted bike trail with cars and headlight off to the distant right.”
So check it out! Take your bike or your feet and start at College Avenue. Take the trail to Bowen and back for a pleasant easy four-and-a-half miles.
(Click here if you’d like to know more about the Stanislaus County Bicycle Club, or read some of Marty’s articles.)