Tag Archives: Tempe Town Lake

Fabulous Bicycle Bridges of the West

By Richard Fox, enCYCLEpedia.net

Some of the most interesting and imaginative bridges in the western US and Canada are of the bike/pedestrian variety. Many have become showpieces and even tourist attractions.  It’s a great way for a municipality to both foster recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, and to bolster its reputation as a destination and a forward thinking community.

The prime example is Santiago Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge spanning the Sacramento River in Redding, Northern California.  This cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge actually forms a sundial, and its opaque decking is illuminated at night.  It has become the centerpiece and main attraction of Redding, known to cyclists for its 35 miles of bike trails along the Sacramento River, and has generated millions of dollars of tourist revenue. We witnessed the Bandaloop acrobats perform on the bridge for its 10th anniversary.

 

Also spanning the Sacramento River along its bike trail system is this unique stress-ribbon bridge.  Another stress-ribbon bridge in this region, that we have yet to visit, spans the Rogue River in Grants Pass Oregon.

 

The David Keitzer Lake Hodges Bike & Pedestrian bridge is 990 feet long, the longest stress- ribbon bridge in the world.  Lake Hodges is one of the prime easy-scenic mountain bike areas in San Diego County. These photos show a difference in the area during a wet and dry year.

 

The lovely Wagon Creek Bridge over the Wagon Creek inlet to  Lake Siskiyou near Mt. Shasta City completed a trail system around the entire lake.

 

The best example of incorporating art into a bike/ped bridge is in Tacoma, Washington.  The city’s rising star is reflected in its waterfront reconstruction and commitment to improving bicycling infrastructure. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long bridge linking the Museum of Glass to downtown Tacoma and its cultural corridor. While more practical for peds, bikes are allowed on it as part of a fabulous tour of the Tacoma waterfront.  For those interested in glass art, the walls and ceilings full of glass sculptures and free-standing pieces make this a world class attraction.

 

A railroad trestle is a mainstay along many a rail trail, and the wooden Kinsol Trestle near Lake Cowichan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia was restored beyond its original glory as part of the Cowichan Valley Trail.  At 144 ft high and 617 ft long, it is the one of the largest structures of its type in the world.  Also in BC, the Myra Canyon trestles (not shown) near Kelowna are part of an iconic bike ride along the Kettle Valley Railroad rail trail.

 

The Pacific Electric regional rail trail in SoCal’s Inland Empire parallels historic Route 66, and the designers took full advantage of that fact by refurbishing this former railroad bridge with Route 66 designs. Cities from Claremont to Rialto have joined in to make this 21-mile path a successful regional feature.

 

Another refurbished railroad bridge in Folsom, CA, that connects to the American River regional trail,  evokes the old-west heritage of the town.

 

The Phoenix area is criss-crossed by canals and other aquatic infrastructure, and the municipalities have been generous about constructing bike trails along them.  Shown here are the new Tempe Town Lake Bike and Pedestrian Bridge, and an interesting bridge at the “Scottsdale Waterfront” that spans a canal.  Paved paths along the Scottsdale Greenbelt, Tempe Town Lake and several canals enable fun fabulous off-road cycles in this area.

 

This fabulous bike bridge along the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho is a highlight of the spectacular 72-mile paved Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes, that follows the former route of the old silver mining trains.

 

This former railway bridge now carries bikes ‘n pipes across the Columbia River as part of the scenic Wenatchee bike trail system that spans both sides of the river.

 

And finally, the construction of the sleek Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge over Rose Creek Inlet in San Diego in 2012 was literally a life saving project, taking hordes of cyclists off of a dangerous road and onto less crowded streets and pathways around Mission Bay.

Scottsdale-Tempe Scenic Bike Trail Loop

by Richard Fox   Updated February 2018

From November to April, and on many days in October and May, the weather in the Phoenix, Arizona area is picture perfect.  While the most scenic areas are in the natural Sonoran desert parks in the outskirts of the city and best suited to be seen by mountain bike, there is an extensive network of pleasant bike trails throughout the city, many adjacent to a system of canals and drainage channels that traverse the area. Most consider the trails along the Scottsdale Greenbelt and Tempe Town Lake next to Arizona State U to be the best and scenic of these paths.  We have explored these paths, and combined with a route along pleasant canal-side trails to come up with a 22-mile scenic loop with plenty of highlights along the way, including the rock formations of Papago Park, the new developments along the Arizona Canal in Scottsdale, a side trip to Old Town Scottsdale and two interesting bike-ped bridges. The final link in the loop was recently completed along the Arizona Canal Trail in Scottsdale, making this a world-class urban loop ride.

A highlight is the fabulous new ped-bike bridge over Tempe Town Lake.
A highlight is the fabulous new ped-bike bridge over Tempe Town Lake.
Cycling along Tempe Town Lake, with ASU's mountain in the background.
Cycling along Tempe Town Lake, with ASU’s mountain in the background.
The Cross Cut Canal makes a nice N-S connector between Tempe Town Lake and the Arizona Canal.
The Crosscut Canal trail makes a nice N-S connector between Tempe Town Lake and the Arizona Canal.
Scenic portion of Cross Cut Canal Trail near Papago Park.
Scenic portion of Crosscut Canal Trail near Papago Park.
The Cross Cut Canal Trail connects to the Arizona Canal Trail.
The Crosscut Canal Trail connects to the Arizona Canal Trail shown here.
Arizona Canal Trail through downtown Scottsdale.
Arizona Canal Trail through downtown Scottsdale’s “Waterfront” district.
Interesting bike-ped bridge over Arizona Canal in downtown Scottsdale.
Interesting Soleri bike-ped bridge over Arizona Canal along the “Scottsdale Waterfront”.  The trail between this point and Indian Bend Wash Trail was previously packed gravel, but it has become a paved pathway with signaled street crossings, vastly improving the route.
A few blocks on surface streets from either the AZ Canal Trail or the Indian Wash Trail brings you to tourist favorite Old Town Scottsdale.
A few blocks on surface streets from either the AZ Canal Trail or the Indian Bend Wash Trail brings you to tourist favorite Old Town Scottsdale.
The AZ Canal Trail feeds into the Indian Bend Wash Trail  through the Scottsdale Greenbelt.
The AZ Canal Trail feeds into the Indian Bend Wash Trail through the Scottsdale Greenbelt.
Interesting bridge art along Indian Bend Wash Trail.
Interesting bridge art along Indian Bend Wash Trail.