The most basic thing that can be done is to encourage the simple pleasures of walking and cycling. It is something of a tribute to Americans that they do as much cycling and walking as they do, for very little has been done to encourage these activities, and a good bit, if inadvertently, to discourage them. We are spending billions for our new highways, but few of them being constructed or planned make any provision for safe walking and cycling. And many of the suburban developments surrounding our cities do not even have sidewalks, much less cycle paths.
Europe, which has even greater population, has much to teach us about building recreation into the environment. Holland is constructing a national network of bicycle trails. In Scotland, the right of the public to walk over the privately owned moors goes back centuries. In Scandinavia, buses going from the city to the countryside have pegs on their sides on which people can hang their bicycles. Car ownership is rising all over Europe, but in the planning of their roads and the posting of them, Europeans make a special effort to provide for those who walk or cycle.
Why not here? Along the broad rights-of-way of our highways—particularly those in suburban areas—simple trails could be laid out for walkers and cyclists. Existing rights-of-way for high tension lines, now so often left to weeds and rubble, could at very little cost be made into a ‘connector’ network of attractive walkways.
—OUTDOOR RECREATION RESOURCES REVIEW COMMISSION, Outdoor Recreation for America, 1962
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