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Local mayors head to Copenhagen for help with bike trail design

A safe cycling route is in the works to link Tacoma to Puyallup and regional leaders are headed to Europe for inspiration. (Photo: KOMO News)

TACOMA, Wash. - A safe cycling route is in the works to link Tacoma to Puyallup and regional leaders are headed to Europe for inspiration.

The proposed bicycle trail would run from Point Defiance Park in Tacoma all the way to the start of the Foothills Trail in Puyallup. While the ultimate vision is a paved trail stretching from Mount Rainier to Tacoma, cycling advocates are pushing to reach a smaller goal first.

“We're really focused on Tacoma to Puyallup. That's really a missing connection here in Pierce County," said Kristina Walker with Downtown on the Go, a transit advocacy group.

Bike riders who make that trip now typically head for the flatter route along River Road East, but it can be fraught with danger.

“I bring my bike on the car to here because it's a little sketchy going through town," said Steve Arbuthnot, who was out training on Thursday afternoon for the Seattle to Portland race this summer.

To help, transit advocates are teaming up with local mayors to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark this summer to get a look at how bicycle highways can be built.

“They have one of the best bike networks in the world," Walker said.

Not only could a bike trail offer another commuting option. Supporters said it could be a boon to tourism and the economy.

“We've already seen, along the existing portion of the Foothills Trail, little coffee shops and trailside stations popping up," Walker said.

The proposed trail would run a little under 10 miles, depending on the route selected. Money to actually build it still has to be identified.

As for the trip to Copenhagen, about a dozen or so local officials are expected to head out between August 5th and 10th. The group has a $40,000 budget, paid for entirely through grant money. Most comes from a Scandinavian firm called Scan-Design Foundation, with the rest put up by the Puyallup Watershed Initiative.

A community meeting to discuss the findings could happen as soon as November.

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