Someone Wants to Build a Big Ol’ Bike Path Where Trump’s Wall Is Supposed to Be

Unclear who will be paying for it

August 29, 2016 9:00 am

There are two schools to dealing with life’s challenges:

You can grow more defensive, build a wall and hide from the issues;

Or you can grow up, and work through the issues.

Community leaders in the border towns of Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico, are looking to do the latter. At a time when a bluster about great, great walls is grabbing all the headlines, they’re quietly talking about building a path instead.

A bike path, to be more precise.

The path would utilize an abandoned stretch of the Union-Pacific Railroad that’s part of the B&B Bridge already uniting the two towns. Some 12,000 residents legally commute between the cities for work, making the path an easy and eco-friendly way to traverse the Rio Grande.

The idea came from Mauricio Ibarra, a Brownsville resident who commutes to Matamoros. He’d been using the Linear Park Trail, an eight-mile bike trail that was recently converted as part of the Rails-to-Trails initiative and connects the suburbs to urban renewal projects in downtown Brownsville, including the art museum, the zoo and the farmer’s market.

Brownsville and Matamoros have a long history. They were separated after the Mexican-American War, and the Confederates used their shared port as a way to smuggle cotton to Europe during the Civil War.

But despite a geopolitical border, the two cities share problems, from crime to poverty to Zika Virus. They also share regional assets like tourism and a shipping economy. Officials see the path as a forward-thinking way to confront their problems, and will be presenting it at the U.N.’s Habitat III Conference in Ecuador this October.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.