A few weeks ago, I wrote a brief essay over state funding here in Hessen being available for bike trails. The state was opening the door and getting a topic that Green Party enthusiasts would support easily.
Today, HR (the regional TV network in Hessen), chatted up on this new idea....twenty-odd pedestrian or bike paths....totaling 8.4 million Euro that would represent a major 'trail' in the region for commuters.
The idea? A trail established between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. It's roughly twenty miles or twenty-eight kilometers.
The idea in present form is to open up a path that would lead into Sachsenhausen (the 'burb' on the southside of the river to Frankfurt).
The amount of time to develop this? This was the curious part to the story....they envision it taking ten years. It's hard to figure why it'd take this long other than they'd only be getting a small chunk of money from the state folks for each year. That might the simplicity of the problem. For a two-meter wide path...most of which already exists....it's hard to figure why a decade is figured into this.
Presently, if you wanted to bike from Darmstadt to Frankfurt, it'd take most of five hours on a bike (it's not exactly a planned trail, paved only in certain areas and you aren't supposed to use sidewalks for biking).
The concept put out there....would be dedicated concrete/asphalt trails where you could pedal along at a fair amount of speed. It should be noted in various studies....that most cyclists (on a straight and ungraded path), can make up to around fifteen kilometers per hour.
What I'd envision is various towns between Frankfurt and Darmstadt....connecting to this path via their own grants or city funding, and it'd open the door for significant usage in the decade to come....maybe several thousand people using it in the spring or summer months.
If the Frankfurt group got the go-ahead, I'd go and predict that some Wiesbaden group would accomplish a study and find a way to run a thirty-five kilometer route between Wiesbaden and Frankfurt....affecting ten regional towns between the two, and getting a fair amount of enthusiasm for a paved bike trail as well.