By Jake Lynch
How Rail-with-Trail is
Transforming America
Let’s start with a “birth of a rail-trail” story: In 1993, officials in the grow-
ing city of Denton, Texas, struck a deal with Union Pacific railroad for
the rights to an unused stretch of freight track. With the decline of rail
business in the area, the eight-mile line running southeast from the city
center had become a financial liability to the railroad company. However,
the people of Denton were able to make good use of the corridor: In
the Denton Branch Rail Trail opened, launching a sustained growth
in biking and walking in the city that continues today.
But Denton officials had their eyes on
an even bigger prize. Their city is just 38
miles as the crow flies from the center of
Dallas, and the leaders of Denton looked
into their crystal ball and predicted
their city would do some growing in the
decades to come. Their hunch was that
this expansion would require capacity for
mass transit, and that the eight miles of
corridor they now controlled—heading
Jay Reilly/Novus Select