The path — known as the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia and as the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama — is the longest contiguous paved bike route in the United States. It’s a feather in the cap of the region, particularly the various local governments that dedicated dollars to building and maintaining the trail in their jurisdictions.
Those investments have paid handsomely, as bike traffic and the accompanying retail activity has steadily increased over the years. According to one tally, 2010 was the best year for visitors in the trail’s 20-year history.
Cities like Weaver, Jacksonville and Piedmont are reaping the benefits just like their cousins in Georgia towns such as Rockmart, Cedartown and Powder Springs.
Anniston, however, is missing out on the opportunity. No more than a quarter-mile of the trail runs through the city, though there’s the potential to pave a path another seven miles south to the Amtrak station.
It’s no great stretch from there to envision cyclists who would pedal to Anniston from Atlanta and then hop a train back home. Along the way, they’d be encouraged to do a little shopping and dining.
Anniston Star reporter Laura Camper’s Wednesday article on the trail’s increased traffic raised the prospect of finishing the trail with Anniston city officials. Like previous times before, the prognosis looks highly unlikely.
It seems like some cities resist progress even if the path is as obvious as a line on a map.