An early morning jog on a neighborhood canal is one of the oldest and most common forms of exercise in Arizona. Imagine if that jog could span from Scottsdale to Tempe to Phoenix. Starting in early 2016, using the canals to get around the city will be a reality.
The Canal Multiuse Path Improvement project, predominately in Scottsdale, is reaching its final stage, a 2-mile portion between Chaparral Road and the Indian Bend Wash. Once this portion is finished, it will complete a 17-mile loop connecting communities around this great state. This means that those early morning jogs can turn into all day walks to explore the next city over.
The path improvement project began as a means to help travelers with wheels, such as mothers with strollers, use the canal with the new concrete path. A second function for this concrete path is to reduce the dust that is kicked up from those using the canal.
The new path will span 10-feet wide and will have an unpaved portion next to it that will allow runners and horseback riders to still use the canal. The concrete portion will only be on the west side, leaving the east side of the canal unchanged for recreational purposes. This means the best of both worlds for those who consider the canal system an exercise or recreational must.
There is another hidden advantage to completing this multiuse path: tourists. Pedestrian paths allow people to safely travel through the city and to really see the city at the same time. Cities all over the nation have gained reputations because of exercise paths for pedestrians that do not allow any form of motor vehicles.
In Indianapolis, there are multiple pedestrian trails throughout the city that encourage tourists to visit the city and use the trails for seeing the city. The most famous is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. This is an 8-mile trail that connects six different cultural enclaves and has nearly 200 restaurants and 50 attractions.
Another famous pedestrian walk way is the High Line in New York City. This 1.45-mile walk takes place on an elevated old railroad track. The walk way has been cleaned up and plants were planted to make the walk through the city more enjoyable. The High Line Walk Way was inspired by the Promenade Plantée in Paris.
These pedestrian paths are becoming the hidden gems of cities. Not only do they encourage residents to use the paths and discover something new at the next city, they also attract tourists by encouraging city explorations. So well done Scottsdale for adding something new that benefits the quality of life of residents, and surly tourism markets can and should use the path to showcase Scottsdale in a great and new way.