Monday, August 29, 2005

Thun Trail may dissappoint future trail users

Thun Trail may dissappoint future trail users

Many of you may be aware that there is sort of an east west promotory point of trail projects at the Berks Montgomery County Line this fall. Montgomery County will soon start work on extending the western section of the Schuylkill River Trail while the Schuylkill River Greenway Association will be constructing the easternmost segment of the Thun Trail.

Unfortunately the two trails are built to totally different standards, blame the fact that Berks County simply lacks the trail building zealotry that has become Montgomery County's trademark.

Montgomery Schuylkill River Trail is well signed, and paved while the Thun Trail lacks both. The gravel treatment on the eastern section is in some places not much more than a smooth singletrack.

3 miles of the Thun Trail is on road (unsigned of course) using Old River Road and the shoulder of truck heavy.

In a related development PENNDOT has recommended the the closed section of PA 82 in Birdsboro remain a trail, but that is still up in the air.


Anonymous said...

As an avid recreational cyclist, I am happy to report that a whale of improvements have been done on the Thun Trail since 2005. My last ride there was on 08-03-08. I have a Trek hybrid bike with 32mm tires.

Starting at the Montgomery County line, the trail now has a packed cinder surface except for just a couple isolated areas. There is ample room for two bikes to pass each other. Yes, they have also erected signs at key points. If you're on a bike you have to slow down or stop to read them, but at least they're there. The crossing of 724 at Monocacy Creek Road is much safer now too; the slopes on both sides are now paved to help prevent spinning and wipeouts. I would still recommend dismounting, however, for lesser-skilled cyclists.

There is about a 1/4-mile stretch at the Ugly Mug Tavern that is still a virgin trail, for some reason. But stay with it, and you'll be back on the "real" trail in no time. The bike/walk path now goes past the baseball field in Birdsboro to Armorcast Road, which is rougher than the trail, if you can imagine that. Hopefully they will either resurface that street, or, pave over the sidewalk and make it a shared trail.

Make a right and a quick left on 724, and you will see "Bicycle PA" signs with SRT on them. These signs will take you on the paved part of the trail, which is actually Old Schuylkill Rd/River Rd. It gives a nice break to cyclists with narrower tires.

At Gibraltar, it's back to cinders, and it's marked too. This section will take you into Reading. There is pavement on this section where deemed appropriate. The only caveat here is watch for blind turns. A few signs to indicate that wouldn't hurt.

As of August 2008, only between the Brentwood trail head and the bridge at RACC (Reading Area Community College) was the surface still not upgraded. But I would assume they are working on that as time and resources permit.

I can make the trip one way west in about 75 minutes. Going east with a tail wind, knock 5-8 minutes off that.

No, it's not the same thing as the Montgomery County trails, but give Berks County credit. Slowly but surely they're getting there. At least now the Thun Trail looks like a public parkway instead of a path to nowhere.