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Towns on US-Mexico border plan shared bike path

Twin cultural centres would be linked by cycle route across a bridge

Innovatively-coiffed presidential candidate and well-known wall advocate Donald Trump will doubtless have his head in his tiny hands at the prospect of this, but two adjoining towns sitting either side of the US-Mexico border are planning to construct a bike path which will join the two.

Matamoros–Brownsville is a metropolitan area which straddles the border. Brownsville is in the US state of Texas while Matamoros is in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Mauricio Ibarra, planning director for Matamoros, lives in Brownsville and like many people he crosses the border twice daily for his commute. He’d like to see stronger links between the two.

Citiscope reports that Brownsville has an eight-mile cycle trail that follows the path of an abandoned rail line and which takes riders to the city’s cultural district where they will find an art museum, restored historic buildings and a zoo, It is also where the local farmer’s market is held.

“They really have done it well,” says Ibarra, who now wants to do something similar for Matamoros.

As well as creating new green spaces and the city’s own cultural district, Ibarra also wants the Mexican bike paths to link up with those across the border via a bridge over the Rio Grande.

Ibarra visited Ruth Osuna, Brownsville’s assistant city manager in charge of downtown revitalisation regarding the project. Osuna says the two urban renewal projects are basically adjacent to each other, separated by the border. “Their project ends where ours begins,” she said. “Everybody is trying to separate us, but we keep coming together.”

The border crossing often backs up with cars heading into the US and it is thought a bike lane could help – although an X-ray machine that can handle bike traffic would be needed and the US Department of Homeland Security would have to set that up.

Ibarra is calling the combined project the "Centro Cultural Binacional," or binational cultural centre.

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