Despite occupying opposite sides of the border, Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, share a lot in common. Approximately 12,000 workers cross the shared boundary each day to get to their jobs in the neighboring towns. Matamoros city planner and Brownsville resident Mauricio Ibarra is one of them, and now he’s proposing a bike path that would bridge the two cities, Citiscope reports.
The inspiration for the idea came from Brownsville’s own bike trail project. Linear Park on the U.S. side is an 8-mile bike route built along the abandoned Southern Pacific Rail line. It leads to the town’s cultural district, which is home to parks, museums, and a weekly farmer’s market.
Ibarra hopes to build a similar bike path that ends in downtown Matamoros on the opposite side of the Rio Grande, but with one major innovation: The path would cross the B&M Bridge and join with Linear Park across the border.
Border towns around the world are connected to each other in unusual ways. (In the town of Baarle that straddles the Dutch-Belgian border, patrons at certain cafes can sip coffee beside people sitting in a different country.) But a binational art district would be a landmark achievement at a border as politically charged as the one dividing the U.S. and Mexico.
Officials from both Matamoros and Brownsville are looking for ways to put the plan into action. As of now their biggest obstacle is adapting security on the B&M Bridge border crossing to handle bike traffic. Once the details are pinned down, the project could provide a cultural and economic boost to both cities.
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