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Old October 6th, 2011, 02:47 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 5
Thumbs up El Rio Trail update

I was in S. Florida last weekend and skated on most of the El Rio Trail. The Raillink.com website has a short and accurate description but I'm adding a few observations.
The trail parallels an old canal and is mostly smooth asphalt. As traillink mentions there are several grade crossings and one Tri-Rail crossing.
I started at the Boca Raton TriRail station and headed south. A short footbridge connects the rail station with the trail. After a few hundred meters the trail passes below I95 and changes from asphalt to concrete for 50 meters or so. The first grade crossing is NW 40th Street which, on a Saturday morning, had light vehicular traffic and was a fairly easy crossing.
The trail crosses from the east side of the canal to the west about 700 meters after NW 40th Street. The bridge is short but beware of the abrupt turn and expansion joint gaps on either side of the bridge.
After another straight stretch of 1200 meters is the second grade crossing, NW 20th Street. This road is even more lightly traveled but on a weekday there may be heavier traffic to and from Florida Atlantic University which is just west of the trail.
The southern terminus of the trail is another 800 meters south at Glades Road. I extended my skate for a few minutes at this point and skated west on the Glades Road sidewalk to East University Drive and then northbound on E. University to NW 20th Street and then eastbound to where the trail crosses NW 20th. The sidewalk on NW 20th is in poor condition so I recommend the road for this short stretch.
I reversed course and skated back to the TriRail station. The trail actually extends another 200 meters to the Northeast to Yamato Road (NW 51st Street). After crossing Yamato Road AND the TriRail tracks you can connect to the northernmost 1600 meters of the trail where it terminates at Clint Moore Road. As Traillink suggests, crossing Yamato Road and the TriRail tracks may be extremely hazardous unless you skate westbound to the traffic light at Congress Avenue and then cross Yamato Road and back eastbound to the trail.
I chose not to make this crossing and called it quits at the TriRail station. The train station makes a fairly good starting point with free parking and some food and beverage stores nearby. Although the Rail Authority prohibits skating in the station itself you may want to lace up in the parking lot (west) side, take the elevator up, skate over the tracks on the bridge, take the elevator back down to the Trail (east) side and then join the trail from there.
The El Rio Trail is a decent multi-use trail for inline skating and although fairly short is still wide and smooth enough to make it enjoyable.
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