- Do not use the trail alone; ride in pairs and “be aware”
- MPD will not patrol using cars (leaving policing only up to bike officers)
- The trail has “bad lighting” and fences are in disrepair (cut open by ne’er do well criminals)
- Holes in the fence will not be repaired, as criminals will only cut them open again
"Not using the trail alone" is almost equivalent to "don't bike commute" since most bike commuters ride alone, but it if safety is a concern than numbers help.
Much of the post linked to is concerned about the "criminals" cutting the fence. Based on observations done before the MBT was built, I suspect most of the fence cutting is actually done by people who are looking for a direct route to the Metro station. This is yet more reason why the bridge connection is needed, though I suspect some people will still prefer the on-ground route so this problem won't entirely go away. But the only criminal behaviors the fence cutters are likely involved in are the fence cutting itself and tresspassing.
CSX has some federal financial incentives to reduce rail deaths (I don't recall what those are, but I read an article about it once) and so they're interested in reducing tresspassing, but endlessly repairing a fence is probably not appealing. They could hire a security guard and put him on a lifeguard stand right at the spot where the Metro station is, but that's probably not worth it either.
There is also some concern that MPD is saying "you're on your own" which I'm not reading either. Leaving cars off the trail is a good idea. But that doesn't mean there is no patroling. MPD later writes
We actively patrol the MBT, and we have done so for at least two years. We patrol it with mountain bikes, segways, and occasionally, cars (we don’t do this often, given the size of the Trail).
We are committed to having it be a safe place for all riders, runners, walkers, baby-stroller pushers, and so on. We encourage people to use the Trail, because the more people who use it, the safer it will be.
We have been very aggressive in trying to make this a safe environment, and I think the near-absence of crime along the Trail speaks to the success of our efforts.
We do tell people, at every meeting we go to, that if you can walk, bike, run, or push baby strollers in pairs or groups, you will probably be less likely to be the target of any criminal activity than if you do so alone, and I think this is where Sgt. Queen may have been misinterpreted. This is true across the city and it’s something that all cops tell all residents: don’t walk alone, especially at night, if you can walk with a buddy or in a group.
Please, use the Trail, and feel good about being there.
When people are motivated, fences just can't keep them out. I propose a moat filled with sharks with friggin' laser beams on their heads.