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Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer - Page 3

post #31 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

frkrygow@yahoo.com wrote:

> I like when a cut-through bike path gives me a short cut, as you
> describe.


I'm not talking about little shortcuts. Around here,
I can take MUPs for a dozen miles or more through the
city and never encounter a single intersection. If my
destination is along or near one of these MUPs, they
provide not only the most efficient route but the
most pleasant one as well. Furthermore, the existence
of these facilities does not compromise cyclists'
existing road-going freedoms.

> But for the vast majority of my riding, there are never going to be
> bike paths. So I'd replace "often" with "rarely."


It obviously depends on where you live. But it would
be a shame to think that MUPs are necessarily
unhelpful facilities for serious riders. Fact is there
are very bad ones and very good ones and everything
in between. Denying the existence of well-designed,
helpful MUPs is part of the dogma of 'vehicular' cycling.
To those who want to throw the baby out with the
bathwater, it's easier to do so if you pretend there
is no baby.

Robert
post #32 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

r15757@aol.com wrote:
> It obviously depends on where you live. But it would
> be a shame to think that MUPs are necessarily
> unhelpful facilities for serious riders. Fact is there
> are very bad ones and very good ones and everything
> in between.


I think that is true. But for many "serious" riders what defines a good
path -lack of other users- is probably not what the planners had in
mind.

In the Tucson area there is one very popular and wll placed MUP. It
gets lots of traffic from walkers, joggers, skaters, and "non serious
" cyclists. But seldom does a "serious" pack use it as the heavy use
by others makes it just too slow compared to nearby roads.
OTOH there are are several MUP's around that rarely get much use by non
"serious" cyclists. As a result they are fun to ride and safe at
moderate speed and becasue of the psecifics of location and nearby road
characteristics a good choice.
But I doubt the planners like the outcome of all that $$ spent so that
50 or 60 cyclists a week (and no one else) use.
post #33 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

<frkrygow@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1128959030.381184.287510@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> There's no doubt that bike trails _can_ be faster in certain
> circumstances. However, I don't think that's usually the case, for two
> reasons.
>
> First, despite the usual lies when applying for funding, they are
> usually not built as transportation facilities. They really are long
> skinny parks. And like almost all parks, they are put down in places
> where they can be squeezed into available land. They're not put down
> like freeways, where the principle priority is usefulness of the route.


Guelph has a somewhat useful MUP/Skinny park system. Excepting the
northeast quarter and an east-west trail in the south end You can actually
get some decent transit from them.

A negative though, is that they have failed to build trails that past under
street bridges that span the Speed and Eramosa rivers. [I noticed London
Ont. has done this for its' river trails.] So you end up dodging traffic
usually at un- or poorly signalled major street crossings.

Another is the mostly stone dust surface. It just isn't as fast as asphalt.

> 1) a closed off section of park road that was already fine for biking.
> (Actually, it was better for biking _before_ they closed it to MV
> traffic and made it "no rules.")


They did something similar to Royal City Park along the Speed River. The
'park' road used to be one fairly wide lane each way running parallel to the
river with enough room for parking on one side. They changed it to one way
with parking and well speed bumped (I suspect people were using it as a
short-cut/traffic avoidance when it is not a city street proper) plus a line
of concrete 'planters' separating a non-kar lane.

The probelm is: Where are bikes supposed to go? The roadway is oneway but
people walk both ways along the 'narrow' lane. There is no signage to
indicate where bikes are expected to go. Even assuming you are going the
proper 'one way' direction which is the intended side for bikes?

[Of course I have a diagram. (What can I say? It's a boring drizzly
Thanksgiving Monday.)]

http://www.geocities.com/siklelogica...peed.river.bmp


> For myself, my utility riding is usually to work, to the library, to
> the grocery store, to the hardware store, etc. I'm lucky to have two
> blocks of shortcut bike trail to use on my seven mile commute. Other
> than that, there's _zero_ chance of any bike trails to my other utility
> destinations.


The best arterials in my town is the east-west river trail - street
crossings notwithstanding - and the southwest to northeast spurline trail
that not only allows you to take the most direct NE <> SW path but crosses
mostly quiet residential streets.

--
'In a world of postmodern fad
What was good now is bad' -jewell
post #34 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

gds wrote:

> In the Tucson area there is one very popular and wll placed MUP. It
> gets lots of traffic from walkers, joggers, skaters, and "non serious
> " cyclists. But seldom does a "serious" pack use it as the heavy use
> by others makes it just too slow compared to nearby roads.



By 'serious riders' I meant daily transportational cyclists,
rather than racers on a training ride. Even so, unless it
is insanely congested, the racers are going to have a
better go on a fully separated MUP, due to lack of
stoplights. Sometimes the road just feels faster, out
there with traffic whooshing by, even though it isn't.

R
post #35 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

frkrygow@yahoo.com wrote:

> There's no doubt that bike trails _can_ be faster in certain
> circumstances. ...


Yes, never mind what everyday cyclists in NYC
and other obscure cities might say. Your experience
in suburban Ohio is the only valid one.
post #36 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

r15757@aol.com wrote:
> gds wrote:
>
>
>
> By 'serious riders' I meant daily transportational cyclists,
> rather than racers on a training ride. Even so, unless it
> is insanely congested, the racers are going to have a
> better go on a fully separated MUP, due to lack of
> stoplights. Sometimes the road just feels faster, out
> there with traffic whooshing by, even though it isn't.
>


OK, and I would think that commuters would see more utility in a MUP
than some others.
As to my use of "serious." Most of the faster, group riders I know are
really recreational rather than racers. We may race once in a while but
"real" racers take that much more seriously. However, lots of us do
like to push the pace and tend to go to rotes that allow that to happen
in as sfe a manner as possible. So empty MUP's are OK but usually roads
are best.
post #37 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

r15757@aol.com wrote in news:1128968191.981554.295210
@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com:

> frkrygow@yahoo.com wrote:
>
>> There's no doubt that bike trails _can_ be faster in certain
>> circumstances. ...

>
> Yes, never mind what everyday cyclists in NYC
> and other obscure cities might say. Your experience
> in suburban Ohio is the only valid one.
>


Speaking as the everyday cyclist in NYC and as the upstream poster, to be
fair about this, we voted for greenways and other bike facilities, we paid
for them, we maintain and improve them, and we use the hell out of them
(125,000 regular bicycle commuters). And if every route, lane, and path
disappeared tomorrow, we would still have plenty of options and still be
faster and cheaper than the cars.

But I'm very much interested in what's happening in suburban anywhere,
especially northern industrial states like Ohio. This winter, if it comes
down to a choice between home heating oil and SUV fuel, will there be
anyone to recommend bike facilities used for transportation by those in
shape to use them? Or will the roads just be emptied by circumstances,
leaving them clear for bikes?

Or, in blunter terms, when can NYC expect to no longer be asked to write
checks to build roads in other places?

--ag
post #38 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Interestingly, every study of which I'm aware shows that these
> facilities are less safe than the road network.


There are no studies of fully-separated facilities
that I'm aware of. If you know of one I'd love to hear
about it.

I'd guess a study would find that one's chance of
minor accident are as high or higher on the fully
separated MUP as on the road, but that the chance
of life-threatening injury is much less. So you'll
have to be more specific than 'less safe.'

Robert
post #39 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

There's a bike trail between two towns I regularly ride between, and
I always take the road. Roads are great.

They go everywhere, besides.

--
Ron Hardin
rhhardin@mindspring.com

On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
post #40 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

frkrygow@yahoo.com wrote:

> So you tend to get bike trails either where a railroad has been
> abandoned, and/or along the side of some creek or river. If you happen
> to live at one end and work at the other, fine. But only a tiny
> percentage of the population is so lucky.


People often tell us that we're "so lucky" to live along a nice, popular
bike path. They seem surprised when I reply that luck had nothing to do
with it.

I'm pretty ambivalent about bike paths -- I've heard all the pro/con
arguments and agree with most of them. One aspect of the debate that
hasn't come up is that some people will choose to live with path access,
and pay a premium for it (as they might for mass transit convenience).

Although I do most of my riding on the road, and I have the option of
taking fairly good roads to downtown from my house, I'll invariably take
the bike path, despite all its typical flaws, it's just more pleasant.

People accept paying a premium or taking some trouble to live near the
water, or a golf course (even mall, I guess), my wife and I had a wish
to have cycling facilities nearby and factored that into our house
search many years ago. It has proved to be a great investment.

Sure, it's more of a "linear park" than a bike arterial, and it meanders
along a river bank -- so what? It's a place to interact with people,
enjoy nature, and get to useful destinations. That's what parks are for,
and I think a bike is as good, or better, a way to enjoy them as
anything else.

I don't think we need to segregate bike traffic or subsidize an
alternate system of bike paths, but there are circumstances where such
paths serve multiple purposes and are heavily used, warts and all. If
some are provided as corridors for commuters, and also are pleasant
enough for their own sake, I think cycle-aware people will gravitate
toward them for residence.
post #41 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

Peter Cole wrote:
> frkrygow@yahoo.com wrote:
>
> > So you tend to get bike trails either where a railroad has been
> > abandoned, and/or along the side of some creek or river. If you happen
> > to live at one end and work at the other, fine. But only a tiny
> > percentage of the population is so lucky.

>
> ...
>
> People accept paying a premium or taking some trouble to live near the
> water, or a golf course (even mall, I guess), my wife and I had a wish
> to have cycling facilities nearby and factored that into our house
> search many years ago. It has proved to be a great investment.
>
> Sure, it's more of a "linear park" than a bike arterial, and it meanders
> along a river bank -- so what? It's a place to interact with people,
> enjoy nature, and get to useful destinations. That's what parks are for,
> and I think a bike is as good, or better, a way to enjoy them as
> anything else.
>
> I don't think we need to segregate bike traffic or subsidize an
> alternate system of bike paths, but there are circumstances where such
> paths serve multiple purposes and are heavily used, warts and all. If
> some are provided as corridors for commuters, and also are pleasant
> enough for their own sake, I think cycle-aware people will gravitate
> toward them for residence.


I understand. You chose your residence to have access to a pleasant
linear park, just as others may choose to live near a traditional park.
I have no quarrel with that idea.

In fact, I think more people should give a higher priority to
transportation modes when picking residences. I searched quite a
while, under pretty intense pressure, before buying the house I'm in
now. It's in a compact suburban village with excellent bike access (by
local streets) to the amenities I need most often, and it's got a
fairly pleasant route to my job in the city center. I didn't want to
settle for less.

So my quarrel isn't with people who choose to live near a linear park.
My quarrel is with those who bend the truth to promote a linear park as
a "transportation facility" so they can grab transportation funds. I
believe, in the vast majority of cases, that's a lie.

I also disagree with the common notion that a city _needs_ bike paths
to be "bicycle friendly." Just this Sunday, on NPR's "Weekly Edition,"
host Leane Hansen interviewed League of American Bicyclists' director
Andy Clarke. They were talking about bike commuting. Hansen said "But
some cities don't have bike lanes or bike paths...." as if you can't
ride a bike on a road.

That attitude is nonsense. And I think it leads to travesties like
cops not ticketing motorists who hit cyclists - because, after all, the
cyclist was taking that risk by being on the road.

We will always be riding on roads. We need to fight the fiction that
doing so is dangerous, or that we "need" lots of bike paths. If we
cave in to that idea, our situation on the roads will get worse.

See http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Effecti...oadsWeHave.htm

- Frank Krygowski
post #42 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

frkrygow@yahoo.com wrote:

>
> We will always be riding on roads. We need to fight the fiction that
> doing so is dangerous, or that we "need" lots of bike paths. If we
> cave in to that idea, our situation on the roads will get worse.


Absolutely. I'd go further and introduce the idea that one of the
biggest contributions to bicycling safety is simply to have more
cyclists on the roads -- motorists become more accustomed to their
presence. Segregated facilities do dilute that effect.

I get the impression that some cyclists will never believe that road
cycling is safe enough to do, especially in urban areas. Others seem to
go through a learning curve where they graduate from paths to streets. I
think some segregated facilities are useful for both types of cyclists
as well as those of us who just ride them from time to time because we
find them pleasant. I don't find motorists who never bike, or cyclists
who never ride on the street to be competent planners for cycling
facilities, but they seem to be at least a vocal minority. I'm
particularly opposed to the idea that a complete network of cycling
facilities (lanes and/or paths) is a desirable goal, yet that seems to
be a popular viewpoint. It's hard to find common ground between
"advocates" with such divergent opinions.

I think a linear park that can also accommodate cyclists is a good
thing, although the park aspect should be the primary function and
cyclists should use it accordingly. I don't think that facilities
dedicated to cyclists otherwise justify their expense -- at least not
around here (Boston). It's rare that such facilities are good at both
roles, I'm fortunate to (deliberately) live near one that does.
post #43 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

<frkrygow@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1128968991.107658.134380@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Some cities may be different. But in my experience, you can take
> almost every city map. Put down dots representing residential
> neighborhoods, and dots representing "traffic generators" like shopping
> centers, schools and places of employment. Only a tiny percentage of
> possible trips between those dots will be, or _can_ be, connected by
> MUPs.


The MUT (around here, they're always "trails", not "paths") that Dane and I
use for commuting connects two major employment centers, Factoria/Eastgate,
with downtown Seattle. The trail parallels the interstate, so just as much
as the interstate connects activity centers, so does the MUT. It's not that
surprising that this trail is the most heavily used bicycle commuting
corridor in the state. Neither one of us lives right on the trail. We both
have to ride to it, him on one end and me on the other, and both of us have
a little ways to go after its terminus to get to our actual work site. This
is pretty much what we'd be doing with a car commute -- driving on
neighborhood streets and arterials to get to the major transportation
facility, and then exiting that facility and making a short trip to the
workplace.

There's downsides to having a MUT be near a major freeway. Fortunately,
there's a sizeable sound wall between the MUT and the freeway, which helps
keep down the noise. The stiff breeze that always seems to be blowing across
Lake Washington helps improve the air quality. There's also something quite
gratifying about cycling at about the same pace as the cars on the freeway
(as I did for a while this morning) just to the left of you, or riding past
a zillion cars backed up on an off-ramp.

Lately, because of changes in street use downtown (another story for another
time), I've been using a different MUT to get to work several days a week.
This one parallels State Route 520. This one is right against the freeway
pretty much the whole way. It's not as pleasant of a ride. And it isn't
complete -- it dead-ends at the junction with the 405, and right now, you
have to use an arterial with no shoulder for a half mile before you can get
back to a non-motorist experience. Further, there is only motorized traffic
at the bridge, so bicycles have to load onto a bus to continue. Some day,
some day, the whole thing will be complete, though, and you could then ride
on a MUT from the University District, a major activity center, to Overlake
and beyond to the Microsoft campus, and then further on from that to
downtown Redmond. And the upside of being right next to the freeway is that
there are very few recreational users -- no one is going to joyfully skate
or walk their dog alongside the freeway. It's basically a bike way.

Another thing I'd point out: for the I-90 trail, and for the hoped-for one
day when the 520 trail is complete -- these both go, and will go, where
there is no street alternative. Right now, certainly, if the I-90 trail
didn't exist, you'd have to run an extra 15 miles or so around the bottom of
the lake. Dane may choose to do that for fun (and I do it every so once in a
while for fun, too, in the summer), but it'd be a drag to have to that every
day. If you want to cross the lake, it's either the MUT or you swim.

Interestingly, the railroad ROW that runs along I-405 has recently come up
for grabs. The big question is, who gets it? Will it be a commuter rail
corridor? Or another MUT? Or could you possibly do both? If it does become a
MUT, then it'd be another example of a trail running along a freeway, with
the same advantages and drawbacks.

Anyway, I've wasted all these electons because I thought it was reasonable
to point out that there is another sort of MUT that is not a rail-trail or
riverside path, that does favor transportational cycling, that does connect
major activity centers, and is not primarily a recreational facility.

--
Warm Regards,

Claire Petersky
Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
See the books I've set free at:
http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
post #44 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

Peter Cole <peter_cole@comcast.net> wrote in news:fs2dnT9Xht_BXdbeRVn-
vA@comcast.com:


>
> I don't think we need to segregate bike traffic or subsidize an
> alternate system of bike paths, but there are circumstances where such
> paths serve multiple purposes and are heavily used, warts and all. If
> some are provided as corridors for commuters, and also are pleasant
> enough for their own sake, I think cycle-aware people will gravitate
> toward them for residence.
>
>


I used the word "subsidize" upstream there a few levels. What I meant to
say was "remove general revenue fund subsidies from roads by some small
amount" and shift the money over to where it could do some good with
cycling.

--ag
post #45 of 96

Re: Another Reason Why Bike Trails Are Not the Answer

frkrygow@yahoo.com wrote in
news:1129041639.988757.119460@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:


>
> We will always be riding on roads. We need to fight the fiction that
> doing so is dangerous, or that we "need" lots of bike paths. If we
> cave in to that idea, our situation on the roads will get worse.
>


Would you agree that we "need" bike paths for speed? I reject the idea
that cycling on a road is dangerous per se; my main issue is that it's
faster not to be tied up in the car traffic and also more pleasant to ride
on a greenway, and if more people could experience getting somewhere faster
and happier, the bike facilities might no longer suck.

--ag
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