Our local trail organisation has been struggling with a problem. They have been able to build a trail system from each end of town to the city business center but have not been able to complete a route through that area to connect the two trails. There has been some controversy over four options so they decided to install a "pop-up" lane for people to test what they consider the best option. "Best" is not exactly an objective judgement here. A local businessman who has been a generous donor to the organisation has pushed for the connector to meander through the business district . I rode the proposed connector from trail head to trail head during a normal Friday afternoon,
then returned by one of the three alternate routes .
I took a few photos I though were important.
Coming from the western trail head as it now exists, a cyclist is met with
the northbound leg of one of the busiest streets in the county.
There is not only heavy traffic to negotiate, it is complicated by a railroad crossing.
After timing a safe way to cross these three lanes of traffic,
the cyclist would have to immediately wait to cross four lanes of Highway M-43 to reach the proposed lane which reduces the already busy Westnedge corridor from 3 lanes to 2.
After making a left hand turn onto a side street, within a block
I had to cross the north bound leg of the traffic corridor at Park St.
After meandering through a lane eliminating parking near busy government offices,
I found myself waiting on a median in the middle of another major traffic corridor at Rose St.
After Rose St. the "pop up" lane eliminated some more parking along Water Street until it
meandered back to, again, cross Hwy 43 at another railroad crossing.
Once I lived through that experience, the proposed trail followed an unpaved neglected street which was the only truly safe improvement the trail had to offer.
I finally reached the eastern end of the system and decided to see what one of
the alternate routes was like during the same period.
I went north one block to Ransom Street and rode west to the nearest trail intersection.
I found little traffic and no disruption of parking on this route.
It's a straight shot, just north of all the major traffic corridors.
It's obvious that this route could use a little work, but I imagine it hasn't been a priority because it has little traffic--which makes it attractive to cyclists. It doesn't return to the exact trail head, but intersects with the western part of the trail 2 blocks north of the main traffic corridor.
To provide access to businesses a sign would have to be installed to direct cyclists
to the walking mall 3 blocks south.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand their priorities.