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  1. #1
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    Greenways vs bike lanes, the $$$

    I recall reading how on a per mile basis, greenways are much cheaper than bike lanes. Of course greenways have their limitations, but anyway does anyone know why the cost discrepancy exists?
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Well if by "greenway" you mean an area that is not paved, I think the answer is obvious.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    If by "bike lane" you mean painting a stripe on an already paved road, the answer is less obvious.


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    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    If by "bike lane" you mean creating a whole new separate roadway for bikes by borrowing width from both roadway and sidewalk, the answer becomes obvious again.

    But in most cases, yes, all we're talking about is a can of paint.

    I'm always suspicious of those who make statements about how bike lanes are too expensive. There often tends to be an agenda behind such claims. I'd check on that.
    Last edited by Metzinger; 03-25-09 at 10:34 AM.

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    Ok, I'll try to elaborate. By "greenway," I mean a *paved* 8-10 ft wide path that goes through the woods or some other park-like area. By bike lane, I mean added width to the roads (4-6 ft wide) plus paint beyond what would be on the road otherwise.
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
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  6. #6
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    I wonder if there is more building material or more expensive methods used to add 4-6 ft of road compared to just laying down a trail through the forest that has to carry a few bicycles and alot less traffic?
    The bike lanes in your scenerio probably have to be able to support automobiles and even tractor trailers. I know our town wanted to add a few inches to some roads when they repaved it but that meant the town would pay vs the county and it was more than their entire yearly budget.

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    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    One involves excavating some dirt and grass.
    The other can involve manipulating road, sidewalk, curb, bus shelters, street signs, street lighting, power, plumbing, driveways etc. Multiply X2 if they're on both sides of the street.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ngchen View Post
    Ok, I'll try to elaborate. By "greenway," I mean a *paved* 8-10 ft wide path that goes through the woods or some other park-like area. By bike lane, I mean added width to the roads (4-6 ft wide) plus paint beyond what would be on the road otherwise.
    OK, again the answer is obvious... the greenway path is not built to the same standard as a regular road, so it does not require the same roadbed work and extensive materials to complete.

    If the greenway path is wide enough and uses longer radius sweeping curves, it can serve all cyclists quite well... unfortunately, that is usually not the case ,and these things tend to be little more than glorified sidewalks... yet politically, greenbelt MUPs/paths then tend to garner an attitude that "cyclists are taken care of... so stay off the road."

    Also quite often such paths then fall under the pervue of parks and rec departments that don't do proper maintenance on them... and the result is tree roots grow through, and the paths fill with debris.

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    Also, widening roads and putting in bike lanes, if you want to do it right, requires a lot of planning and design, which is expensive. Not that everyone does it, but things like bike boxes, parking buffer space and intersection design, especially with multilane roads and turn lanes are very complex to plan.

    Add to that the administrative difficulties with getting the rights to widen a road (widening a road can encroach on private property), and you see even more expense.

    Does this mean that bike lanes are not economical? of course not. People who make economic claims to bike development are almost all full of crap, given how much money goes into car-centric development. But it's possible to see how modifying an existing road to be multimodal could be more expensive than putting in a brand new single-purpose greenway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metzinger View Post
    One involves excavating some dirt and grass.
    The other can involve manipulating road, sidewalk, curb, bus shelters, street signs, street lighting, power, plumbing, driveways etc. Multiply X2 if they're on both sides of the street.
    Bike lanes don't get built, they get painted. Very rarely is an existing road surface made larger for a bike lane. Generally roads get built with bike lanes initially, or else are altered by making existing lanes smaller, by removing parking lanes or travel lanes, and these sorts of tricks of paint.

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