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Old 07-29-09, 11:53 AM   #1
pletcgm
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Greenway Speed

Nashville has built a lot of Greenways. Now, they have determined that no one should exceed 15 mph on them. I am thinking, what the hell??? What is wrong with going faster than 15 mph if you average 19+?
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Old 07-29-09, 12:05 PM   #2
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These greenways are multi-user paths, and many in other areas have speed limits as well. They're not designed or intended for high speed cycling due to the mix of users. I've seen cops set up cyclist speed traps on one of my local MUPS in Seattle. If you want to ride fast, best to avoid MUPS altogether.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:05 PM   #3
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Here in Vancouver, we have a greenway stretch too. It's shared by peds, cyclists, skateboarders and roller bladers. Not sure how yours is designed. However the greenway that we have is built under the guiderails of a MRT system. So along the way there are huge columns rising in b/t the greenway which causes blind spots despite the greenway is mostly straight.
I can imagine a dog walker hidden behind one of these columns because little Rex wants to take a piss. Then emerging suddenly out of the column while a cyclists may be bombing down the greenway at high speed. KABLAM! Little rex gets runned over and cyclist get road rash. It can happen.
There's a discussion on this now amongst the greenway users blog.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:07 PM   #4
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There is no one speed that is safe. It is beyond stupid to have a 15mph limit on a straight intersectionless section with no one else nearby.

If they want a guideline it should be something like:
Reduce speed when approaching pedestrians and only pass at a safe speed and distance.
Post SL for blind corners, maybe 15mph, maybe 20, maybe 25 depending on specifics of corner.
Also SL posted at stop approaches

This is how it is done for roadways.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:13 PM   #5
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If there are a lot of pedestrians around, even 15 mph can be too fast to be safe.

Greenways and MUPs have their places, but a lot of them (including every one I've seen in my area) aren't suited for high-tempo training rides or covering a lot of distance in a hurry.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:22 PM   #6
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The City of Raleigh, NC has a maximum speed limit of 10 mph on greenways.
http://www.raleigh-nc.org/portal/ser...and_Safet.html

I think this is the result of some high-profile pedestrian-bicyclist collisions that resulted in serious injuries to the pedestrians.

Cary's is 15 mph.

Many of these facilities lack adequate sight lines for traveling much over 15 mph and are too narrow for passing pedestrians and pets at such speeds. Older greenways here were designed as pedestrian facilities and often featured steps and non-ADA-compliant surface discontinuities at curbs. Some of the newer greenways are wider, straighter, and have better sight lines.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:39 PM   #7
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See that is what I don't get. Why do they stress that Greenways are also for commuting? How are you going to effectively commute if you can't exceed 10 to 15 mph?
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Old 07-29-09, 12:46 PM   #8
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Part of our greenway has a 15 mph speed limit after various collisions, more near misses, and the (ab)use of the greenway by people riding on it in pacelines.
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Old 07-29-09, 02:52 PM   #9
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Greenways and multi-use paths are shared with pedestrians, runners, skaters, folks walking their dogs on those nearly-invisible leashes, little kids on tricycles, etc. Under these conditions they're no place for high-speed riding. Pedestrians have the right-of-way here, they're the more vulnerable users.

If ya gotta go fast, then get on the street with the cagers. The speed limit is higher there, and there's far less chance of running amuck with the pedestrians.
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Old 07-29-09, 02:56 PM   #10
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Will cyclist on the MUP be given an 11mph over speed tolerance like motorists on the roadway?
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Old 07-29-09, 03:34 PM   #11
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Will cyclist on the MUP be given an 11mph over speed tolerance like motorists on the roadway?
Good point. I remember with mobile photoradar it was set to trigger at over 10mph due to possible errors and leeway. 25mph seems a reasonable speed .... I could barely maintain 22mph for short burts on the middle ring.
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Old 07-29-09, 04:10 PM   #12
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I don't see what's wrong with letting it fly on a big open stretch, but passing anyone, Im at least <15
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Old 07-29-09, 04:35 PM   #13
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You got sold a bill of goods. MUPs are lousy for commuting, or getting from A to B. If you want to get from A to B, ride the road like you're supposed to. If you want a nice meander with the kids or GF, take the MUP.

I've never been a big fan of the whole MUP thing.
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Old 07-29-09, 04:37 PM   #14
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I've seen beach MUPs with 5mph limits. I would ride them in the winter a lot. Got warnings from the beach patrol a few times. "Slow for pedestrians...What pedestrians????"
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Old 07-29-09, 05:08 PM   #15
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You got sold a bill of goods. MUPs are lousy for commuting, or getting from A to B. If you want to get from A to B, ride the road like you're supposed to. If you want a nice meander with the kids or GF, take the MUP.

I've never been a big fan of the whole MUP thing.
Depends on how much foot traffic and if it goes to your destination. There is no stop sign so it would be faster for me to take the MUP to go to college or shopping or even go to work downtown or the airport.
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Old 07-29-09, 06:58 PM   #16
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A: if you're AVERAGING 19+, you NEED to be on the road, get off the MUP.

B: MUPs are not all that bad for commuting, and trust me -- not everybody busts 19+ or even more on a commute. There are those of us who don't care about getting from A to B in the fastest time possible.

C: Speed limits on MUPs are just like speed limits on the road -- they apply regardless of traffic volume. It's not OK to do 80 down the center of town at 3 AM just because the streets are empty, same with cycling on the MUP. Use a little sense -- rules of the road, the MUP, all of it, are for the unexpected; if all you had to worry about was the EXPECTED, you wouldn't need insurance, would you? You do 22 on the MUP, swoop a curve, and take out a stroller, well...hope & pray it doesn't belong to someone in my family.....
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Old 07-29-09, 07:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by shmily_dana View Post
I've seen beach MUPs with 5mph limits. I would ride them in the winter a lot. Got warnings from the beach patrol a few times. "Slow for pedestrians...What pedestrians????"
I can cost faster then 5MPH, how is one suppose to maintain such a slow speed? I mean even in a car that speed would be pretty hard to maintain. At least not without riding the brakes, even then I'd bet they'd be going faster then 5MPH.

Hell, I think that it's safe to say that I walk faster then 5MPH.
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Old 07-29-09, 07:12 PM   #18
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C: Speed limits on MUPs are just like speed limits on the road -- they apply regardless of traffic volume. It's not OK to do 80 down the center of town at 3 AM just because the streets are empty, same with cycling on the MUP. Use a little sense -- rules of the road, the MUP, all of it, are for the unexpected; if all you had to worry about was the EXPECTED, you wouldn't need insurance, would you? You do 22 on the MUP, swoop a curve, and take out a stroller, well...hope & pray it doesn't belong to someone in my family.....
The difference is that MUP SLs unlike road SLs are typically set for the entire MUP even if it varies in design, grades, curves, sight lines, intersections, usage patterns. Also a 15mph SL is overly slow for when there are no other users - the reaction and stopping times don't warrant 15mph with good sightlines. Just as roads are rarely set with a permanent 15mph PSL. Also consider reasonable and prudent as it applies to roadways:
" A. A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.

B. Except as provided in subsections C and D of this section or except if a special hazard requires a lesser speed, any speed in excess of the following speeds is prima facie evidence that the speed is too great and therefore unreasonable:

1. Fifteen miles per hour approaching a school crossing.
2. Twenty-five miles per hour in a business or residential district.
3. Sixty-five miles per hour in other locations.

C. The speed limits prescribed in this section may be altered as authorized in sections 28-702 and 28-703.

D. The maximum speed provided in this section is reduced to the speed that is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and with regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, including the following conditions:

1. Approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad crossing.
2. Approaching and going around a curve.
3. Approaching a hillcrest.
4. Traveling on a narrow or winding roadway.
5. A special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions."

Of course there are MUPs where 15mph is a good speed limit for the full length, but too often 15mph is just arbitrairly placed on MUPs as a one size fits all variations in design.

Last edited by noisebeam; 07-29-09 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 07-29-09, 07:23 PM   #19
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OK, how about 'one size fits most', which is closer to the reality? If you don't fit with the 'most', then you just have to deal. It's part of being in a civilized society, nobody gets all they want, so all can get some of what they want.
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Old 07-29-09, 07:46 PM   #20
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If you are suggesting I am a proponent of rule by the greedy few then you have sorely missed my point.
Many MUPs in the US are lacking in practicality for transport because they are not engineered for anything other than getting a surface in place between A and B with some aesthetics thrown in with no regard as to how and who will use them. A decent path design will consider this and have designs with appropriate widths, considerations for sightlines, considerations for separating pedestrian and vehicular users at key point, etc. As a continuation of this engineering work speed limits would vary as well.
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Old 07-30-09, 06:30 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by pletcgm View Post
Nashville has built a lot of Greenways. Now, they have determined that no one should exceed 15 mph on them. I am thinking, what the hell??? What is wrong with going faster than 15 mph if you average 19+?
Do you live or work in Nashville? If so, think locally. Who are the "they" above who set the speed limit? What is their thinking? What can you learn from them? What contributions can you make?
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Old 07-30-09, 07:26 AM   #22
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You got sold a bill of goods. MUPs are lousy for commuting, or getting from A to B. If you want to get from A to B, ride the road like you're supposed to. If you want a nice meander with the kids or GF, take the MUP.

I've never been a big fan of the whole MUP thing.
I found a coupla pics online. You can separate the peds from the bikes.



This one runs a few blocks North of the busier greenway.

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Old 07-30-09, 07:43 AM   #23
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Note that many MUPs are designed by landscape architects, not transportation engineers, and a popular design principle in the landscape architecture profession is the "meandering" path. The principle is to add intrigue and variation to the path by intentionally curving it around natural obstructions like hills and trees to reduce sight distances. They often add such sight obstructions to straight, open areas as part of the construction to achieve their objective. Their design user is recreational pedestrians, who get bored on very long straight stretches of pavement.

Clearly, they are using the opposite set of design criteria from what is appropriate for vehicular facility design. There are some MUPS that lend themselves well to travel at high cycling speeds, such as some rail trails, but only if the most aesthetics-oriented landscape designers haven't had their way. To be fair, some of the landscape architects have become aware of design requirements for vehicular use, but others have not.

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Old 07-30-09, 09:00 AM   #24
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I think 15 is a good speed limit on most of the MUPs I've seen. 10 or 5 is just saying that it's a pedestrian path, and I'm going to ride elsewhere. We do have some hills on a local MUP where there are almost never any pedestrians and going 15 would be frustrating. But it's also a long straight section, so seeing pedestrians wouldn't be an issue
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Old 07-30-09, 09:15 AM   #25
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The problem is 15mph is too fast when the MUP is crowded and too slow when its not. I feel some other options should be considered to encourage bicycle use yet keep the MUPs safe.

Locally there was a case where a pregnant headphone wearing jogger did not hear a cyclists passing warning and plowed right into him and did herself some mischief. Of course the problem was presented as cyclists going too fast (even though in the case the speed was under 10mph) and of course headphones and suddenly changing directions is not a problem at all.
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