The main drag is well-lit, with frequent police patrols, but the area the bike path empties into is residential - only stop signs, no lane markings on the roads, and tons of student rentals/frats/apartments. I go through there because it's the same distance but not having to deal with the traffic lights means I get through the last 1/2 mile of my commute in 3 minutes instead of 10. Besides, the people who are drunk enough to think that attempting to stop someone on a 56# bicycle going 15 mph are usually drunk enough to push over with a feather, so it's annoying but I've never felt REALLY in danger. Also the Airzound gives them a good scare. :p
Also, sorry your weekend commute is such a nightmare. I actually feel pretty safe in the college bar areas around here, cause cops are everywhere and it's incredibly well lit. Also, I'm an old, so the college kids look straight through me like I'm invisible. No harassment there. It's the drunk drivers that I worry about on weekend nights.