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  1. #1
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Irony of ironies... yet another case of poor planning...

    So I am checking out local roads, looking for a good safe bike route to work, and I come across this irony. The side roads don't go through. There are only two roads that go through. One is a 50 MPH road with 6 lanes of traffic and a skinny bike lane that goes to a very busy intersection (that with left turn lanes opens up to 8 lanes of traffic). The other is way out of the way down and up a very steep hill. That latter road is however rather quiet.

    Now here is the irony... where several roads don't go through, they are stopped by acres and acres of pavement... parking lots of the local high tech businesses. That's right, side streets don't connect, but the area is completely paved over anyway... with the exception of the landscaping between parking lots.

    So an astute city planner or transportation planner might look at this and see an opportunity... but as yet, apparently the city believes that cycling on 50MPH arterial roads is better.

    All it would take to make a complete route is connections through some parking lot landscaping.

    Take a look at this google map... http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll...fox-a&t=h&z=17

    Notice Pacific Center drive, Sequence Drive and Mira Mesa Blvd (the high speed arterial road).

    BTW the same thing also occurs south of Mira Mesa. But the only road with bike lanes or bike route is Mira Mesa, the wide high speed arterial road. Make sense? No, I didn't think so.

  2. #2
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Any chance of doing some ninja passages through the landscaping? There's one spot that's on a popular commuting route that involves following a freeway access road to where it ends at a train track (loops back under and goes back the other way). To get past the train tracks, I can pop the curb and ride over less than 100 ft. of dirt/gravel/scrub, go down a curb and follow another road that has a crossing over the train tracks. It's popular enough that Google shows it on the Bicycles option.

    If there area any gaps in the landscaping, exploit them.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    Any chance of doing some ninja passages through the landscaping? There's one spot that's on a popular commuting route that involves following a freeway access road to where it ends at a train track (loops back under and goes back the other way). To get past the train tracks, I can pop the curb and ride over less than 100 ft. of dirt/gravel/scrub, go down a curb and follow another road that has a crossing over the train tracks. It's popular enough that Google shows it on the Bicycles option.

    If there area any gaps in the landscaping, exploit them.
    I'm going to check it out extensively today... what I suspect is that the various parking lots are at different levels (see a lot of that here) and the separation by landscaping is a steep slope. The thing is, it doesn't take much for a steep slope to be easily conquered with a bit of a switchback... and a bike path could do this... where a 4 lane road would be impractical. There are loads of walking shortcuts around this high tech mesa like that.

    But what it all comes down to is no over all planning... it wouldn't have taken much to grade a small area of a couple of adjacent parking lots to make a good people path, but for some reason (not my job) this concept was never employed. So this area of high tech clean businesses that generate loads of tax revenue is a walking, cycling, driving, nightmare. Roads don't connect, and thus force everyone into the same crowded intersections; sidewalks, while prevalent, may also not connect and crossing opportunities are few and far between. And bike lanes... a joke... unless you enjoy cycling along freeway speed busy roads.

    There is a quiet bike route south of the area, through a residential neighborhood, but it ends right before this high tech mesa mess and cyclists then are left to contend with the high speed arterial road or ???

    As they say, proper prior planning prevents poor performance. This area has some of the worst traffic messes in the morning and evening, and no alternatives... gee wonder why?

    Also it amazes me that so much of the area is flat out paved over, (for parking lots) and yet so poorly connective. The very road, on which the business I work in, isn't even a road, but a long parking lot with a street name.

    The young engineers that work in the area could easily ride bikes... no doubt many probably did, in college... but then they come here to work and are confronted with "no way to get there."

  4. #4
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post

    If there area any gaps in the landscaping, exploit them.
    This... that is until the landowner decides to no longer tolerate/support this activity.

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    This... that is until the landowner decides to no longer tolerate/support this activity.
    Exactly why an official path would be a better idea.

    There are loads and loads of unofficial walking paths throughout the area... showing a desire for those on foot to get from A to B in ways that were overlooked. And I mean overlooked... there are a number of businesses in the area that don't have sidewalks going to their front door... meaning you have to arrive by auto or cavort across some expanse of driveway and parking lot, often crossing landscaping, to get to their front entrance. It is as if the area architects and planners just forgot that PEOPLE are who actually goes to work in the buildings.

    I saw this same situation north of here in Carmel Valley years ago when I worked there... across the street from a collection of business buildings was a shopping center, with restaurants where various workers would often go to lunch... but the construction of the sidewalks was such that on the business side there was a sidewalk, and a stoplight with a ped crossing signal, while on the shopping center side as you cross the street, there was no sidewalk, just grassy landscaping on either side of the entrance driveway.... of course there was a well worn dirt path right through the landscaping... where PEOPLE actually did cross to get to the shopping center.

    I suppose the plan was that PEOPLE would get in their cars, in the business center, and then drive across the street to the shopping center (which actually was impossible anyway as the parking lot was too small). Just another case of NO PLANNING!

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    I find the irony to be how little difference there is between truely horrid planning and excellent planning in this instance.

    Just a little bit would provide a really good walking and cycling environment. The Roads themself not going through is a GOOD thing for a cycling environment. But ruined since the cyclist (or to a lesser degree pedestrian) also cannot get through.

    Ironically I had the very same kind of situation when I first started riding. No route to teh Sepulveds Flood control basin with its (fairly) nice paths. The back streets simply did not go through. Finally found a route using a 'sidewalk' that existed becaseu the not going through was so bad that without that special strip of sidewalk there was no access from the west to a local elementry school.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    The streets in Ann Arbor are set up like this, to keep residential areas from becoming high-speed bypasses. The city later came through and put in narrow, asphalt-paved paths that allow bicycles to cut across.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    ......The city later came through and put in narrow, asphalt-paved paths that allow bicycles to cut across.
    Our neighboring city has a similar setup in their newer subdivisions, and fortunately our inner city is planned out on the older grid system.

  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    The streets in Ann Arbor are set up like this, to keep residential areas from becoming high-speed bypasses. The city later came through and put in narrow, asphalt-paved paths that allow bicycles to cut across.
    Yeah, I can understand the not wanting all roads to become thoroughfares for Motor Traffic... but to make the difference for PEOPLE, some miner changes would make a huge difference.

    Davis CA is somewhat set up like this... small pockets of housing ending in cul-de-sacs or dead-end courts; but they go one further and then tie all these areas together with bike paths along green belts behind the homes...

    I have heard of residents (here locally) objecting to such paths for fear of burglaries from offenders using the paths... far more likely for some burglar to simply pull up in a moving van or service vehicle right from the street into the driveway... after all, it is rather difficult schlepping a big screen TV down a bike path.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Our neighboring city has a similar setup in their newer subdivisions, and fortunately our inner city is planned out on the older grid system.
    A good grid can allow for bike boulevards...

  11. #11
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    ........far more likely for some burglar to simply pull up in a moving van or service vehicle right from the street into the driveway... after all, it is rather difficult schlepping a big screen TV down a bike path.

    Yep, my daughter's house was brazenly burglarized in the middle of the night, when the daughter was out of town, all the interior/exterior house lights were on, front door wide open, white van, in the middle of highly populated neighborhood. The law enforcement was there in a matter of minutes, but the burglars had their act down to a science, and they were long gone before the police arrived. Many items were taken, including the very large big screen tv that was securely mounted to the wall.

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Yep, my daughter's house was brazenly burglarized in the middle of the night, when the daughter was out of town, all the interior/exterior house lights were on, front door wide open, white van, in the middle of highly populated neighborhood. The law enforcement was there in a matter of minutes, but the burglars had their act down to a science, and they were long gone before the police arrived. Many items were taken, including the very large big screen tv that was securely mounted to the wall.
    Exactly.

    And no doubt far easier to get away on well connected roadways rather than isolated and cut off bike paths.

  13. #13
    Senior Member EsoxLucius's Avatar
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    It all fell apart when the planners/engineers abandoned the grid pattern and forced traffic onto fewer facilities with more lanes.

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    The cost might involve a good bit more than just making a cut through. With many, if not most, parking lots, you would likely want some sort of specific path with signage and painting. Parking lots are really pretty dangerous places for bikes as drivers are not expecting them.

    And then there's the increased liability for the property owners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post

    Davis CA is somewhat set up like this... small pockets of housing ending in cul-de-sacs or dead-end courts; but they go one further and then tie all these areas together with bike paths along green belts behind the homes...
    My house in Davis bordered one of these connectors. It was a great asset to the neighborhood since it offered an opportunity to meet people who live only a short distance away but whose path would never cross yours but for the bike/ped cut through.

    When I lived on the east side of town, the city actually bought a house and demolished it to create a bike/ped access. This was done during the dark days of the mid-'90s when there were only a handful of people using bikes in Davis, which made it more necessary (to avoid the large increase in car numbers). There must have been a city planner who knew the bikes would return someday if they just kept working to make it better.

  16. #16
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Make sense? No, I didn't think so.
    Sure it makes sense, the planners can claim that they extended the cycling network by several miles at nominal cost!

    From Bing maps, it appears you're not the first to have thought of this - it looks like there's a dirt path worn through the berm: http://binged.it/JdqphH

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    Did you look at Sorrento Valley Road? It has bike lanes too, it's narrower, and there's less traffic.

    As arterials go, there are worse places for a bicyclist than that section of Mira Mesa, even within a 5 mile radius. Most of Genesee, for example.

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugenek View Post
    Did you look at Sorrento Valley Road? It has bike lanes too, it's narrower, and there's less traffic.

    As arterials go, there are worse places for a bicyclist than that section of Mira Mesa, even within a 5 mile radius. Most of Genesee, for example.
    Sorrento Valley road does not go to Sorrento Mesa... as a matter of fact, it is west of the I805 and the only way to get to SVR is either from the north (not where I am coming from) or by riding on the shoulder of I5 (means taking the aforementioned Genesee) or Mira Mesa Blvd... another 50MPH road.

    I used to commute on Sorrento Valley road years ago when I worked at the north end of the road, and indeed I did find it quite ridable at the time.

    Funny you mention Genesee... as frankly I hold both Genesee and Mira Mesa Blvd in about the same light... Genesee is 45MPH, but heavily trafficed, and varies from 4 lanes to 6 lanes. Mira Mesa is also heavily traveled and is 6 lanes for most of the 50MPH length. While both roads are the most direct route from A to B, the amount of traffic on both, and the speeds driven, make them somewhat less than desirable... they really are lousy bike lanes/routes.

    As I mentioned in the OP, there are roads into the area that are off these main heavily traveled roads and the biggest issue is they are not thru streets. I just checked out the specific roads I mentioned in the OP, and discovered a 2 foot high well trampled mound of dirt separating one quiet area from another. These quiet areas make outstanding walking and cycling ways... vice the noisy and very busy arterial roads, but these areas are over looked by planners of the area... who are no doubt are convinced that only cars need to get around. (heaven forbid that PEOPLE need to get around too)

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
    The cost might involve a good bit more than just making a cut through. With many, if not most, parking lots, you would likely want some sort of specific path with signage and painting. Parking lots are really pretty dangerous places for bikes as drivers are not expecting them.

    And then there's the increased liability for the property owners.
    Agreed.

    The ideal solution is to not actually use parking lots, but to plan for connectivity in the first place. The connection I did find is on a narrow greenbelt between buildings, and even has been covered with decomposed granite. It is usable, albeit not perfect.

  20. #20
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
    Sure it makes sense, the planners can claim that they extended the cycling network by several miles at nominal cost!

    From Bing maps, it appears you're not the first to have thought of this - it looks like there's a dirt path worn through the berm: http://binged.it/JdqphH
    Yeah... that's planning... NOT.

    I found that dirt path and several others. So the need is there, the planning is NOT.

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    Sorrento Valley road does not go to Sorrento Mesa... as a matter of fact, it is west of the I805
    Sorry, I meant Sorrento Valley Boulevard.

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    By the way, what exactly do you expect city planners to do in this situation now?

    The three buildings at the east end of Pacific Center were already there in 1994, when gasoline cost $1/gallon and the idea of bike commuting was still foreign. The entire area between Pacific Center and Sequence is private land. They'd have to buy back the land before they can draw a bike path there. Even if they could buy back the strip of landscaping at the end of Pacific Center Drive (and the chances of that are between slim and none, there's simply no money in the city budget for that), they can't build a bike path that terminates in a private parking lot, and there's no way to carve a route to connect with Sequence Drive.

  23. #23
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugenek View Post
    By the way, what exactly do you expect city planners to do in this situation now?

    The three buildings at the east end of Pacific Center were already there in 1994, when gasoline cost $1/gallon and the idea of bike commuting was still foreign. The entire area between Pacific Center and Sequence is private land. They'd have to buy back the land before they can draw a bike path there. Even if they could buy back the strip of landscaping at the end of Pacific Center Drive (and the chances of that are between slim and none, there's simply no money in the city budget for that), they can't build a bike path that terminates in a private parking lot, and there's no way to carve a route to connect with Sequence Drive.
    Really 1994? I worked on Lusk Blvd in 1995 and there wasn't much in that area then... I remember when Sorrento Valley Blvd was extended up the hill to meet Calle Cristobol and the building boom that took place back then. I don't remember Pacific anything back then... but honestly I wasn't looking either. (and indeed a couple of the buildings in that area seem quite old... I was somewhat surprised by all the "for lease" and "for sale" over there.)

    Bike Commuting foreign back then... LOL I've been bike commuting on and off since the gas crisis in the 70's... the first one... and in 1995, my employer on Lusk provided some very nice bike lockers. Apparently such "foreign" ideas are actually considered "forward thinking" by some folks.

    What do I expect the city to do... how about work with the companies in the area and get a Right of Way, just the same as they would do if the city decided to put a street through. Only this time they can negotiate with the owners of the property rather than just execute eminent domain and plow right through.

    More importantly I expect the city to really plan and think about such things rather than doing the ostrich thing and depend on gas powered cars being the only form of transit. After all, the city did build the Friars road bike path (now defunct) way way back before the 90's. The Rose Canyon bike path was in long before the '90s. It isn't as if bikes were just invented... the real issue is always taking an "after the fact" approach to PEOPLE transport, vice planning it in.

    But sure, Stadiums and Pensions are more important...

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