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Old 07-20-14, 10:00 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Walpurgisnacht View Post
So the evidence isn't a one-two punch type of deal.
As you note there is little if any evidence of correlation between bike paths and increased number of cyclists, nor of any correlation of bike paths with improved health for the bicyclists or the people in the area of the bike paths.

More significantly for both health and funding considerations, you confuse the building of local bike paths with the OP's grandiose plan for bicycle freeways: "reserving one protected highway/freeway lane throughout the country (each direction) only for bicycles."

The issue isn't cycling and associated health benefits, the issue is the bicycle freeways proposed by the OP, to include funding, demand and likely use, as well as the effect on other users of the highway system.

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Old 07-20-14, 03:36 PM   #27
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Okay, taking your number at face value, would you be in favor a set of bicycle user fees which would pay for 40% of the cost of an expansion of dedicated bicycle infrastructure?

- Mark
We'll have to factor in the damage done to the roads by various modes and the weather (I hear this is an issue back east; we don't do weather damage in the west) as well as the historic overpayment by nonmotorized users. Add in the other public benefits that can be reaped by successfully getting bums in the saddle, many of which yield extensive cost-savings (National Health Service in Great Britain is currently frantic to find a way to deal with the extensive costs of the obesity epidemic coming its way), and I'm sure many cycling folks would be willing to see an appropriate tire tax put in place. Of course, it may end up being a reverse tax after all is considered.

I actually don't mind subsidizing the car addicts. It's one of those costs of being a member of society. So far, they have been far more effective at convincing my fellow citizens that they deserve to be subsidized. In the future, this may not be the case (see the large rise of unlicensed youth). However, I will always be paying taxes for services I don't use and other things I abhor. Other people don't use/abhor some of the things our tax dollars buy that I find wonderful and would like to expand, like the EPA. It's all good.
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Old 07-20-14, 10:14 PM   #28
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I actually don't mind subsidizing the car addicts. It's one of those costs of being a member of society. So far, they have been far more effective at convincing my fellow citizens that they deserve to be subsidized. In the future, this may not be the case (see the large rise of unlicensed youth). However, I will always be paying taxes for services I don't use and other things I abhor. Other people don't use/abhor some of the things our tax dollars buy that I find wonderful and would like to expand, like the EPA. It's all good.
Pretty much this.

If people only have to pay taxes for stuff they use, the system would be so bloated and convoluted with bureaucracy nothing would ever be accomplished.
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Old 07-21-14, 01:45 AM   #29
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If you check the history books, the first interstate paved highways in the US were initiated and paid for by the League of American Wheelmen, and Albert Pope, owner of Columbia Bicycles, not for cars, but for bicycle traffic. They were usurped by automobiles much later.

I see no reason why It couldn't be done again. A separate interstate and local system of bicycle roads could be built very reasonably, much cheaper than roads for cars, and could be funded in much the same way as car roads are, through a tax on bicycles, bicycle equipment and gear, etc... Bicycle roads would also be much cheaper to maintain, as well. They only thing that would stop it from being done is people.

It's probably not going to matter anyway, because within the next 20 years or so, oil supplies will be so depleted that privately owned cars will no longer be allowed, and we will have most of all those great paved roads to ourselves, the Middle East will go back to being a Stone Age culture, and terrorists will have to find a new source of funding........

Nothing will increase the use of bicycles more than a lack of automobile fuel........

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Whatever you decide is the right way to expand the bike infrastructure, someone has to pay for it. That's the 1000-lb gorilla in the room - governments are simply not going to dramatically up the budget for building bicycle infrastructure without funding that is directly generated from the users of this infrastructure.

- Mark

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Old 07-21-14, 04:35 PM   #30
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Nothing will increase the use of bicycles more than a lack of automobile fuel........
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Old 07-21-14, 06:48 PM   #31
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I like the idea in concept, but I also like solar roads as a concept too.
The comparison is not really fair though.

Although still unlikely, building bicycle freeway is much easier to build than solar roadways. It uses proven technologies like asphalt and paints. And we are certain that bicycle freeways would require almost no maintenance.

Solar roadway is just a ginormous scam that has been refuted by Thunderf00t and others.
Sorry to nitpick
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Old 07-22-14, 02:10 PM   #32
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Either way... none of it will happen soon.
We just hit an all time monthly high for average ocean surface temp. Fear for children and grand-children will eventually be a great motivator...
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Old 07-26-14, 05:41 PM   #33
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The comparison is not really fair though.

Although still unlikely, building bicycle freeway is much easier to build than solar roadways. It uses proven technologies like asphalt and paints. And we are certain that bicycle freeways would require almost no maintenance.

Solar roadway is just a ginormous scam that has been refuted by Thunderf00t and others.
Sorry to nitpick
I'm well aware of the energy density of solar; I've just finished an environmental science degree and have completed coursework specifically on the subject. No doubt it's prohibitively expensive at this time to be overhauling an entire country's road grid. But if you dig deeper you realize that the growth of solar globally has more than doubled in two years. Energy density isn't the issue - everyone seems fixated on that non-issue. There is plenty of land and roof-space (go to google earth, find a city - notice how many large white rooftops there are); it would take 1% of earth's surface to fully-power the globe (let's not get into batteries for the sake of brevity - but tech solutions are there in spades, with whole companies evolving out of that needs - search MIT for info on that).

At the rate it's going, an economy of scale is developing which will make it cheaper than conventional - coal/gas/oil in, like, next year - maybe the year after. It's happening, and no one seems to be noticing. It's kind of like back in 1991-1992 when the internet was taking off. Within the span of less than a decade, everyone had a high speed internet connection but no one seems to have noticed how quickly it arrived from 25kbps to 30mbps. That is happening today with solar, except faster. Solar roads? Maybe not - but it's hard to argue with the numbers that show dramatic increases in adoption each year. Energy companies are even beginning to do analyses which point to their ultimate demise should they fail to capitalize on substantial solar collector farms - they'll eventually just go away, like dialup did. Broadband got cheaper per unit. Solar is getting cheaper per unit. Call me a big picture guy, most of the analyses on the subject are really only looking at today's prices of PV units vs. comparable units of road.

In contrast, I don't see bike modal share taking off as quickly as solar, because it's cultural - car addiction, convenience addiction, sprawl, business culture etc.
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Old 07-26-14, 05:52 PM   #34
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What would it take? Just some political will and not listening to the naysayers. Even in the Netherlands many said turning to bicycle and pedestrian modes of transit as a primary means of travel was not practical and would cause business to move out. That was 40 years ago. Today we know that it's not true and most travel can be done without a car.
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Old 07-26-14, 05:57 PM   #35
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It's probably not going to matter anyway, because within the next 20 years or so, oil supplies will be so depleted that privately owned cars will no longer be allowed, and we will have most of all those great paved roads to ourselves, the Middle East will go back to being a Stone Age culture, and terrorists will have to find a new source of funding........
...
I remember hearing that same prediction in the 70s.
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Old 07-26-14, 06:02 PM   #36
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I'm well aware of the energy density of solar; I've just finished an environmental science degree and have completed coursework specifically on the subject. No doubt it's prohibitively expensive at this time to be overhauling an entire country's road grid. But if you dig deeper you realize that the growth of solar globally has more than doubled in two years. Energy density isn't the issue - everyone seems fixated on that non-issue.
No, what people are fixated on are the claims the company is making. They are claiming they can make these things and have them produce a net overall gain on power, and not just a small amount, but enough to pay for themselves. Sad fact is even with 100% efficient electronics, they will never live up to the claims. You can't make a solar road panel that can generate enough power to not only heat the panel in the winter, but to light it up (and bright enough that it's visible in the day) and make it work for all road users. It's not a question of not being able to do it today, but the likelihood that it will never be doable.

There is nothing wrong with solar power. Used correctly, an entire city could live mostly without any other source. But these 'solar roads'are simply just DOA and I am willing to say will always be. I just see no way they will ever live up to every claim made. Remove the lighting, the heater, the smart electronics and perhaps they will work, but then why not just install solar farms across the country and not have to worry about all the problems of driving on the panels?
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Old 07-27-14, 06:58 AM   #37
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Give it some more time....No more oil is being made, so the sources were finite to start with. Just simple math. When you use something faster than it is being made, it will run out, sooner, or later......

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I remember hearing that same prediction in the 70s.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:12 AM   #38
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No, what people are fixated on are the claims the company is making. They are claiming they can make these things and have them produce a net overall gain on power, and not just a small amount, but enough to pay for themselves. Sad fact is even with 100% efficient electronics, they will never live up to the claims. You can't make a solar road panel that can generate enough power to not only heat the panel in the winter, but to light it up (and bright enough that it's visible in the day) and make it work for all road users. It's not a question of not being able to do it today, but the likelihood that it will never be doable.

There is nothing wrong with solar power. Used correctly, an entire city could live mostly without any other source. But these 'solar roads'are simply just DOA and I am willing to say will always be. I just see no way they will ever live up to every claim made. Remove the lighting, the heater, the smart electronics and perhaps they will work, but then why not just install solar farms across the country and not have to worry about all the problems of driving on the panels?
Yup. Pretty well said.
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Old 08-02-14, 03:13 PM   #39
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Seems fair. Joys of cycling on a road separated from noisy cars and trucks aside, we're saving on gas and vehicle wear-and-tear. Maybe the advocacy groups should try tapping health insurance companies to help with funding, as cycling regularly would help to keep their clients healthier (resulting in less expenses for them). Local hospitals might also be a possibility, but most don't have the monetary resources to help.
Except that soon those health insurance companies will be mandated to spend 85% of what they take in on treating patients.
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Old 08-03-14, 06:21 AM   #40
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I'm in Portland. It's bike city here. It pisses anyone off who isn't a cyclist paying anything. I point out that it's safer to have bike lanes and one less car on the road is gonna improve the commute for cars. Here I think cyclists really are moving the needle about how many cars get left home.

With all this good stuff, it's a hard sell for a meter and a half of extra road shoulder and a painted line. A freeway? Not likely.
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Old 08-05-14, 08:04 AM   #41
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I don't know what other cities have but here in Denver we already have "freeways"...we just call them bike paths. Bike paths here have limited access as has been raised above. Another aspect of a "freeway" is a lack of traffic control devices...aka stop signs and lights. On the Denver area's longest bicycle freeway (the Platte River Greenway) I can ride 30 miles without encountering a single light or stop sign. The Greenway connects with several other bike paths of different lengths that allow for doubling or even tripling that distance with few stops. One of them...the C470 path...parallels a major motor freeway. We even have those kinds of facilities in the Colorado mountains which also follow major freeways.
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Old 08-05-14, 08:15 AM   #42
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I don't know what other cities have but here in Denver we already have "freeways"...we just call them bike paths. Bike paths here have limited access as has been raised above. Another aspect of a "freeway" is a lack of traffic control devices...aka stop signs and lights. On the Denver area's longest bicycle freeway (the Platte River Greenway) I can ride 30 miles without encountering a single light or stop sign. The Greenway connects with several other bike paths of different lengths that allow for doubling or even tripling that distance with few stops. One of them...the C470 path...parallels a major motor freeway. We even have those kinds of facilities in the Colorado mountains which also follow major freeways.
Sounds quite nice and pretty much about what a bicycle freeway should be... Of course the main issue with this discussion is that such facilities don't exist in most of the country, and thus folks have little idea about what they could be.
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Old 08-05-14, 12:17 PM   #43
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in the usa?

ha-ha-ha-ha wont happen
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Old 08-05-14, 12:53 PM   #44
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in the usa?

ha-ha-ha-ha wont happen
Gee, Denver seems to have one... and I know there is one that goes from Sacramento to Davis. San Diego has a short one, right next to a freeway. So to say "it won't happen" is rather short sighted. If you are thinking of coast to coast... no, indeed, not likely, but not really needed... bike freeways are to get quickly across town, not the country.
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Old 08-05-14, 01:02 PM   #45
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Sounds quite nice and pretty much about what a bicycle freeway should be... Of course the main issue with this discussion is that such facilities don't exist in most of the country, and thus folks have little idea about what they could be.
I've found them in a number of cities I've visited and not a few rural areas. The Katy Trail in Missouri, the Iron Horse Trail in Washington, the Burke-Gilman in Seattle, the Burlington Trail in Burlington, Vt, the Ohio River Trail (as well as others) in Cincinnati as well as many, many others are all examples that meet the criteria. The Summit County trail system in Colorado is a very good example of a rural trail as is the Rio Grande Trail in the Aspen Valley (40 miles of downhill bliss). They exist all over the place.

They may not be completely connected like the Interstate system but they don't need to be.
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Old 08-05-14, 01:05 PM   #46
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Gee, Denver seems to have one... and I know there is one that goes from Sacramento to Davis. San Diego has a short one, right next to a freeway. So to say "it won't happen" is rather short sighted. If you are thinking of coast to coast... no, indeed, not likely, but not really needed... bike freeways are to get quickly across town, not the country.
thats really my point.. bikepaths leading where? the whole thing about freeways isnt 'oh i can take that to there and a bit from there to there' they should be high speed connections, connections

im glad denver has them, as its better than most other places, but it just isnt more than it currently is
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Old 08-05-14, 01:28 PM   #47
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thats really my point.. bikepaths leading where? the whole thing about freeways isnt 'oh i can take that to there and a bit from there to there' they should be high speed connections, connections

im glad denver has them, as its better than most other places, but it just isnt more than it currently is
The paths I've used in Colorado, Ohio, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Washington, DC, South Dakota, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, and many other states have been "connected".

Colorado is currently working on linking together a route that is called from the Plains to the Divide which offer a separated path from Denver to the top of Loveland Pass. Much of the infrastructure already exists and just needs a few holes filled. We have much of a connector system from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver to Colorado Springs (about 200 miles).

The US highway system wasn't built in a day nor was the Interstate system. Bike paths in many large cities offer what is need for "high speed" bicycle connections already. Outside of the cities, there is really little need for that kind of infrastructure. Many railtrails serve that kind of purpose but not that many people are going to need a direct connection by bicycle between Denver and Chicago, for example. Such a connection would be a waste of resources as riding the roads outside of those cities is hardly dangerous.
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Old 08-05-14, 04:39 PM   #48
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The paths I've used in Colorado, Ohio, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Washington, DC, South Dakota, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, and many other states have been "connected".

Colorado is currently working on linking together a route that is called from the Plains to the Divide which offer a separated path from Denver to the top of Loveland Pass. Much of the infrastructure already exists and just needs a few holes filled. We have much of a connector system from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver to Colorado Springs (about 200 miles).

The US highway system wasn't built in a day nor was the Interstate system. Bike paths in many large cities offer what is need for "high speed" bicycle connections already. Outside of the cities, there is really little need for that kind of infrastructure. Many railtrails serve that kind of purpose but not that many people are going to need a direct connection by bicycle between Denver and Chicago, for example. Such a connection would be a waste of resources as riding the roads outside of those cities is hardly dangerous.
Your points about connections is rather true... interstates for instance often do not have "connections" when they are first established... those connections came later... and often towns grew up around the interstate, or were changed by the interstate.

Granted, now the towns exist and we are asking to shoehorn in the bikeway... so essentially the connections should exist as the bikeways come in.

I think overall what is disappointing is still seeing roads and highways being built without any bike planning... and then trying to shoehorn in bike facilities later that would have worked so much better if they had been planned up front with the rest of the transportation planning. This in fact makes putting in bike facilities much harder and more expensive. Imagine having to tear up curbs to put in sidewalks... because there was no planning for pedestrians... this IS what happens when bike paths are shoehorned in.
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Old 08-05-14, 05:09 PM   #49
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Your points about connections is rather true... interstates for instance often do not have "connections" when they are first established... those connections came later... and often towns grew up around the interstate, or were changed by the interstate.

Granted, now the towns exist and we are asking to shoehorn in the bikeway... so essentially the connections should exist as the bikeways come in.

I think overall what is disappointing is still seeing roads and highways being built without any bike planning... and then trying to shoehorn in bike facilities later that would have worked so much better if they had been planned up front with the rest of the transportation planning. This in fact makes putting in bike facilities much harder and more expensive. Imagine having to tear up curbs to put in sidewalks... because there was no planning for pedestrians... this IS what happens when bike paths are shoehorned in.
Shoehorning a bikepath into a major road isn't a difficult as you might think. As said above, most roads already have large right-of-ways that could accommodate bike ways. That said, planning for the bikeway as part of a road project is a better way of going. Perhaps the Denver area is just more forward looking but many of the roadways that have been built here from scratch have had bikeways as part of the project. I've mentioned C-470 which was designed and constructed with a bikeway. But we also have E-470 (a private toll road) that has a bikeway along a good part of it as well as US36 reconstruction that has a bikeway that has been completed ahead of the road project.

Your area probably gets Federal funds for bicycle projects as well. In a former life, I work with local and state planners on projects that got funding from US Department of Transportation. There is supposed to be a small set aside on each state's funds from USDOT for bicycle facilities. I'd suggest looking into how your state uses those funds.
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Old 08-06-14, 01:11 AM   #50
Aznman
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I don't know what other cities have but here in Denver we already have "freeways"...we just call them bike paths. Bike paths here have limited access as has been raised above. Another aspect of a "freeway" is a lack of traffic control devices...aka stop signs and lights. On the Denver area's longest bicycle freeway (the Platte River Greenway) I can ride 30 miles without encountering a single light or stop sign. The Greenway connects with several other bike paths of different lengths that allow for doubling or even tripling that distance with few stops. One of them...the C470 path...parallels a major motor freeway. We even have those kinds of facilities in the Colorado mountains which also follow major freeways.
That is awesome. I assume that bike paths parallel to the roads are well patrolled by policemen and well lit?
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