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wheel 02-18-07 11:52 AM

Writer who is ranting on MUPS
 
The government would have you believe that bicycle paths are expensive because they cover long, narrow strips of nothingness.

A story in Monday’s Advocate promised 110 miles of bike path atop the Mississippi River levee from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

Based on past experience with bicycle paths in Baton Rouge, the story’s “soon” would be the kind of “soon” expressed in geologic time.

That sort of “soon” is the time required for the Mississippi River to change course which would require the bicycle path to be called The Bicycle Route Atop the Former Mississippi River Levee and Express Cow Lane.

As luck would have it, there is hard land already in place where the bicycle route is supposed to go at a cost of $33 million. All that’s required is laying some asphalt on top of the levee where bicycle riders, runners and walkers have been working their muscles and lungs since shortly after the Great Flood.

At $33 million, the cost is a dirt cheap $300,000 a mile, though the newspaper story didn’t say if this was pre-Katrina dollars or post-Katrina dollars. If it’s post, we have to pay whatever the contractor says the storm cost in disruption of the asphalt market and mental stress on the asphalt workers.

Still, that’s cheap when compared to Baton Rouge’s million-dollar miles stretching a majestic 10,560 feet, less than two miles as the bicycle wobbles, from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine to Oz Between the Gambling Boats, a.k.a. Downtown.

Since Downtown became a capitalized word, no sum of money’s too great if it gets people there by car, bus (if you can take the day off to wait for one) or Zike-Bike.

Of course, when a new gateway to Downtown opens it’s reserved for cars. I’m thinking about the North Boulevard Overpass which prohibits bicycles. The view from up there, by the way, is lovely — if you’re not wearing a car. I wouldn’t know what it looks like from the seat of a bicycle. Someone who accidentally rode over on a bicycle told me.

Why do we keep flogging the bicycle path idea? If we wanted bicycle paths, we’d build streets wide enough to accommodate them. Then, we’d connect parks, neighborhoods and stores by bicycle path.

Baton Rouge likes cars. Bicycles will not thin traffic. Traffic WILL thin bicycle riders. But if Baton Rougeans could pedal down the driveway and onto a bicycle path, they might ride for relaxation and fitness.

Until that happens, you may ride the levee anytime you wish. When the expensive asphalt ends, downshift your mountain bike and pedal on. If you’re in good enough shape, you’ll reach New Orleans in, oh, eight hours.

If you need to spend the night somewhere, I can recommend the sheltering willows at river’s edge. You might catch a chill. Bugs may bite you, but no one will harm you. Most people who crave the urban outdoors are at bus stops waiting on mass transit the government says is coming soon.

You may reach Ed Cullen at (225) 388-0306 or ecullen@theadvocate.com


http://www.2theadvocate.com/columnis...t/5891656.html

I think the same thing 300,000 dollars a mile to add pavement wow.

East Hill 02-18-07 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wheel
Why do we keep flogging the bicycle path idea? If we wanted bicycle paths, we’d build streets wide enough to accommodate them. Then, we’d connect parks, neighborhoods and stores by bicycle path.

You know, that sounds like a great idea to me. Perhaps we should send Mr. Cullen that message, eh?

East Hill

stapfam 02-19-07 02:13 AM

Widening the roads to give dedicated Bike paths is a great idea. But will it connect one village to the next by the short route, or just give bike access around towns? All the dedicated bike lanes do in our area is give the pedestrians a wider area to walk on- hence blocking the bike path- or give better parking for cars for "Just popping into the shops for an hour or so"

Here in the UK we have a fair amount of MUPS and they normally are the old Railway lines and Paths that have been used to connect communities. Initially it was just a hard surface put down and gradually these are being tarmaced. Unfortunately there is not just the initial building cost- there is also the maintenance cost. One local trail has an area in which the Tarmac has broken up and has been closed until it can be repaired.

Lets go back to the days when the path went through fields and woods and the only bike that can negotiate them are Mountain bikes. The cost would be a lot cheaper.

MUPs are great- They do get people out walking, cycling, running on them and have given people a good place to get out as a family to get some exercise. It is also a great place for the local yobboes to ride their Motorbikes without the police bothering them, Drug addicts can smoke their pot in peace and You can get abused by crowds of youths without the police bothering to answer to complaints.

I sound negative on mups- but I use them rather than go on the road. they are safer from traffic- but the cost- both financial and the problems they can cause have to be addressed.

Bill Kapaun 02-19-07 01:12 PM

Just curious-
What't a MUP?

East Hill 02-19-07 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
Just curious-
What's a MUP?

Multiple Use Path/aka 'paved trail' or just plain 'trail' (not a bike lane, though).

East Hill

operator 02-19-07 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by East Hill
Multiple Use Path/aka 'paved trail' or just plain 'trail' (not a bike lane, though).

East Hill

Most of them aren't suitable for bikes either.

chipcom 02-19-07 06:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wheel
I think the same thing 300,000 dollars a mile to add pavement wow.

Less than 1/3 the cost of rebuilding a mile of road, which was about one million per mile about 10 years ago, the last time I had to accept bids on a road project.

wheel 02-19-07 11:17 PM

I was dreaming of an elevated bicycle path with solar cells above.

Anywho, MUP's can be great.
I like MUPs 10feet wide for >10mph traffic and < 10mph

UmneyDurak 02-20-07 12:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chipcom
Less than 1/3 the cost of rebuilding a mile of road, which was about one million per mile about 10 years ago, the last time I had to accept bids on a road project.

Why so expensive?

chipcom 02-20-07 07:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
Why so expensive?

Expensive? That's low bid! The usual costs: materials, labor, subcontracts, insurance, taxes, profit margin and, of course PAYOFFS! I made $400 a month to serve in my illustrious position, HTF do you expect a self-respecting dishonest politician with champagne tastes to make a decent living without good ole graft! :D
<yes, I'm joking...about ME anyway> :eek:

phoebeisis 02-20-07 01:05 PM

Hey, that was my old riding ground. 1968-1973 I was at LSUBR and I rode down river on the levee 20 miles or more. There already was a road(shell/dirt/gravel) on top of the levee then; it was used for levee inspections(ha,ha) and levee board police regularily patrolled it. Once you got about 5-8 miles down river you ran into obstructions-fences, plants of various types that denied access, docks and unloading/loading facilities-and the path became just a path. You frequently had to head 1-2 miles away from the river to find the River Road when the levee became inaccessible. There are so many curves in the river that the river road doesn't actually follow the levee all the way from Big BR to NO.
Once I went to NO I rode upriver. Even in 1973 there was a good road(sometimes asphalt, other times it was shell or gravel). It extended at least 10-15 miles upriver as a decent road, and probably all the way-for levee inspections/repairs/patrols) as a car passable path.
I also lived midway between BR-NO in Gramercy,La from 1958-1970. There was a car passable path all along there also.
I'm guessing the main cost(ignoring our thieving politicians) would be to get around the various obstructions. Heck, the actual bike path(dirt sheel, gravel is already there, and there is a smooth asphalt for at least 20-30 miles of the 120 or so miles needed. Big tires bikes can easily ride the path as is; asphalt would be necessary for narrow tires, and better speeds, of course.
Thanks,
Charlie
PS I have lived within 1 mile of the river since 1958.

alanbikehouston 02-21-07 02:12 PM

Houston has many miles of flood control levees. There are work crews constantly maintaining the levees who needed a narrow access road along the top of the levee for their equipment. The Federal government pays many millions of dollars for that levee work, and paid for the access road. Then, a smart local leader got the idea of calling the access road a "bike trail". So, more millions of dollars of federal transportation money to maintain a bike trail.

This "trail" is a six inch thick strip of asphalt about ten feet wide. Somehow, Harris County convinces the federal government that building and maintaining this "trail" costs millions of dollars per mile.

But, the good news for cyclists is that it enables them to ride for miles at a time without encountering a motor vehicle. Except for the trucks and bulldozers used by the levee maintainnce crews. Which they always park right in the center of the "bike trail".


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