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Old 10-19-04, 02:23 PM   #1
genec
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I was responding to a different thread and thought I would throw this over here. These are "natural" bike paths... paths created by cyclists to get from point A to point B in spite of bike lanes and to route around really poorly designed accesses.

I just saw over the weekend, by a bit of exploring and looking at satellite pics, that there loads of "off road" trails in the La Jolla/Sorrento Valley area, that I could actually use to commute to work. http://terraserver.microsoft.com/ima...=4546&z=11&w=2

Oddly enough, this means that cyclists have, in spite of bike lanes, and probably because of lousy traffic patterns, formed their own "Bike Paths." This reminds me of a story I heard about a university at one time that built new dorms but did not put in sidewalks... the architech of the project said to wait... shortly after the first semester there were paths across the common areas from students scurrying to classes, these were later turned into sidewalks and served the area well.

In the lower part of the pic is a RR track that is paralled by several "Paths" and where the terrain and fencing and roads obscure the "Paths" they simply found a new route... keeping mainly to the low parts of the valleys, between the mesas.

It looks like bike path heaven down there to the right (east) of the major north south freeway.

This particular area is notorious for bad bike access...

A close in pic shows the "Paths" and how they branch from one location after going under a freeway bridge. These are "natural" paths formed by users that are "looking for a better way." Note that so many of these Paths parallel the only other road in the area, a freeway. These could and perhaps should be sanctioned bike Paths... sigh.
http://terraserver.microsoft.com/ima...=9090&z=11&w=2

What do you folks think?
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Old 10-19-04, 07:47 PM   #2
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They could, if right of way could be obtained from the property owners.
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Old 10-20-04, 12:18 AM   #3
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I believe that the proper term for these natural trails is "social paths."
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Old 10-20-04, 10:07 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by richm
I believe that the proper term for these natural trails is "social paths."
These are quite well formed "social paths" that rival official paved bike paths, there are bridges built across creeks, and ramps at curbs. The only differences are the fact that they are not paved. They are well used and allow riders to avoid otherwise poorly planned bike lanes and otherwise hazardous traffic (situations where cyclists would be climbing hills at 5-7MPH next to fast moving traffic at 45-50MPH or be forced to use one route that actually goes on the freeway for a 1/2 mile stretch)

I find it quite interesting that in the face of the lack of good municiple bicycle path planning, the cyclist themselves have carved their own routes.
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Old 10-20-04, 10:55 AM   #5
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The scale of the photo makes it kind of hard to get an idea for where these paths go. I am guessing the whole photo only covers about 1 square mile. I increased the size of the photo to 16 meter resolution from 4 meter and noticed that almost none of the "official" roads runs in a straight line. This situation makes things ripe for unofficial shortcuts.

Another interesting thing: if you select topo-maps, the unofficial paths disappear leaving only the roads and elevation markings.

I live in a city mostly laid out on a grid, so there is usually a less traveled road nearby to a heavily traveled one.

Dan
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Old 10-20-04, 11:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DanFromDetroit
The scale of the photo makes it kind of hard to get an idea for where these paths go. I am guessing the whole photo only covers about 1 square mile. I increased the size of the photo to 16 meter resolution from 4 meter and noticed that almost none of the "official" roads runs in a straight line. This situation makes things ripe for unofficial shortcuts.

Another interesting thing: if you select topo-maps, the unofficial paths disappear leaving only the roads and elevation markings.

I live in a city mostly laid out on a grid, so there is usually a less traveled road nearby to a heavily traveled one.

Dan

Due to the local geography, that of mesas (flat hill tops) and valleys, the major roads either bridge across the valleys (the freeways) or have short connector boulevards that tie the mesas together. The connector boulevards tend to have high speed limits and lots of traffic as they are the only way to get from mesa to mesa. While often there is a bike lane on these boulevards, in some cases there is nothing, therefore the cyclist has really no way to get from mesa to mesa, other than sheer guts, and taking a lane. Even where a bike lane does exist, the traffic whizes by at 45-50MPH while the cyclist grunts up the hill to the next mesa... not a pleasent situation.

Obviously there is no way to layout a grid with this type of situation... So parallel "lesser roads" don't exist.

The "social paths" tend to follow the valley floors rather then travel from mesa to valley to mesa as the paved roads... so the route may be a bit odd. The other nice thing is that the "social paths" tend to be quiet, as there is no auto traffic.

The only drawback is that the paths are not paved and so one needs a bike well equipped to go off road, and during the rainy season (just started) the paths won't dry for some time.

Having found this I am considering changing my commuter "truck" to a MTB... as this appears to be a lot more fun way to get around.
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