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Old 06-29-07, 12:55 PM   #1
skanking biker
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Bike path makes trip faster

http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=199497

They call him Captain Tenacity.

And if you've had the pleasure of walking or cycling on the splendid pedestrian-bike path that runs along the newly restored, mile-long Yahara River Parkway, you'll appreciate why.

Before the 12-year parkway project was officially completed June 9, biking from the north shore of Lake Monona to Tenney Park on Lake Mendota usually took 15 minutes, notes Captain Tenacity, aka Ed Jepsen, the driving force behind the undertaking. It also meant risking your life crossing heavily traveled East Johnson Street and East Washington Avenue, he says.

Now, the trip takes five minutes at most.


"People tell me they can't believe how much quicker this makes it," says Jepsen, who last week was acting like a proud papa as he showed off the scenic 101-year-old parkway, which connects the Marquette and Tenney-Lapham neighborhoods.

Though the 56-year-old east side resident emphasizes the project was a "great team effort" involving hundreds (he gives special credit to recently retired Ald. Judy Olson, neighborhood activists Richard Linster and Bob Queen, and his colleagues in the Friends of the Yahara River Parkway, a nonprofit group), the general consensus is this was Ed's baby.

Which explains why Jepsen and his wife, Kristin Groth, threw a party at their Oakbridge Avenue home shortly after the June 9 ribbon-cutting ceremony that was attended by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, assorted city staffers and about 60 neighbors and parkway advocates.

"Ed is such a great asset because he had a clear vision of how the neighborhoods could be linked by the parkway," says David Flesch, a Dane County court commissioner and Tenney-Lapham neighborhood resident. "He went to all the planning meetings, lined up all the political support, got the neighbors involved. He planted the trees, watered the trees. He did everything."

Jepsen, who in his other life works for the Department of Natural Resources, estimates that he's contributed more than 5,000 hours to the project since it was first proposed by the two neighborhoods in the early 1990s and approved in 1997 by a city steering committee that Jepsen co-chaired.

At that time, the parkway was "like a series of sausage links that were pinched by the bridges (at East Johnson and East Washington)," Jepsen says. "This project opens the links up. Now there's no impediment each time you come to a bridge."

That's because the project features two new underpasses: a tunnel that runs under the East Johnson Street bridge at Tenney Park and another, wider underpass beneath the handsome, new Prairie-style bridge on East Washington Avenue.

"It's made a huge difference," says Molly Reineck, who was jogging on the path one recent morning. Reineck, a 28-year-old social worker, says she and her fiance, Reed Damon, recently purchased a home in the Tenney area and now use the path to bike to restaurants and other businesses on Williamson Street.

One quibble: "I wish they'd put more lights on it, because it's really dark at night," she says.

The total cost of the project was roughly $4.3 million ($2.7 million of which were federal funds).

And while Jepsen is the first to admit that that's not cheap, he suggests it's small potatoes when you consider the benefits for east side residents.

"I think you have to ask, What do we want the city to be?' " he says. "And if you live on the isthmus, you're very sensitive to the issue of traffic. That's why isthmus residents generally are very supportive of mass transit, commuter rail, the trolley idea and whatnot.

"The concept here was to have a greenspace from lake to lake that would be accessible for both boaters and people who walk and bike along it."

Still, there were some formidable obstacles to overcome, Jepsen says.

Among them: securing the necessary funding, mostly through grants; persuading city officials and engineers to go along with what the neighborhoods wanted; and alleviating the concerns of residents and business people who questioned whether it made sense to convert a large section of Thornton Avenue -- which had served as a popular shortcut for drivers wanting to get from Williamson Street to East Washington Avenue -- into a bike path-greenspace.

Jepsen says he understood the concerns.

"Change is always difficult," he says. "But as I said at the opening, if you're going to have a great city you've got to have great infrastructure. And that's not just roads and bridges, it's also greenspace and transportation systems, the things that knit neighborhoods together."

Jepsen acknowledges that some people are flabbergasted when they find out how much time he devoted to the project. What was the incentive?

"OK, if you want the truth, I'm obsessive," he says with a laugh. "I guess deep down I've always wanted to be an urban planner. And my philosophy is, if you really care about something, then get involved and do something about it."

In fact, if there's one thing he's learned over the years, it's that there's nothing quite as fulfilling as volunteering, says Jepsen, who also helps out at the Luke House and the Interfaith Hospitality Network, both of which serve the homeless.

Besides, you never know where it might lead, he says.

Case in point: In 1998, while attending a parkway planning meeting hosted by the Urban Open Space Foundation, he noticed an attractive woman taking notes. Intrigued, he later called her, introduced himself and asked her out.

Two years later, Captain Tenacity and Kristin Groth were married.

"See what can happen when you volunteer?" he says.
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Old 06-29-07, 01:27 PM   #2
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the project features two new underpasses: a tunnel that runs under the East Johnson Street bridge at Tenney Park and another, wider underpass beneath the handsome, new Prairie-style bridge on East Washington Avenue.
Providing shorter travel routes is good. A well designed path on which cyclists can operate in a manner that does not conflict with ordinary rules for drivers is good.

Does this path require cyclists to operate contrary to the traffic rules for drivers of vehicles in order to enjoy a shorter route? If so, why? If not, why post in this sub-forum?
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Old 06-29-07, 01:41 PM   #3
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Perhaps I should have labelled the thread "Bike path makes travel easier, faster, and less stressful."

Apparently the denzins of Madison disagree w/ JF's assertion that bike paths make riding more difficult and do not decrease the stress for riders.
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Old 06-29-07, 05:47 PM   #4
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Perhaps I should have labelled the thread "Bike path makes travel easier, faster, and less stressful."

Apparently the denzins of Madison disagree w/ JF's assertion that bike paths make riding more difficult and do not decrease the stress for riders.
I have not made such an unqualified claim. I have always stated that there do exist a few locations where a good transportational bike path can be built, but always with the caveat that there are so few such locations that they cannot form a transportation system. Furthermore, I have always stated that even well-designed bike paths, if they attract the quantity of traffic that would justify their cost, are likely to be filled with traffic that operates without obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, which therefore forms a great danger to cyclists attempting to operate at normally attainable roadway speeds. It is commonplace that paths that provide good service at morning commuting hours, when most of the traffic is go-to-work cyclists with some sense of the rules, they fail to provide the same service in the evening commuting time, when much of the traffic operates in ways that disobey the rules of the road.

I note that the only traffic described in the announcement is that of jogging.

Some of you discussants are so strongly devoted to trying to demonstrate something deleterious in what you think is my position (motoring for all) or what is my position (cyclists ought to operate as drivers of vehicles, with appropriate social and governmental support) that you advance illogical arguments and erroneous facts to support your faith. The result that you have demonstrated is that you have only illogical arguments and erroneous facts. That's your fault, not mine.
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Old 06-29-07, 11:11 PM   #5
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I have always stated that there do exist a few locations where a good transportational bike path can be built..
a few locations in most cities, johhny? seems to be the case in most big and mid sized cities I've been in.

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....always with the caveat that there are so few such locations that they cannot form a transportation system
your caveat is lousy. Bike paths and MUPS can form part of a transportation system for bicycling across communities.

your damnification of bike infrastructure is outlandishly fallacious, jhon.

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Old 06-30-07, 08:32 AM   #6
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a few locations in most cities, johhny? seems to be the case in most big and mid sized cities I've been in.

your caveat is lousy. Bike paths and MUPS can form part of a transportation system for bicycling across communities.

your damnification of bike infrastructure is outlandishly fallacious, jhon.
Let's see $4.3 million and 12 years to get this: "The concept here was to have a greenspace from lake to lake that would be accessible for both boaters and people who walk and bike along it." Sounds like a recreational facility that may see some transportational use. Wouldn't you rather see that same money put towards widening the outside lane of the busy arterial that connects the same areas if transportational cycling is your goal?
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Old 06-30-07, 08:49 AM   #7
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cities like Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Santa Barbara sounds like Green Bay, and many others have MUPS that can and do serve transportational bicyclists. Denver has over 200 miles of transportationally appropriate path as part of that metro bike network.

I'd like to see greater emphasis on bike facilties of all kinds, joe. Wide lanes, bike lanes, bike paths, driver education, public service campaigns, legislative advocacy, subsidies for bicycling, better bike racks, etc.

all of that is part and parcel of encouraging and facilitating bicycling. not just wide lanes.
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Old 06-30-07, 08:56 AM   #8
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all of that is part and parcel of encouraging and facilitating bicycling. not just wide lanes.
Maybe, but where is the effort and money best spent?
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Old 06-30-07, 09:35 AM   #9
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this is my opinion, but merely making roads with wider lanes for better distracted driving by texting, cell phone chatting, movie watching drivers is a total bicycling advocacy copeout and a bow-down to autocentric road design.

cities that are more "bikeable" have broad, diverse bike facilties implementation and bike networks including a diversity of on road and off road accomodations.
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Old 06-30-07, 09:36 AM   #10
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Maybe, but where is the effort and money best spent?
Of course, this depends on local concerns. Different places have different needs, some of which may need to be addressed urgently at the expense of anything else. But speaking very generally, transportation dollars are best spent on fully separated class one bikeways through urban areas, imo. It's been said that there are not many places where transportationally useful paths could be built -- there may be some truth in that, but with a good MUP a little goes a long way. In cities where just one can be installed properly it is likely to have a significant, noticeable positive effect for local cyclists that far outweighs any residual negative effects on access to roads. I think there are a lot of folks living in places where it is hard to imagine transportationally significant MUPs; I hope those people don't screw it up for others who could really use these facilities.

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Old 06-30-07, 10:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
a few locations in most cities, johhny? seems to be the case in most big and mid sized cities I've been in.

your caveat is lousy. Bike paths and MUPS can form part of a transportation system for bicycling across communities.

your damnification of bike infrastructure is outlandishly fallacious, jhon.
Oh, my, my, my, you do expose your rage, don't you, by the illogical nature of your comments? To support your sneer, please provide data on the lengths of transportational MUPs versus the lengths of the streets in the same areas. Or, if you can put it together, use the length of the locations that would allow good transportational MUPs to be built. I think that you will find the length of existing, or reasonably possible, good transportational MUPs to be far smaller than the length of the streets that cyclists already use.

The comment about there being insufficient locations for good transportationally useful MUPs to form a system is intended to caution those who argue for a complete system of MUPs with the argument that this would avoid the necessity of using traffic-cycling skills. There are such people, still.
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Old 06-30-07, 03:22 PM   #12
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We have a beautiful Rivertrail here in Lansing, a MUP that's totally segregated from motor traffic. It runs diagonally across the city, so it makes distances shorter for many trips. I like it and use it a lot. It's quite pretty, and it's easy riding becaus it follows the river, hence no hills.

But I sure don't use it when I'm in a hurry. Despite the shorter distances, you have to ride much more slowly, or you'll hit somebody or something for sure.

Less stressful? No, not really. I mutter under my breath a lot, because the idiotic walkers and cyclists ride all over the trail and weave and dodge with no preictability whatsoever. Not to mention the geese and woodchucks! I wear out my brake pads on that trail.

I don't see trails being superior to roads until they limit them to bikes, and put cops on them to enforce vehicular safety rules.
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Old 06-30-07, 03:36 PM   #13
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I don't see trails being superior to roads until they limit them to bikes, and put cops on them to enforce vehicular safety rules.
Oh like the cops now enforce the rules on the streets... right...
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Old 06-30-07, 05:03 PM   #14
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I evaluate roads, bike lanes, and MUPs on a case-by-case basis. I particularly like San Diego's Rose Canyon bikeway, for which there is no reasonably direct alternative. I also like the San Luis Rey River path, but would admittedly feel differently if it were more heavily used. I tend to use it eastbound to avoid a couple of nasty free merges and diverges at access ramps, but use the faster and more direct 78 expressway westbound.

A complete and usable bicycle transportation system must include road access and wide outside lanes or usable shoulders on high-speed arterials, but these do not preclude opportunistic MUPs and Class I facilities.
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Old 06-30-07, 06:08 PM   #15
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Among them: securing the necessary funding, mostly through grants; persuading city officials and engineers to go along with what the neighborhoods wanted; and alleviating the concerns of residents and business people who questioned whether it made sense to convert a large section of Thornton Avenue -- which had served as a popular shortcut for drivers wanting to get from Williamson Street to East Washington Avenue -- into a bike path-greenspace.

Jepsen says he understood the concerns.

"Change is always difficult," he says. "But as I said at the opening, if you're going to have a great city you've got to have great infrastructure. And that's not just roads and bridges, it's also greenspace and transportation systems, the things that knit neighborhoods together."
I'm glad there are people like this around who care about great infrastructure, and who are willing to do the work to build and knit together neighborhoods the way people want them to be. I'm grateful not everyone (and gratefully hardly anyone outside the rarified world of BF) thinks like JoeJack, John Forester and other like-minded obstructionists.
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Old 07-03-07, 08:51 AM   #16
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I'm glad there are people like this around who care about great infrastructure, and who are willing to do the work to build and knit together neighborhoods the way people want them to be. I'm grateful not everyone (and gratefully hardly anyone outside the rarified world of BF) thinks like JoeJack, John Forester and other like-minded obstructionists.
As soon as the bike path advocates start caring about cyclists rights to the road I'll start caring about 1 mile long $4.3 million shortcut paths. Too many bike path advocates are more than happy to declare every road too dangerous to bike on in exchange for getting a bike path installed. I see a huge problem with this.
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Old 07-03-07, 09:12 AM   #17
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joe, your misconceptions are alarming.
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Old 07-03-07, 09:14 AM   #18
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As soon as the bike path advocates start caring about cyclists rights to the road I'll start caring about 1 mile long $4.3 million shortcut paths. Too many bike path advocates are more than happy to declare every road too dangerous to bike on in exchange for getting a bike path installed. I see a huge problem with this.
non sequitur? It seems you already care. Perhaps a bit too much. I mean, we all pay for some stuff that we don't agree with or don't like. It's the price to pay for living in the USA. Right now, I happen to be paying for a $4 billion/month war that I wish I wasn't. For that amount of coin, we could make a serious dent in a whole slew of social problems. Alas though, this is a democracy and sometimes we pay for things we don't like.

Sorry, I'll stop with the P&R stuff now. I just want to make a point that you seem unjustifiably resentful for paying for things that a majority of your local population seem to want.
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Old 07-03-07, 12:51 PM   #19
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non sequitur? It seems you already care. Perhaps a bit too much. I mean, we all pay for some stuff that we don't agree with or don't like. It's the price to pay for living in the USA. Right now, I happen to be paying for a $4 billion/month war that I wish I wasn't. For that amount of coin, we could make a serious dent in a whole slew of social problems. Alas though, this is a democracy and sometimes we pay for things we don't like.

Sorry, I'll stop with the P&R stuff now. I just want to make a point that you seem unjustifiably resentful for paying for things that a majority of your local population seem to want.
I shouldn't have brought the money issue into it. That clouds my argument as you are correct in stating that we all pay for a lot of things that we don't agree with. The main point that I wanted to stress has to do with giving up rights to the road to get these paths installed.
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Old 07-03-07, 01:17 PM   #20
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I'm glad there are people like this around who care about great infrastructure, and who are willing to do the work to build and knit together neighborhoods the way people want them to be. I'm grateful not everyone (and gratefully hardly anyone outside the rarified world of BF) thinks like JoeJack, John Forester and other like-minded obstructionists.
Diane considers the value of this facility to be in "knit[ting] together neighborhoods the way people want them to be." Madison is rather an hour-glass shaped city, with lakes on each side of the narrow waist. The trail under discussion crosses the narrow waist along the valley of the river that joins the two lakes. The total distance is 1.1 miles. The large part of the cost, it appears, was in tunneling under the major two of the six roads that cross the valley, possibly on bridges. The neighborhoods that would find themselves connected by this trail, in addition to the existing connections by streets, constitute about 30 city block-lengths of streets.

It is rather obvious that there is little transportational potential along this route, particularly since the fish in the lakes at each end do not ride bicycles. This trail is clearly largely a recreational trail, and may well be very nice for that purpose. I have no objections at all to having such a trail completed, provided that it is done with park or recreational funds. I strongly object to calling this a significant facility for bicycle transportation. Doing so is symptomatic of the foolishness of our governmental program for bicycle transportation.

The presence of this trail on this list, devoted to vehicular cycling and associated aspects of bicycle transportation, is an irrelevant affront to many of us produced by whomever introduced this facility into this forum.
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Old 07-03-07, 01:23 PM   #21
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The main point that I wanted to stress has to do with giving up rights to the road to get these paths installed.
What rights to the road have you been forced to give up due to the installation of bike paths?
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Old 07-03-07, 01:25 PM   #22
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The presence of this trail on this list, devoted to vehicular cycling and associated aspects of bicycle transportation, is an irrelevant affront to many of us produced by whomever introduced this facility into this forum.
And nobody knows better than yourself about relevant affronts, eh?
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Old 07-03-07, 01:28 PM   #23
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What rights to the road have you been forced to give up due to the installation of bike paths?
In areas where I ride daily? None. There's no room to put bike paths either so I probably don't have much to worry about. The closest bike ban due to an existing path is the Schuykill River path in Philly where cyclists are banned from the roadway during morning rush hour. Plenty of other bike bans have occurred in other cities that have been brought to my attention in this forum. As a cyclist who values his right to the road, I don't see any of these bans (notice that I didn't say "bike paths" in place of bans) as a good thing and would like to prevent more of them from occurring.
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Old 07-03-07, 02:02 PM   #24
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And nobody knows better than yourself about relevant affronts, eh?
Good one!
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Old 07-03-07, 03:54 PM   #25
Brian Ratliff
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Near Portland, OR
Bikes: Three road bikes. Two track bikes.
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You know what's funny. JF always addresses Diane in the third person, as if she is on display and he is talking to someone else. Everyone else (who happen to all be male) he addresses directly. It is, really, the only time in my life that I have seen such a display of ingrained sexism.

Sorry, just a little observation. Carry on.
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Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
"If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter
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