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Is 1 mile bike path worth 9.2 million?

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Is 1 mile bike path worth 9.2 million?

Old 02-22-09, 09:30 AM
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Is 1 mile bike path worth 9.2 million?

Minneapolis is proposing this controversial 1 mile stretch that will be the last link in a trail system.

Read here.
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Old 02-22-09, 09:44 AM
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They should build it. I have no problem with it. People are so ready to "do the right thing" except when it seems to cost money. Money is transient. One day you have it, next day you don't. The right thing is forever.
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Old 02-22-09, 09:50 AM
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what's the alternative? extremely bad layout or severe detour?
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Old 02-22-09, 09:58 AM
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I'll do it for 4.6
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Old 02-22-09, 09:59 AM
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I say build it.

We are going to have something akin to this in the near future in the Cleveland Ohio area. The final northern part of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath will end up being the most expensive portion. It needs to route through industrial areas (partially on the property of a steel mill) and is a very tricky proposition.

I think stuff like this needs to look at the complete length of the trail and deal with the average cost per mile.
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Old 02-22-09, 10:01 AM
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1 mile bike path or serve 3 million meals to the needy. Hmm...
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Old 02-22-09, 10:10 AM
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Pricey downtown land, old stone walls and steep, ragged slopes make path construction in the railroad trench a tough task between Washington Avenue and the river.
That might be part of the issue.

We're spending 1.6 billion on 4 miles of freeway here. Build the bike path.
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Old 02-22-09, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
1 mile bike path or serve 3 million meals to the needy. Hmm...
Bike path will be there long after the meals have been eaten...

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Old 02-22-09, 10:20 AM
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else you'll end up like Toronto with piss poor connections between various bike paths and trails when it has to cross a set of rails, freeways or rivers.
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Old 02-22-09, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
else you'll end up like Toronto with piss poor connections between various bike paths and trails when it has to cross a set of rails, freeways or rivers.
And drivers whining about bikers slowing them down while ad-libbing their own connector routes.
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Old 02-22-09, 10:46 AM
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yep, funnel effect.

the majority of the bridges and underpasses in use now were never designed for more than 2 cars each way and the road narrows when going on the bridges and underpasses.
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Old 02-22-09, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeguy View Post
Minneapolis is proposing this controversial 1 mile stretch that will be the last link in a trail system.

Read here.
I donno, what does it cost to add a lane to a freeway? There always seems to be money for more freeway lanes... but support any other form of transit and the whines start immediately.

Of course most of the noise comes from locals that don't want their monies used for what they consider a sport... "those cyclists and their toys..."

If cycling was considered transportation, then the federal funding would be there to support it...

But that's not how it works here in America.

According to the article, in this case the costs are due to the price of the land that is needed for the path... not the construction itself. No matter what would be done with that land, if it is a public project, it will cost. Period

I know how they can save a bundle of money... just close an existing downtown street to motorists and turn it over to cyclists. (provided of course such a street existed to make the connection. ) Then let people whine when they want to add another road for cars. BINGO!

Or perhaps instead of letting all those cars park downtown for what ever a typical meter costs... they should up the ante to really reflect the value of the land that each car occupies. That might open a few eyes.

Last edited by genec; 02-22-09 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 02-22-09, 11:24 AM
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Interesting article. Funding the last stretch of a trail, particularly when it passes through an urban area, seems to be difficult. The Allegheny Trail Alliance, for instance, is trying to get the last nine miles of the Great Allegheny Passage from McKeesport to Pittsburgh complete, and land rights and costs are a major stumbling block. The Schuylkill River Trail linking Philadelphia with its suburbs has the same problem - the cost of land in rural Chester County prevents construction of the segment linking Phoenixville and Pottstown. Both trails would reduce road traffic by providing car-free corridors to cyclists.
 
Old 02-22-09, 11:32 AM
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Heck in San Diego it is the last 3 feet that seems impossible... where we have bike paths there seems to be a real deficit in curb cuts... so cyclists are forced to pick up their bikes to go from the road to the path. Sort of defeats the whole "complete network notion."
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Old 02-22-09, 12:22 PM
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I'm torn. That stretch is badly needed. Making that connection to the river is suicidal on a tranquil Sunday morning. Rush hour is just plane bananas. It would fill a significant need.

OTOH:

We are having some tremendous safety issues on our commuter pathways and this proposed one looks to be worse than ever in this regard.

Further: How many miles of well designed bike lanes might we get for 9 million?

This project is like the SABO Bridge: really nice, not well thought out, very expensive for what it does.
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Old 02-22-09, 12:23 PM
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Our bike paths in Indiana are just getting started, really. The Monon has been there for years, but others have been slow going. What has helped, though, is that a lot of them are built/being built on donated land. Many property-owners see the value of having a bike trail, and donate the necessary right-of-way (or the land itself) to the trail cause.

Here in Greencastle, most of our trail (People Pathways) is built on donated land. It's a short trail, I suppose, at 3 miles or so. Right now, it connects to bike lanes on the roads before becoming a rail-trail that runs from from here to Fillmore. There are many such small trails throughout this part of Indiana. The plan is for all of them to be connected one day.

When they are all completed, I will be able to ride from Greencastle to Indianapolis (about 50-60 miles, depending on where you're going) almost entirely on bike paths. Of course, I'll likely be riding a trike by then, as I'll be 120.
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Old 02-22-09, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Heck in San Diego it is the last 3 feet that seems impossible... where we have bike paths there seems to be a real deficit in curb cuts... so cyclists are forced to pick up their bikes to go from the road to the path. Sort of defeats the whole "complete network notion."

You'd love Little Rock's half-block long sidewalks. They start and stop without rhyme or reason.
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Old 02-22-09, 01:02 PM
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Build it. The cost of building will just keep going up. sub 10 million now will be 12 million within 5 years.
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Old 02-22-09, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
I'm torn. That stretch is badly needed. Making that connection to the river is suicidal on a tranquil Sunday morning. Rush hour is just plane bananas. It would fill a significant need.

OTOH:

We are having some tremendous safety issues on our commuter pathways and this proposed one looks to be worse than ever in this regard.

Further: How many miles of well designed bike lanes might we get for 9 million?

This project is like the SABO Bridge: really nice, not well thought out, very expensive for what it does.
I'm glad you commented, as someone familiar to the problem area.
To me, one of the key issues is - does this expenditure fill a demand that justifies the cost? My commute doesn't take me this way so I don't feel particularly qualified in answering. Also, if the project is rejected, the 9 mil won't be "transferred" to some other bike worthy cause.
An important question is, will this link really be populated and utilized? Or is this merely fulfilling somebodys pork barrel dream of a "complete" trail system.
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Old 02-22-09, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeguy View Post
I'm glad you commented, as someone familiar to the problem area.
To me, one of the key issues is - does this expenditure fill a demand that justifies the cost?
How many roads have been built to suburbia that served no one until development filled in after the road was long completed?

I know out my way there were roads out to communities in the east counties, and a few homes, but as soon as a freeway went in, the cul-d-sac housing popped up like mushrooms.

The thing about cycling infrastructure is that the demand may not be there today... but in 10 years or so, after yet another run up on oil prices... maybe that 9.2 million will look like a bargain.
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Old 02-22-09, 02:40 PM
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I don't even know if 9.2 million is a lot when you're talking about building infrastructure (any at all). Is it?
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Old 02-22-09, 02:56 PM
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Build it. Completing a network is a good thing (I wish we could get that done in a few places around DC). Around here, though, it would mostly benefit re-creators.

I also like the idea of spending the money on bike lanes on the roadways. That's actually more to the point (and would absolutely get my vote around here). The bad news there, though, is that unless there is real change in perceptions of bicycles as viable transportation for large segments of the populace (rather than just the "lunatic fringe"), and a real, long-term commitment to changing our social infrastructure (which means, of course, that we change the way we currently live our ridiculous lives), even $9.2 mil is a drop in an empty bucket.

Cheers!
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Old 02-22-09, 03:09 PM
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9.2 mil is the "original" estimate,which could quadruple in price.
Like Bostons' Big Dig. Even looking at a local 17 cent gas tax hike.
All the infrastructure "original" estimate work in the stimulus bill.(shudder)
As they say in the big house..."Git er done"
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Old 02-22-09, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
1 mile bike path or serve 3 million meals to the needy. Hmm...
And a day later, the needy will be hungry again, but the path will still be there, reducing the amount people spend to feed to cars every day, leaving them the money to perhaps help the needy.
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Old 02-22-09, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
1 mile bike path or serve 3 million meals to the needy. Hmm...
If you put everything in those terms the needy would be fat.
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