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Are they going to close the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cyclists???

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Are they going to close the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cyclists???

Old 12-09-11, 03:57 PM
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Are they going to close the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cyclists???

From The Blue Ridge Outdoors: << link

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the single most popular road for bicyclists in the Blue Ridge. Cyclists cherish the Parkway’s 469 scenic miles from Shenandoah to the Smokies. Even Lance Armstrong pedaled the high-elevation road during his Tour de France championship training.

Unfortunately, the Blue Ridge Parkway’s newly released draft management plan could limit cycling on the Parkway. The draft plan focuses exclusively on the Parkway being “actively managed as a traditional, self-contained, scenic recreational driving experience.”


We can't let this happen.

Please read the article and write to:

Superintendent Philip A. Francis, Jr.
Blue Ridge Parkway
199 Hemphill Knob Road
Asheville, NC 28803

By 16 December.
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Old 12-09-11, 04:13 PM
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I'll send a letter.

But there's a typo in your quote, where they identify the Blue Ridge Parkway as a "high-elevation road."
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Old 12-09-11, 04:27 PM
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That would totally suck. We love to go to Asheville and ride on the Parkway.

Already responded on the website.

Hospitality industry along the Parkway needs to weigh in on the business this would cost them.
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Old 12-09-11, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I'll send a letter.

But there's a typo in your quote, where they identify the Blue Ridge Parkway as a "high-elevation road."
Hey, I just copy and paste. I'm a lot more concerned this fabulous ride is gonna be taken away from us.
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Old 12-09-11, 05:26 PM
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great...just when i was planning on doing it this upcoming year
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Old 12-09-11, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen
great...just when i was planning on doing it this upcoming year
Write the letter.
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Old 12-09-11, 06:41 PM
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Where is the Blue Ridge Parkway? In the United States?
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Old 12-09-11, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Fedor
Where is the Blue Ridge Parkway? In the United States?
Superintendent Philip A. Francis, Jr.
Blue Ridge Parkway
199 Hemphill Knob Road
Asheville, NC 28803

So reading the first post or a copy past into google would have been quicker than me writing this sentence, but whatever.
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Old 12-09-11, 07:53 PM
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Yes, the Blue Ridge Parkway is in the United States. It's a scenic road through a mountainous area with various camping and other tourist sites along the way. Popular with touring bicyclists, motorcyclists, RV and other motorists.

Unless I'm missing something, I don't see any indication in any of the three alternatives presented in their general plan that would close the parkway to bicyclists. One of the alternatives is to basically continue operations as they are currently while the other two make various changes such as extending the season of certain facilities, adding additional facilities, and adding some multi-use paved paths.
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Old 12-09-11, 11:17 PM
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my guess is, and i'm a skeptic, that the entity that is asking cyclists to put up a fuss is a for profit enterprise that feels they are being threatened financially and is trying to enlist a third party (us) to help them. no thanks.
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Old 12-10-11, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan
my guess is, and i'm a skeptic, that the entity that is asking cyclists to put up a fuss is a for profit enterprise that feels they are being threatened financially and is trying to enlist a third party (us) to help them. no thanks.
No, while I can appreciate your doubt this is a real threat to cyclists and we need to voice our concern.

Here's the link to the online Public Comment area:

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentF...cumentID=43487
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Old 12-10-11, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
Yes, the Blue Ridge Parkway is in the United States. It's a scenic road through a mountainous area with various camping and other tourist sites along the way. Popular with touring bicyclists, motorcyclists, RV and other motorists.

Unless I'm missing something, I don't see any indication in any of the three alternatives presented in their general plan that would close the parkway to bicyclists. One of the alternatives is to basically continue operations as they are currently while the other two make various changes such as extending the season of certain facilities, adding additional facilities, and adding some multi-use paved paths.

I haven't read the proposed plans in detail but from the link provided on this thread the problem is that it promotes the parkway as a "driving experience" which implies it's not considering the non motorized users of the parkway.
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Old 12-10-11, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by roadiejorge
I haven't read the proposed plans in detail but from the link provided on this thread the problem is that it promotes the parkway as a "driving experience" which implies it's not considering the non motorized users of the parkway.
The detailed plans do mention bicyclists as intended users of the parkway. Both alternative B and C (A is to continue with current policies) state:
"The parkway and other park roads would
continue to be available to bicyclists and
provide an outstanding cycling experience. In
general, the parkway’s limited access, lower
traffic levels, and scenic setting provide for a
quality cycling experience. This would
continue to be a long-term beneficial impact
on the quality of visitor’s bicycling experience."

I read the description of the parkway as being a "driving experience" to emphasize that traveling the road is the purpose of most visitors in contrast to normal roadways which are "transportation facilities" with the goal being to get over them as quickly as possible to reach the real destinations. Nothing there suggests that the driving must be of a motor vehicle as opposed to a bicycle or other conveyance.

Last edited by prathmann; 12-10-11 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 12-11-11, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo
No, while I can appreciate your doubt this is a real threat to cyclists and we need to voice our concern.

Here's the link to the online Public Comment area:

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentF...cumentID=43487
Incorrect. BRO's and your sensationalism do nothing to help further a rational discussion.
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Old 12-13-11, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
The detailed plans do mention bicyclists as intended users of the parkway. Both alternative B and C (A is to continue with current policies) state:
"The parkway and other park roads would
continue to be available to bicyclists and
provide an outstanding cycling experience. In
general, the parkway’s limited access, lower
traffic levels, and scenic setting provide for a
quality cycling experience. This would
continue to be a long-term beneficial impact
on the quality of visitor’s bicycling experience."

I read the description of the parkway as being a "driving experience" to emphasize that traveling the road is the purpose of most visitors in contrast to normal roadways which are "transportation facilities" with the goal being to get over them as quickly as possible to reach the real destinations. Nothing there suggests that the driving must be of a motor vehicle as opposed to a bicycle or other conveyance.
Both alternatives B and C would add multipurpose trails (ie. bike trails) alongside the highway in some areas. The NPS preferred approach would only do this in the "Boone/Blowing Rock area", where alternative C would do this in the "Waynesboro,
Roanoke, and Asheville urban areas".

The cynic in me suspects that the folks claiming that the NPS plans would close the road to cyclists are really trying to boost that trail construction.
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Old 12-13-11, 03:02 PM
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Here is a link to email the National Park Service Superintendent, Blue Ridge Parkway, Phil Francis. Please just clink on it and send him an email.

https://capwiz.com/lab/issues/alert/?...57536&queueid=[capwiz:queue_id]

Please do this!! All are appreciated, and it will make a difference.

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Old 12-13-11, 03:48 PM
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READ the proposal. None of the plan options propose banning cyclists from the BRP. Then DO send a positive note to the NPS to let them know how much you as a cyclist value the BRP. No need to follow the flaming downward spiral of the BRO.
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Old 12-13-11, 04:41 PM
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Here is a succinct description of the problem (brought to you by BRO but nicely put none the less):

The Parkway management plan proposes two important changes:
1) Focus parkway management and funding primarily on DRIVING
2) Place the Parkway on Historic Register
Neither of these changes is inherently bad, but both could result in closures or limitations for cyclists. By placing their management focus exclusively on driving, they can make management decisions such as restricting cyclists during summer months or certain times of day. They can also close certain sections of the Parkway to cyclists (and runners, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts).
By placing the Parkway on the Historic Register, they cannot make any future modifications to the road for bicycle safety without undergoing an arduous bureaucratic process.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:32 PM
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Bicycles mean less dependence on cars, no huge debt burden for many, fewer mortgages and foreclosures, healthier people, less justification for endless wars for oil.

Bicyclists are okay as long as they are out of sight, or visibly poor..or ...

People driving past in cars seeing happy bicyclists enjoying the experience without being in peril of their lives bothers those people.

They don't like that, its really like a religious war for them.

Last edited by christ0ph; 12-13-11 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:34 PM
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dont know what it is. dont care.

in other local news, can you believe that the local water council is banning rain dancing in public?
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Old 12-14-11, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by steve_wmn
Both alternatives B and C would add multipurpose trails (ie. bike trails) alongside the highway in some areas. The NPS preferred approach would only do this in the "Boone/Blowing Rock area", where alternative C would do this in the "Waynesboro,
Roanoke, and Asheville urban areas".
Why on earth would they need a separated path in Waynesboro? Riding the parkway is as safe there as anywhere I've ridden. I've only seen moderate local traffic in the Roanoke area, and even there the roadway is perfectly safe.
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Old 12-19-11, 11:28 AM
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Everyone,

I hope you would have read Anne Whisnant's articles linked to from our site. No one but the editor of the article linked to above suggested the Parkway would be closed to cyclists, but Parkway management are definitely playing dirty pool with the options presented in their Draft Plan.

The essence of the issue is, they're trying to wall themselves off from having to engage with local communities and user groups, then preserve their fifedom with the red tape of NHL status.

As the Parkway's greatest threat by far is encroaching development, this is not the way forward. Second is dwindling funding. Addressing both these issues requires engagement with surrounding communities and user groups, so citizens can work through their local governments to prevent encroachment, and lobby their congressmen and senators for funding. This is also what's in line with the National Park Service's own directives, and the Parkway's original mission of economic development for the region (nowadays, as a local recreation asset, as well as a tourism draw).

The Draft Plan was carefully worded by Parkway managemnt to push people toward their preferred Option B -- "circle the wagons."

The Bikeleague alert came out of a conference call that included every national bike organization, where we decided that we could only support Option C, and then only with some changes. This view is shared by municipalities and agencies from around the region.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in. From our president, Champe Burnley, this morning:

A big thanks to everyone for getting the word out last week to respond to the Blue Ridge Parkway draft management plan. The deadline for comments was Friday.


Though we don't have final numbers back from the Parkway staff, as of the middle of last week, they had received 500 comments in total according to Superintendent Phil Francis.


The League of American Bicyclists, who kindly sent out the automated blast, tells us they had a total of 600 comments submitted from 27 states. 275 of those notes were submitted by Virginia residents.


Hopefully your efforts will influence the final management report and we will see changes to make the Parkway more bike friendly and accommodating in the future.


Thank you!
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Old 12-19-11, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by abstractform20
dont know what it is. dont care.
Who asked?
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Old 12-19-11, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mattotoole
Addressing both these issues requires engagement with surrounding communities and user groups, so citizens can work through their local governments to prevent encroachment, and lobby their congressmen and senators for funding.
I don't follow how placing an emphasis on community feedback is necessarily the best way to promote cycling. Some communities aren't very bicycle friendly and are more interested in commercial development.
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Old 12-19-11, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Vol
I don't follow how placing an emphasis on community feedback is necessarily the best way to promote cycling. Some communities aren't very bicycle friendly and are more interested in commercial development.
I would say that the Parkway is probably surrounded by some of the most reflexively anti-cycling populations I've ever had the misfortune of living among. Riding on the Parkway itself was never a problem though.

My understanding is this threat is over-blown.
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