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Old 09-07-17, 08:27 AM   #26
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I'm with the OP. What's a few trillion more added to the national debt? Think of all the jobs it will create and opportunities for smaller communities to attract big spending cyclists. On my last trip, I must have spent in excess of $20 a day on restaurants and a whopping $52 for a train ride. Go big or go home, I say.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:46 AM   #27
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Regarding the cost ... if you're not already aware how much it costs to build a trail, you'll fall off your chair when you find out.

I worked for the engineering department of a shire when the longest trail in Victoria was being built ... and my shire was responsible for the portion of it that went through the shire.
Home - Great Victorian Rail Trail

We're talking millions for that trail.

And that's just building it.

As has been mentioned, there's also the aspect of maintenance.

If a shire can get a healthy grant from the government or a benefactor of some sort, and if the shire is financially healthy enough to handle maintenance, then great ... build a trail. Many of Victoria's trails are quite nice. But if the OP is planning to "finance and support such a system with a use tax" ... assuming a relatively short trail only costs $1 million, the OP had better hope a minimum of 100,000 cyclists use the trail.

Yes, I would recommend getting involved with trail building ... find out what's really involved.
The current price per mile in the US that I can find is about $150,000 to $200,000 per mile for a 5 foot path. That's half the width of a "normal" bike path so $300,000 to $400,000 per mile. Add in a bridge and that will cost $400,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the length. A 3000 mile "bicycle interstate" without bridges would cost around $900,000,000. Add in roughly 1000 bridges and the cost balloons to $1.9 billion.

It'll never happen...at least not in the US.

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I'm with the OP. What's a few trillion more added to the national debt? Think of all the jobs it will create and opportunities for smaller communities to attract big spending cyclists. On my last trip, I must have spent in excess of $20 a day on restaurants and a whopping $52 for a train ride. Go big or go home, I say.
Although a national interstate bicycle system would cost a lot of money, that $2 billion above is a rounding error for US transportation budget, especially if it is built out over 20 years. It's petty case when compared to other outlays in the US budget. The F35 program $1.5 trillion. A Nimitz class carrier...referred to as "targets" by submariners...costs $6 billion.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:49 AM   #28
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The concept of a toll bike trail is interesting. My first instinct is to find it appalling -- most roads are free, a toll bike path is a clear sign that society at large doesn't care about cycling (vs, say, The Netherlands).
The Mickelson is essentially, if not actually, a state park, and it's not simply a bike trail. It's also open to pedestrians and horses. About 19 miles is open to snowmobiles. Many state parks charge day use fees when improvements have been made. Well worth the $12 for the three days I was on it.


The Mickelson is a bear to maintain, in part because it's not flat like many trails. There are grades of over 4% in places. Combine that with a lot of cuts and you get the potential for washouts. I had to skateboard through one part of the trail due to a washout caused by abnormally heavy spring rains. And then there was this I had to lift my bike over as there was no getting around it:
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Old 09-07-17, 08:51 AM   #29
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A 3000 mile "bicycle interstate" without bridges would cost around $900,000,000. Add in roughly 1000 bridges and the cost balloons to $1.9 billion.

It'll never happen...at least not in the US.
And keep in mind if a nationwide effort that you'll need more than one, because good luck getting folks on board with something that runs through and benefits only states that are nowhere near them.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:54 AM   #30
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Would you use and support an interstate system of bike trails?
NO. I don't own a car so everywhere I go, whether it be the grocery store, library, anywhere, is by bicycle. I've gotten use to riding in traffic and learnt to respect the drivers and obey most of the laws(at least the ones that are upkept with the change in times). I don't mind riding in traffic at all and would much rather ride on the interstates than the two lane highways, even the two lane highways that have wide shoulders like here around NH. Just much safer to ride on the interstates. Been on one this summer for two miles, unplanned on, and the only thought about being there was hoping there were no cops around since it was an illegal stretch of interstate to be on with a bicycle. The road I was on dropped off onto the interstate so I got forced onto the interstate. Didn't mind it at all.

Go ride with the cars and you will get use to them. As long as you keep yourself from an environment you will never get use to dealing/interacting with the environment. Car's aren't anymore dangerous than you are. Maybe it isn't the cars that are the problem...maybe you're the problem.
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Old 09-07-17, 09:18 AM   #31
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it'll never happen...at least not on planet earth.
fify
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Old 09-07-17, 09:21 AM   #32
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The current price per mile in the US that I can find is about $150,000 to $200,000 per mile for a 5 foot path. That's half the width of a "normal" bike path so $300,000 to $400,000 per mile. Add in a bridge and that will cost $400,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the length. A 3000 mile "bicycle interstate" without bridges would cost around $900,000,000. Add in roughly 1000 bridges and the cost balloons to $1.9 billion.

It'll never happen...at least not in the US.
Depends on the priorities. There are talks about a $10G wall....
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Old 09-07-17, 09:37 AM   #33
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In addition to the problems with costs and motorized drivers wanting to force bicyclists off the road, you can look at past history.


A few years ago I was flipping through the Adventure Cyclist archives and ran across an article gushing about the idea of a bicycle path network. Something like 25 years ago (maybe 30 years ago now), the author was hopeful for a 40,000 mile bike path network. Just checked the USBRS page and they claim 12,000 miles have been marked (some of them, if not most, on roads that were built and are maintained for motorized vehicles).


Further, what are you going to do if there's not a bicycle interstate where you want to go? By the time you've completed this dream, Faux News will be screaming about wasteful spending, and 2/3 of the population will believe a cyclist doesn't belong on the road. How far are you going to drive to take your bike to the path you can ride?


All of which adds up to: unless you want to eliminate most of the cycling as done today, you don't want to go down this rabbit hole.
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Old 09-07-17, 09:40 AM   #34
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Depends on the priorities. There are talks about a $10G wall....
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By the time you've completed this dream, Faux News will be screaming about wasteful spending
Why must threads like this turn political, and inevitably get shut down?
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Old 09-07-17, 09:51 AM   #35
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Why must threads like this turn political, and inevitably get shut down?
I fail to understand your point.

My comment was that a couple of billions in a $18+ trillions economy is an insignificant drop in a bucket. A super quick google search comes up with a $47 billions spent on interstate highways each year.

Some people will think that the $2.9G budget of the National Park Service is unjustified. Some will think it is not enough.

Why getting all worked up?
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Old 09-07-17, 10:50 AM   #36
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I fail to understand your point. ... Why getting all worked up?
Hardly getting worked up, and my point was that two comments in a row are bringing politics and political opinion into an apolitical debate. Do we really want to discuss "Faux News", and what others may think of your preferred news articles? Does "The Wall" really need brought up in a discussion about a national bicycle route system, knowing that many are likely to have rather heated views on both sides ofit?
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Old 09-07-17, 11:14 AM   #37
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Leaving out the reference to Fox, can you deny any of the points made about calls for fiscal restraint, government waste, etc., while still pushing $10 billion spending for the small fraction of citizens who are likely to use any of the proposed interstate bike network that's more than, say, five miles out of their hometown?
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Old 09-07-17, 11:32 AM   #38
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Dirt/gravel trail across most of U.S.

If you don't mind sharing a mostly dirt/gravel trail with a few dirt bikes (motorcycles): TransAmTrail.com is the exclusive source for Maps Roll-Charts, and GPS Tracks for navigating the Trans-America Trail - an exciting, off-road, dual-sport motorcycle adventure across the United States
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Old 09-07-17, 01:17 PM   #39
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Interesting. Have you toured on this? Could you give us an idea of what it is like (surface, number of bikes/ATVs, what about bicycles/MVs encounters?)
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Old 09-07-17, 02:08 PM   #40
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An interstate trail system system would be all but unused apart from the relatively few people who tour long distance.

The large sums of money spent (as in billions) to construct such a system would be better used locally to construct trails which take people from where to and from where they actually live, work, shop, learn and worship on a daily basis.

Personally, take the lane when you need it and give it back when you are done has served me well since 1977.


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Old 09-07-17, 02:47 PM   #41
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Yeah this ^^, assuming you don't mind dirt (at least it keeps most cars away). I'm a street motorcyclist that just got into dual-sport riding. There's all sorts of long distance intra-/inter-state dirt routes, often with GPX files, that the ADV riding community has put together under all sorts of acronyms HERE. Out west, they are building a lot of BDRs (backcountry discovery routes).
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Old 09-07-17, 03:00 PM   #42
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A Nimitz class carrier...referred to as "targets" by submariners...costs $6 billion.
Not quite, and we have five of them. Now add maintenance and staffing and required retrofitting, by law, every five years.

The U.S. Navy?s new $13 billion aircraft carrier will dominate the seas - MarketWatch
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Old 09-07-17, 03:18 PM   #43
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Quebec has incredible trail system, most of it under the auspices of "La Route Verte."

I just got back from a 300+ mile bike trip in Quebec, 70% of which was on dedicated bike trails, and most of the rest on dedicated bike lanes alongside or as part of a road. Great way to do a trip!

The bike routes near Montreal were paved and packed with commuters and families, etc. The rural routes were more often packed earth and gravel, and quiet and lovely.

CT (where I live) has a pretty extensive array of dedicated bike routes.
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Old 09-07-17, 03:58 PM   #44
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Interesting. Have you toured on this? Could you give us an idea of what it is like (surface, number of bikes/ATVs, what about bicycles/MVs encounters?)
Sorry, no. I have thought about doing some part of it some day when I find the time. Another site about it (I think where I got a gpx file of the route): https://sites.google.com/site/gpskev...-america-trail

I believe that I also read someone's diary who rode their bicycle on it and posted at crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: A place for bicycle tourists and their journals
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Old 09-07-17, 04:03 PM   #45
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Leaving out the reference to Fox, can you deny any of the points made about calls for fiscal restraint, government waste, etc., while still pushing $10 billion spending for the small fraction of citizens who are likely to use any of the proposed interstate bike network that's more than, say, five miles out of their hometown?
As much as I would like to see this kind of infrastructure...and vast numbers of people riding it...I have to agree that it would be mostly wasted money. The eastern parts of my state and the western parts of the next state over throw a lot of cold water on the whole idea. Not many people are going to want to ride across eastern Colorado and western Kansas and there's not a lot of infrastructure out there for them to partake in. The ACA TransAm trail from Larned, KS to Ordway, CO and on to Pueblo is a horrible place to ride a bike...and I'm originally from there!

I never have understood the ACA's choice of routes either. US50 just south of their route is a little busy but at least it has some civilization. Ordway to Eads to Sheridan to Scott City is just a lonely desolate stretch of highway. You could film an American version of Mad Max there and people wouldn't buy it because it's too End of the Worldish. Coyotes get lonely out there!
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Old 09-07-17, 04:15 PM   #46
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It wouldn't have to be an either/or. Those who want to ride the roads, ride the roads. Those who want to ride the trails, ride the trails. Those who want to do both, do both. I see an interstate non-motorized vehicle system as expanding choice not limiting choice. Think of all the new people that would join us. People today that aren't convinced a 2 ton machine whizzing by them at 50 mph three feet away is a good, safe, idea or place to be. I can't enjoy the ride very much if I'm continuously looking over my shoulder, waiting to be clobbered by someone driving using a cell phone.


I use a 22 mile paved east/west bike trail in northern Illinois daily. I see many more cyclists on that trail, including those on tour, than I ever see on the roads. Maybe Mom and Dad, who now wouldn't put their kids on a road, might take them for a few day bike trip on a the trail. Or maybe even an extended bike trip to see the other side of the country.


I personally would pay a $100 per year access fee to use an interstate bike trail system. A few billion dollars from the federal government to get it up and running is chump change in a 3 trillion dollar yearly budget. I'll bet the Pentgon spends more than that per year on toilet paper.


And to help maintain the interstate trail system on an ongoing basis, how about a 1% federal excise tax on new bicycles and parts to be applied to a non-motorized vehicle fund dedicated to the creation and maintenance of non-motorized vehicle right-of-ways, including bike lanes. It would be fun, it would be inexpensive considering all the long term societal benefits and it would be the most environmentally friendly way to travel. I don't see a downside.
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Old 09-07-17, 07:25 PM   #47
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Even in the Netherlands, which has what is effectively what you wish, large parts of the cycle routes are on regular roads, not exclusive cycle paths.+1. When roads are built/rebuilt, they should take cycle/pedestrian use into account, and built accordingly. Far easier than creating separate cycling specific infrastructure.
I was surprised to read that some Dutch drivers feel bikes don't belong on the faster roads; I assume the road bike routes you mention are probably the slower back roads. Also in NL it's impressive how many roads have a parallel bike path.

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Bingo. We've got a patchwork of trails on a single abandoned railroad line running NE/SW through the Detroit Metro area, and even that can't be patched together into a single continuous route due to money and land issues.
DC area has lots of bike paths but some glaring gaps where one is forced to use dangerous roads unless going miles out of the way. Cycling is popular among upper-income folks but ironically the wealthiest local suburb, McLean VA, is nearly devoid of cycle paths. House lots are huge & it would be easy to widen road w/shoulder but no, they don't want to spoil the faux-rustic look.
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Old 09-07-17, 07:42 PM   #48
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I was surprised to read that some Dutch drivers feel bikes don't belong on the faster roads; I assume the road bike routes you mention are probably the slower back roads. Also in NL it's impressive how many roads have a parallel bike path
Well, from what I understood when I was there, if there is a bike path it is compulsory to use it. But yes, the stuff that was on road was more the rural farmland type areas. It still made all the sense in the world, why build cycle specific infrastructure when there are perfectly good roads that get more use from tractors than cars?

Thing is, I can argue the same about large parts of Michigan, let alone less populous midwest and western states.

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It wouldn't have to be an either/or. Those who want to ride the roads, ride the roads. Those who want to ride the trails, ride the trails. Those who want to do both, do both. I see an interstate non-motorized vehicle system as expanding choice not limiting choice. Think of all the new people that would join us. People today that aren't convinced a 2 ton machine whizzing by them at 50 mph three feet away is a good, safe, idea or place to be. I can't enjoy the ride very much if I'm continuously looking over my shoulder, waiting to be clobbered by someone driving using a cell phone.

...

I don't see a downside.
You don't see a downside because it is something you want. Believe me, nice cycle specific infrastructure is something I want too, but I want it connected over the Detroit metro area, or over any other generic local region: somewhere people get use out of it. I just don't see much benefit in a greenway running from St Louis to Denver, where 99.999% of the use will be locals on their 10 mile segment. Especially so, if it costs you $100 yearly to use it, which will dissuade everyone comfortable on the roads and everyone who doesn't want to dole out $100 per person to use a trail.

In short, the people that are going to make use of long distance cycle paths are already doing just fine on the road. Relatively few people are going to decide to take a cross country journey on a bike, or even interstate, simply because they now have a path to do it on.
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Old 09-07-17, 07:47 PM   #49
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It wouldn't have to be an either/or. Those who want to ride the roads, ride the roads. Those who want to ride the trails, ride the trails. Those who want to do both, do both......
correct. it wouldn't HAVE TO be an either/or.....until it is.

you can googles the attempts in various states to outright
ban bicycles from roadways outside of municipalities.

with dedicated bike paths across states, i can see an absolute
ban of bikes on roadways more easily achieved.

"The ordinance says that when bicycle paths are provided, cyclists '
shall use such path and shall not use the public street.
'"

"under his proposed bill, “A bicyclist may not ride on a two-lane
highway outside the boundaries of a municipality when there is
no paved shoulder on which to ride
."

remember...."when bikes are outlawed, only outlaws will have bikes!"

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Old 09-07-17, 08:40 PM   #50
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It wouldn't have to be an either/or. Those who want to ride the roads, ride the roads. Those who want to ride the trails, ride the trails. Those who want to do both, do both. I see an interstate non-motorized vehicle system as expanding choice not limiting choice. Think of all the new people that would join us. People today that aren't convinced a 2 ton machine whizzing by them at 50 mph three feet away is a good, safe, idea or place to be. I can't enjoy the ride very much if I'm continuously looking over my shoulder, waiting to be clobbered by someone driving using a cell phone.


I use a 22 mile paved east/west bike trail in northern Illinois daily. I see many more cyclists on that trail, including those on tour, than I ever see on the roads. Maybe Mom and Dad, who now wouldn't put their kids on a road, might take them for a few day bike trip on a the trail. Or maybe even an extended bike trip to see the other side of the country.
That's you, from your perspective.

From my perspective, lots of cyclists enjoy cycling on roads and my parents and I cycled on roads as well.


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I don't see a downside.
Aside from all the "downsides" we've expressed here.

Tell you what ... get involved with your local cycling association and see first hand what's involved.
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