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Old 09-06-17, 09:15 PM   #1
dayco
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Interstate system of bike trails?

I don't like riding/touring on roads having to compete with automobiles. Most of the cyclists I know don't either. There has to be a better way.


We need an interstate system of paved trails for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles. Maybe we could finance and support such a system with a use tax like vehicle plates on automobiles. Pedestrians could use it for free.


Along with a permanent interstate trail system would come business support. I would like to see such a system in my lifetime. Maybe someone out there is already building such a system?


My local trails are heavily used. I do at least 50% of my weekly shopping on bicycle. I see many doing the same. Mixing fun, healthy exercise and practical activities is appealing, if we can feel safe in the process.


Would you use and support an interstate system of bike trails?
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Old 09-06-17, 09:17 PM   #2
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There's already an effort to do this in various places. Look up East Coast Greenway for an example.

FWIW - I have little interest in this kind of stuff. Yes, I'd use sections if they ran where I wanted to go, But I've spent so many years riding "blue highways" and have no issue with shared use roads.

exclusive bike/pedestrian trails are nice, but will never have the network density of the existing secondary road system. So, even if we have trals, a decnt amount of touring will be on shared roads.
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Old 09-06-17, 09:50 PM   #3
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Old 09-06-17, 10:12 PM   #4
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That's a bit of a joke.
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Old 09-06-17, 10:15 PM   #5
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In answer to the question ...

1) I don't have a problem riding on roads. I like quiet country roads, such as one might find in the middle of Victoria, northern Tasmania or parts of Manitoba, Alberta, and lower mainland BC. I also don't mind wide highways with good shoulders.

2) If you want a look at rail trails and the like, check out this thread which is up to several pages now ...

http://www.bikeforums.net/living-car...paths-etc.html

Feel free to add photos and stories of rail trails etc. that you've ridden and like.
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Old 09-06-17, 11:50 PM   #6
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Nice idea but pretty costly to have extensive nationwide thru-paths in USA with large thinly-populated areas. IMO it might be more economical to upgrade roads with wider shoulders. Even the clumsier motorists are usually polite to cyclists if passing is easy. Last tour was on ACA route: I was amazed at the light traffic on the back roads even though it was always fairly close to built-up areas.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:12 AM   #7
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IMO it might be more economical to upgrade roads with wider shoulders.
Absolutely!!!!!!

I got spoiled cycling in Alberta where most of the roads have wide beautiful shoulders. All roads ... with the exception of the really quiet minor roads ... should have wide beautiful shoulders.
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Old 09-07-17, 03:07 AM   #8
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It sounds nice conceptually but I don't think it's practical. Stand on any street and count the number of cars and bikes and you'll discover why roads are designed for cars.
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Old 09-07-17, 05:04 AM   #9
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That system isn't something I'd support and would likely not use it much. For me touring is about riding on the roads. In many cases I am likely to avoid a bike trail to take a parallel road.

Having bike trails in some places for folks who don't want to ride on the road is nice, but the existence of a network bike trails would tend to make motorists more hostile because they easily get the idea that bikes don't belong on the road.

On the TA at least twice we chose to avoid sections where the route followed a bike trail. We did enjoy the beautiful trail system in Colorado near Breckenridge though.

There are times when I do go for a day ride on one of our local bike trails. It is a 30-50 mile round trip with a nice lunch stop at the water and it is almost all in the shade.

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Old 09-07-17, 05:13 AM   #10
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Nice idea but pretty costly to have extensive nationwide thru-paths in USA with large thinly-populated areas. IMO it might be more economical to upgrade roads with wider shoulders. Even the clumsier motorists are usually polite to cyclists if passing is easy. Last tour was on ACA route: I was amazed at the light traffic on the back roads even though it was always fairly close to built-up areas.
I'll give a huge +1 to this.
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Old 09-07-17, 05:23 AM   #11
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... but the existence of a network bike trails would tend to make motorists more hostile because they easily get the idea that bikes don't belong on the road.
Yes ... I have ridden on roads, with a bicycle trail next to the road, and have been yelled at to get on the trail because they built it to get bicycles off the road. That gets tiresome.


That said, once ...

Rowan and I were cycling out to Wilson's Prom. There's a rough gravel trail next to the road, and so we were cycling on the road with our loaded touring bicycles. Sure enough, a vehicle slowed beside us and yelled us to get on the path because that's where bicycles belong.

We waved and smiled ... and eventually the vehicle drove away.

Later, we arrived at the campground in Wilson's Prom and set up in the camp kitchen to make dinner.

A woman went past a couple times and then came over to talk to us. She wanted to know if we were the cyclists in a particular location. Yes, we probably were. She asked us how far we had travelled. A century (100 miles) that day. Really?! That far!!

Then she said she and her husband were in the car that pulled up and told us to get on the gravel path!!!!!!!

Uh oh.

But interesting, apparently they weren't really trying to be nasty about it, they thought they were being helpful in the sense that they thought we weren't aware that a path existed (despite the fact that it was right there?). But apparently they had a discussion about it after we waved them on ... and they had a look at the path, and had come to the realisation that if we were to ride on that gravelly path, with the load we had on the bicycles, it would have been a long slow slog ... and that riding on the road would indeed be so much faster and more efficient. I guess it suddenly dawned on them why some cyclists prefer to remain on the road.
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Old 09-07-17, 05:29 AM   #12
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It's not going to happen in your lifetime, or anyone's lifetime most likely, for the reasons noted above. If you would read about the time and expense required to construct even 100 miles of trail using an existing railroad right of way you might understand why. And think of how limiting it would be. You would only be able to tour where the system or trails takes you.
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Old 09-07-17, 06:05 AM   #13
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I agree, dedicated multi-use paths (MUPs) are currently only feasible in highly populated areas with a good tax base.

If you'd like to see this changed, I encourage you to get involved in trail organizations and the political arena.
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Old 09-07-17, 06:07 AM   #14
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hmm.....cross country/interstate bike trails?
let's say they build it.....

who's gonna maintain it when they can't afford to fix
potholes in the roadways?

who's gonna fix the cracks and the root damage?

who's gonna move the parked cars, the food vending
stalls, the pickups on blocks outside the transmission shop?

who's gonna clean the glass and debris that gets
brushed off the main highway onto the bike path?

and what about the nice coppers that decide to enforce
the (local?) laws requiring bikes to stay on bike paths?

or the mercedes drivers that try to run you off the
roadway, cause bikes don't belong?
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Old 09-07-17, 06:45 AM   #15
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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.

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Old 09-07-17, 07:20 AM   #16
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I will use a bike trail if it works with my route, but I would not want to use them exclusively. They provide a nice break from roads but after a couple of hours, I am bored and ready to get back to roadways. I find the US Bike Route development encouraging. I used USBR 35 in western Michigan this summer and all I had to do was follow the signed route- I didn't have to look at my may once. There are many planned routes across the US. I would imagine if they ever get developed they will supplant ACA routes/ maps.
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Old 09-07-17, 07:38 AM   #17
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Until we get bike paths through all our cities, I don't see connecting them with interstate paths. We have a long way to go.
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Old 09-07-17, 07:41 AM   #18
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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.

How much are you going to charge for said cycle plates? According to this article: Survey: 100 Million Americans Bike Each Year, But Few Make It a Habit ? Streetsblog USA, only 14M Americans ride more than once a week. At $100 a year (nearly equivalent to my car registration, but a price which would undoubtedly turn many off to cycling), that is $1.4B a year for routes. For comparison, Ann Arbor is looking at a 3 mile Greenway which is estimated to cost them $55M, after land acquisition in a pricey municipality and raised crossings to keep cycle traffic instead of stopping every block. Another trail conservancy in the area just spent nearly $3M on 5 miles of abandoned railroad grade. Another greenway in Detroit cost $5M for a half mile extension.

The money would not go a long way. According to this presentation from Tennessee: https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/h...enways_101.pdf, one should budget around $1M per mile for a paved 12' wide trail. At $1.4B a year, that is 1400 miles, and that is also not counting land acquisition costs.

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IMO it might be more economical to upgrade roads with wider shoulders.
+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.

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It's not going to happen in your lifetime, or anyone's lifetime most likely, for the reasons noted above. If you would read about the time and expense required to construct even 100 miles of trail using an existing railroad right of way you might understand why. And think of how limiting it would be. You would only be able to tour where the system or trails takes you.
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.
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Old 09-07-17, 07:49 AM   #19
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I used USBR 35 in western Michigan this summer and all I had to do was follow the signed route- I didn't have to look at my may once. There are many planned routes across the US. I would imagine if they ever get developed they will supplant ACA routes/ maps.

ACA is quite involved with the development of the USBR system. The route networks will complement each other. Also, the ACA maps offer the added convenience of listing the locations of services. Makes things easier for those who would rather not leave things to chance and/or do the research on their own.
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Old 09-07-17, 07:59 AM   #20
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I will use a bike trail if it works with my route, but I would not want to use them exclusively. They provide a nice break from roads but after a couple of hours, I am bored and ready to get back to roadways. I find the US Bike Route development encouraging. I used USBR 35 in western Michigan this summer and all I had to do was follow the signed route- I didn't have to look at my may once. There are many planned routes across the US. I would imagine if they ever get developed they will supplant ACA routes/ maps.
We vacationed over in the South Haven area this summer. Rode sections of USBR 35 several times. Didn't even know of it until I researched USBR after returning to the cottage.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:06 AM   #21
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We're talking millions for that trail.

And that's just building it.

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

Yep. Look at something like the Michelson Trail in South Dakota. IIRC, it took some 10 years (if not more) to complete that 109 mile, mostly unpaved trail, and that was with strong state support. Cost a hell of a lot of money and is managed by a state agency. Much of the labor required to rehab the countless bridges that are part of the trail was donated by the state's National Guard. There are other, longer trails like the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska that have been around for longer and are still not fully completed.


As for maintenance, the Mickelson charges a use fee (for anyone 12 and older) for the sections outside the few municipalities it passes through. $4/day or $15 for a yearly pass. Still, I believe some trail maintenance is performed by volunteers. When I rode it in 2015 there was an older gentleman grading a section with what looked to be a private tractor.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes ... I have ridden on roads, with a bicycle trail next to the road, and have been yelled at to get on the trail because they built it to get bicycles off the road. That gets tiresome.


That said, once ...

Rowan and I were cycling out to Wilson's Prom. There's a rough gravel trail next to the road, and so we were cycling on the road with our loaded touring bicycles. Sure enough, a vehicle slowed beside us and yelled us to get on the path because that's where bicycles belong.

We waved and smiled ... and eventually the vehicle drove away.

Later, we arrived at the campground in Wilson's Prom and set up in the camp kitchen to make dinner.

A woman went past a couple times and then came over to talk to us. She wanted to know if we were the cyclists in a particular location. Yes, we probably were. She asked us how far we had travelled. A century (100 miles) that day. Really?! That far!!

Then she said she and her husband were in the car that pulled up and told us to get on the gravel path!!!!!!!

Uh oh.

But interesting, apparently they weren't really trying to be nasty about it, they thought they were being helpful in the sense that they thought we weren't aware that a path existed (despite the fact that it was right there?). But apparently they had a discussion about it after we waved them on ... and they had a look at the path, and had come to the realisation that if we were to ride on that gravelly path, with the load we had on the bicycles, it would have been a long slow slog ... and that riding on the road would indeed be so much faster and more efficient. I guess it suddenly dawned on them why some cyclists prefer to remain on the road.
thanks for making cyclists look good!. i would have been likely to do something besides smiling.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:18 AM   #23
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A very decent path along the North Sea shoreline from Rotterdam northward.. in NL..

May have to be active in your State government, to push thru that in each state, since that is not going to happen by fiat from DC.

US Interstate highway system like the Autobahn has the Military function of speeding troops and the Wehrmacht.
and that sold it to Congress, for funding It.






....

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Old 09-07-17, 08:21 AM   #24
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As for maintenance, the Mickelson charges a use fee (for anyone 12 and older) for the sections outside the few municipalities it passes through. $4/day or $15 for a yearly pass.
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).

OTOH, we are used to the idea of user fees to access National Parks.

The idea of "linear park", something like the Blue Ridge Parkway, charging a user fee, might work. We would not plan a trip around a 109 mile trail, but would most certainly consider a cross-country trail.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:24 AM   #25
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The Dutch Royalty, Queens and all,

... like 40% of the voting population ride bicycles.. daily.
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