How can you tell that a bike trail is poorly designed? One tell tale sign is literally as sign that says, "Dismount - Walk Bike." When was the last time you saw a road sign for motor vehicles that said "Stop Your Car and Get Out?" See my point? The trail designer fundamentally does not understand what using a bike for transportation is. He or she should be doing something else for a living.
|Three black bollards at base of hill - Next stop: the ER|
|This raised manhole cover is in the shade.|
|Top of ramp leading to bollard farm - Put one here instead|
|The black bollards should be rotated 90 degrees - off the trail|
The underside of the bridge has been under development as part of the rehabilitation of the adjacent Jones Point Park. While this work has been underway, detour after detour has been built for the MVT, every last one of them has been unsafe, and some downright treacherous. Many trail users, including myself, have called to complain. Within weeks the troublesome detour is replaced by another equally treacherous one. It has been simply unbelievable.
|These new bollards are more visible and narrower.|
Once you made it around the detour you exited the sidewalk back to the trail. The transition from curb to trail was one long irregular gap, perfectly suited for a bicycle tire. To add to the mess, gravel was strewn about here as well. Once clearing this hazard you had to make a sharp turn to avoid a jersey barrier and some orange barrels placed mid-path. This was followed by a raised man hole cover (actually the pavement had been lowered, but the result is the same) situated in the shadow of the bridge. Once beyond the northern side of the bridge, trail users encountered a raised curb protruding into the trail. The trail takes a 90 degree right hand turn at the southern end of the bridge.
Beginning a few weeks ago on Bike to Work Day (I kid you not), construction crews blocked the trail after the right hand turn. The detour took you over a gravel transition to pavement then through a hard right turn back to the trail. This might be good for cyclocross but not a bike trail. In fact, on Bike to Work Day, a cyclist hit the gravel transition and blew out a tire.
At one time or another cyclists have complained about various aspects of these detours. Most recently a cyclist whom I met only tonight as I took pictures in the rain, complained about the mid path telephone pole. He was assured that it would be removed in a couple of weeks. Four weeks later it was replaced with three black bollards. About the same time three black bollards were placed across the trail on the southern side of the bridge. These three bollards are at the base of a long ramp and would be encountered at speed.
|These bollards replaced the telephone pole.|
When I complained about this for the umpteenth time online today (yes, in the past I have contacted authorities to no avail), the president of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA), the biggest bike advocacy organization by far in the region, told me that I should advocate for myself as WABA can't possibly deal with such trivial situations. They have bigger fish to fry elsewhere. In essence, he told me (albeit politely) when I clearly was frustrated and sick of the situation, to pound sand.
I have been a member of WABA for longer than I can remember. I donate to WABA through the Combined Federal Campaign. I even re-upped my membership two days ago for two years. On WABA's website are the following words:
"Since 1972 the Washington Area Bicyclist Association has been fighting hard to ensure that you can ride wherever you want to go safely."
|Paul - the cyclist who complained - crosses a wet metal plate at today's detour|
For my complete set of pictures of this monstrosity go to my Flickr page:
Many thanks to Washcycle.com for posting many of my older detour pictures over the past year.