Sunday, October 12, 2008

Construction, trails and commuting news

It looks like KCMO is gearing up to start the construction that's referenced in this press release sometime soon. Southbound Broadway between 6th and 14th is getting torn up, and it could last well into December. The city's been doing the same thing to 10th St, and that's apparently close to being done. Broadway, however, is a much different beast. If you have to get out of downtown and rely on Broadway, I might suggest cutting over to Wyandotte or Baltimore. Baltimore is one-way (north only) north of 11th Street or so, but I often use Wyandotte to get down to 14th before cutting to Baltimore. Both roads are lightly trafficked in comparison to Main and Broadway.

I must say that I like the new streetscape aesthetically, but I'll have to see what effect it has on traffic.

Photo: unrelated construction on Turkey Creek seen on my way home Thursday evening.

Speaking of Turkey Creek, the Turkey Creek trail is getting extended from Antioch to Metcalf by City of Overland Park, then being taken further by City of Mission. I can't find all the details yet, but it looks like Turkey Creek Trail will eventually become a thoroughfare that stretches from 75th and King's Cove all the way to Kansas City, MO.

I like the fact that the trails are going in, and that they're becoming popular among bike commuters as a way to get around. The longer ones in the area (Particularly Indian Creek Trail) often make up the majority of bike commuters' journeys. I have mixed feelings about riding on the trails, but as you can often see from my commuting photos, I do ride Turkey Creek Trail frequently.

Reasons to ride the trails are numerous. To name a few:

  • To get out of the wind or the sun
  • To slow down and take it easy away from traffic
  • To get some photos
  • To take it as a detour when the trail's shorter/easier than the road (i.e. to The Trek Store)
The down-sides of taking the trails are numerous as well:
  • Narrow and curvy paths make it harder to see oncoming cyclists
  • Narrow and curvy paths require you to go slower than you might on the road
  • Often crowded with pedestrians and pets
  • Winding, scenic paths often require you to ride a longer distance than using the roadways
All in all, though, I'm glad more effort is going into the trail network.

It looks like the Let's Go KC bicycle count has been postponed until Spring. This was going to be an effort to quantify the number of cyclists on the road. Downtown, I still see quite a few bikes in use. According to my friends, Midtown and other parts of KCMO are no different. The number of cyclists I see making the trip between KCMO and Johnson County, however, has dropped off severely. In July and August, I was personally running across as many as 10 bicycle commuters on each way of my trip. Now, I always see one or two others, but rarely more than that south of Boulevard Brewery.

The evenings have been really pleasant for riding, but the mornings have been brisk and the fuel prices are at a one-year low. It's amazing to think that I was slightly miffed when gasoline hit $1.50 per gallon. Now I barely pay the fuel prices much attention. Also, bus ridership is waning considerably. For more than a month, many of the buses in my area were standing-room-only. Now, the busses are in heavy use, but certainly not full to seating capacity much less standing-room-only. I'm sure that it's a combination of weather and fuel prices that are driving these trends. Regardless, I think it's for the best that the bicycle tally gets postponed. This is definitely no-one's idea of peak riding season, no matter how nice the afternoons are.


Pilo! said...

Love bikes!!

I also have a Trek... but only a 3900.

Yours... is fantastic.

I am Pilo, from Chile.

Noah said...

The Trek 3900's a practical mountain bike at a reasonable price. Thanks for stopping by!

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