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IronTiger

Multi-use paths

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So, during my driving in my own hometown which I can't yet get out of, I've noticed that the city has demolished a sidewalk paralleling a major six-lane boulevard to build a wide hybrid bike lane/sidewalk (almost the width of a full, if narrow, car lane, about 9') with signage showing a pedestrian and a bicycle (since the road lacks a bike lane). I'm not sure of any paved examples in Houston, but what do you think of these types of sidewalks? Personally, I rather like them, given that they're wider than traditional bike lanes and less risky (getting cut off, gaps between the curb and pavement) and other features (easy connection to off-road trails) but there's drawbacks (dips down for driveways, sidewalk gaps). I just want to know what you think of them and if Houston is building any of them.

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Totally depends on pedestrian volume (which tends to be low in most of Houston.) I know they're considering it for W Alabama, where it could work I suppose. 

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Totally depends on pedestrian volume (which tends to be low in most of Houston.) I know they're considering it for W Alabama, where it could work I suppose. 

With the exception of major metropolitan areas (downtown cores, New York City) and/or popular outdoor districts (bars, shopping), extra-wide sidewalks (which is what these are) never reach critical mass. I've always felt that when riding, bicycling in the main lane gave me the most speed (at least perceived...I rode a hybrid).

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Sure, especially if there's a grade change at every cross street, but these are more about providing a safe space for people who would like to bike but don't feel comfortable riding with traffic. 

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What I've noticed, at least locally, is that the roads that do have them are major, bicycle-antagonistic roads (that's not to say "No bikes allowed") that are designed to keep bikes off the road, but don't prohibit them.

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Sure, especially if there's a grade change at every cross street, but these are more about providing a safe space for people who would like to bike but don't feel comfortable riding with traffic. 

 

I am an avid cyclist (I probably log about 5000 miles/year). I would use the hell out of a shared path. I never feel comfortable riding with traffic.

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Oh I would too. My point is more that they're much more about safety than absolute speed.

 

Well, to be honest though, unless you're doing delivery/courier work, absolute speed isn't the reason most people ride bicycles. It could be reason for efficiency reasons (despite the higher speed of a car, a bicycle was far more efficient in going to classes from where I lived in Eastgate on campus just because of it could go where my car could not), health reasons, carbon footprint reduction reasons, fun, exercise, or other unstated reasons.

 

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I do a lot of interval training on my bike (probably 75% of use). But I use empty streets/paths for this.

 

A shared lane would be for the other 25% of the time when I'm just trying to get somewhere safely.

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I commute via bike, and would take enhanced safety for reduced speed every time (in fact, in the summer I try to keep my speed low anyway so I'm not a sweaty mess when I get to work).

But I'm having a hard time picturing this. I just know that bicycling on regular sidewalks is a good way to get hit by cars who are driving parallel and then make a right turn into properties or on to cross streets. The issue being that cars aren't expecting sidewalk users to be moving at bike speeds, and are only checking for pedestrians before turning (if they check at all).

Does the design of these shared paths mitigate this somehow? Or in order to ensure I don't get 'right-hooked' by a car, would I need to walk my bike across every intersection?

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For bayou trails it's great, sure. But upthread, someone said it's been suggested for West Alabama, which has constant road crossings and property entrances. And the OP said he's seen it for a major six lane boulevard wherever he is, which sounds like it would be similar to W Alabama.

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