Author Topic: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path  (Read 7706 times)

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Offline Westinghouse

Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: October 01, 2008, 10:38:52 am »
What this country needs is a dedicated, across America, bicycle path. An excellent model for such a path can be seen in the Tammany Trace in Louisiana. It runs some 31 miles between Slidell and Covington. It is about 12 feet wide, smooth asphalt, with tables along the way. A transcon path would need sheds and leantos along the way like they have on the Appalachian trail. No connecting roads and emergency lanes, just dedicated bike path all the way. Tammany Trace is already there. Multiply its distance by 100 and you have a path all the way across the USA.

Google Tammany Trace to see pictures of it.

« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 06:01:50 am by Westinghouse »

Offline IndyPat

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 10:35:41 am »
A bike path across America would be wonderful.  There are many examples of long bike paths that could be weaved together to make this dream a reality.  Some that come to mind are the Katy Trail, the John Wayne, the 400, the Cardinal, C&O/Gap, Miami Valley, and many more.  Great idea and some of the seeds are being planted by ASSHTO.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 12:48:06 pm »
Different strokes, but I would just as soon ride the roads.  When on the TA we generally found that when we had the option of riding bike paths we usually preferred to avoid them.  The way cool one between Dillon/Frisco/Breckenridge Colorado was an exception.  It was awesome.

You might look into the American Discovery Trail it is sort of what you propose.  It doesn't really appeal to me, but it might to you.
http://www.discoverytrail.org/
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 12:53:53 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2009, 08:05:17 pm »
Actually, I made a mistake about the Tammany Trace. It does run some 31 miles, but not from Baton Rouge. It goes between Slidell, Louisiana and Covington, Louisiana. Sorry about that.

Offline Anakritis

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2009, 11:49:32 am »
I thought there was a coordinated effort to restructure the abandoned and exempt Rail Road beds throughout the country for this purpose.
I know there has been an effort here in Illinois.
The rock Island trail is a great example of reclamation of an exempt track.
I wish there were more....

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2009, 05:04:42 pm »
Maybe it was just me, but on my last tour which went from southeast coastal Florida to El Paso, Texas there was too much noise and traffic. The Tammany Trace was a genuine relief. I like the open road too. I also see that a dedicated cross country path would be free of most traffic and air pollution. I have done some research on the American Discovery Trail. A good part of it seems to be something like what I think is needed, and a good part of it consists of foot paths, horse paths, and roadways. Out west it may be traversable in some extents only by foot. The canal tow paths across the southern tier of counties in Pennsylvania are completely off-road from what I read. Some places may be more fitting for trail bikes and not touring bike sized tires and wheels.

I was reading a copy of the Arab Times, and what did I see? This headline: New Interstate road map takes shape for bicyclists. I read it. Apparently ACA are putting together some country wide map for cyclists. Here is the web site address just in case anyone here is unaware of it. http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbikewaysystem. I looked it up. It appears to be quite a project. Over the road cycling is fine as long as you are on the best roads for cycling.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2009, 05:11:40 pm »
I thought there was a coordinated effort to restructure the abandoned and exempt Rail Road beds throughout the country for this purpose.
I know there has been an effort here in Illinois.
The rock Island trail is a great example of reclamation of an exempt track.
I wish there were more....

Yes there is such a coordinated effort. Now if they could string them together coast to coast it would be great. I for one would definitely use it the full length, for sure. Maybe because I am getting older I am less resilient than I was when I was younger. In some areas of the southern tier, not necessarily ACA's route, there was just way too much traffic, pollution, and noise.

Offline lscheetz

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2009, 11:47:07 am »
There is another effort, the National Bicycle Greenway.  I don't know how active it is, but its been in place for several years.  See the website at http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/

LFS

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 01:34:10 pm »
The problem with a bike path is sometimes it misses the towns, convenience stores, places to eat.  The Missouri gravel bike path does that.  It follows the old railroad bed of course along the river, and has extensions into the towns.  But its too remote in many areas.  Now if there was a bike path across the country, or several, that more or less paralleled the main roads, and went into the same towns and went by the the same stores, that would be good.  That was a dislike I had for the Netherlands bike paths.  They did not parallel the direct roads between towns.  They went off in all sorts of directions except the one I wanted to go in.  So as a bike tourist there, I tried not to use the bike paths and stay on the roads so I knew where I was going and knew I would go by places to eat and drink and buy stuff.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2009, 06:18:18 am »
A TC bike path like I am thinking of would definitely have to be built with the long distance bicycle tourist in mind. Off-path times and distances to towns and stores and services would absolutely have to be reasonable. I mean something like an Appalachian trail, only for cyclists; joggers, hikers and walkers too. Of course, cyclists would need to plan ahead too. There could be makeshift camps at intervals like the shelters on the Appalachian trail, but with running water. It could go through verdant green forests, mountains, prairies, and pasture lands the where air is clean and noise is nonexistent. It could keep everyone near enough to services that it would not be a concern. However, in western states on some stretches, even on highways, keeping food and water enough can be a concern if one does not plan ahead.

The construction and linking of such a trail(s) and its maintenance would provide jobs. It seems like a win win situation to me.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 07:49:17 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2009, 08:17:38 am »
A TC bike path like I am thinking of would definitely have to be built with the long distance bicycle tourist in mind. Off-path times and distances to towns and stores and services would absolutely have to be reasonable. I mean something like an Appalachian trail, only for cyclists; joggers, hikers and walkers too. Of course, cyclists would need to plan ahead too. There could be makeshift camps at intervals like the shelters on the Appalachian trail, but with running water. It could go through verdant green forests, mountains, prairies, and pasture lands the air is clean and noise is nonexistent. It could keep everyone near enough to services that it would not be a concern. However, in western states on some stretches, even on highways, keeping food and water enough can be a concern if one does not plan ahead.

The construction and linking of such a trail(s) and its maintenance would provide jobs. It seems like a win win situation to me.
I prefer riding on the roads, but I can see where it would be a good thing in many ways for many people.

The one negative I see is that it adds yet more ammunition for those who would like to see bikes forced off the public roads.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2009, 09:45:10 am »
There are those who take the attitude that bicyclists should be driven off the roadways. I have been subjected to that sort of mentality myself, and it can be irrational. I mean, when people say I must leave a smooth rodway where there is plenty of room for everyone simply because there is an alternative road, no matter how wrecked , deplorable, and obstacle strewn its condition, it does give me pause to consider what underlying motives people might have. I have had to put up with such attitudes. Well, all I can think of to say right now is this. With the way the economy is going in the USA, many of these anti-bicycle-on-the-road people might just end up pedaling along on two wheels. If they find themselves out there on the road, let us hear their opinions then.

If a cross country dedicated path reinforced their perceptions, it would be one negative consequence. Surely, having such paths would not be all perfect and absolutely without fault or consequence, but what in history ever has been? I would not want to abandon a plan of such paths because of reinforcing people's negative perceptions any more than I would want to abandon cycling because some people have negative opinions about my right to use the roadways.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2009, 11:00:43 pm »
I agree with some others that while it is a nice thought, I prefer roads.

A path is too sterile, i.e. no hills, long distance views (as trails are typically surrounded by trees), etc.  I do like the quiet and relative safety.  And having toured in the Netherlands, I can agree with the posts about the seemingly random direction the paths take.

However, I really doubt our country has the money for a 12' wide bike path across the entire country.  It would cost at minimum close to $100k per mile without easement buyouts.  I have no idea how it can be that high but those are the minimums I have heard tossed around.  That is almost $300 Billion for a 3,000 mile route.  But hey, the way Congress is throwing/wasting money around, why not?

Instead, I would prefer a minimum 2' shoulder on all state highways and a 3' shoulder if a higher traffic count.  Also, if all states would develop decent bike research (like what Missouri and Wisconsin does), that would be a big help.

Just my 3 cents (inflation and all).
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2009, 02:17:48 am »
They might just end up connecting enough of those rails to trails pathways to make it a reality. I do not believe such a path would be needed on the pacific coast.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2009, 10:47:08 pm »
They have been building bike paths onto the new roads in my hometown in Florida. That should not be taken as an indication that place is particularly bicycle friendly. It isn't. They are building their new roads with federal subsidies, and the feds require the paths. In fact, if anyone is cycling in my hometown, they had better watch out. A cyclist's rights are pretty much disregarded in many instances. Not always, but enough to call it fairly routine. One does have to be very careful, and cannot assume that just because he has the right of way that it will be given. Quite a few people have been killed while cycling, some of whom I knew personally, and others were badly injured, and I knew some of them too. Not that the motorists were always to blame, but in most cases, a bit more respect for the right of way for others and due care could have prevented the incidents. As for myself, I have never had a collision with a motor vehicle because I am a very careful cyclist. I use what I call defensive cycling. I have educated myself in safe cycling techniques, and I am highly experienced with it.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2009, 03:34:06 pm by Westinghouse »