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Bike paths and routes provide recreation and transportation



Published: Mon, July 12, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Members of the baby boomer generation can remember riding their bicycles for miles on city streets, on sidewalks and along the berms of country roads that were the secondary highways of the day.

It was not an exercise without its hazards — neither cars on the roads or pedestrians on the sidewalk always shared the space graciously. And, of course, the closest thing to protective headgear anyone wore was a plastic replica of a World War II army helmet that was popular in the post-war years.

Parents, of course, worried about the dangers; the riders never did. But the one thing neither worried about much back then was childhood obesity, and those one-speed coasters with their balloon tires and, later, sophisticated three-speed English racers with hand brakes and narrow tires probably had something to do with that.

A kid then could burn up a lot more calories in an afternoon of exploring near and far than one does today sitting in front of a TV or computer screen.

All of which serves as a long introduction into this relatively short editorial endorsing the Eastgate Regional Council of Government’s vision for a Regional Bicycle Plan.

It’s more, really, than a bike path; it is as Eastgate envisions it “a regional bicycle and pedestrian network that connects every community, regional transit, major activity centers and central business districts.”

A familiar goal

It is part of a larger trail that will eventually do something that seems to come naturally to this area, create a link between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. A canal to do that was a generational goal. A highway that does that became a reality in the ’70s.

Both were much more commercial in nature, but a bike path is no less worthy of support.

A map in Sunday’s Vindicator showed those parts of the path that are a reality, those that are in the planning stages and those that are only concepts today.

Many of the missing pieces will come together in a long-range transportation plan expected to be finalized in 2013.

Bicycle paths on dedicated rights-of-way and bicycle-friendly routes through communities will have dual purposes: healthful recreation for many and an alternative method of transportation for others.

In either case, making bicycles a larger part of our daily lives is not prohibitively expensive and — history shows — riding a bike beats riding a cyber cycle almost any day of the week.


Comments

1VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Riding the new Western Reserve Greenway trail north bound is quite an experience filled with rustic, countryside views and even being able to stop at some trail-side stores and hot dog stands. Just when you think you have had enough, you can continue further north across restored railroad bridges and new underpasses for views of Lake Erie. This trail has opened up a new world of scenic biking opportunities for everyone, even though it is still growing. What a great way to spend a weekend. Check out "Friends of the Western Reserve Greenway" to see more info: http://www.trumbullmetroparks.org/Doc...
or, http://www.ashtabulacountyparks.org/t...

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2sknirak(120 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

And then there's the "bike" path that runs from the Trumbull County line to (at this time) Western Reserve Road. Actually, it's an "All Purpose Trail".

Often seen on it were two or three women pushing baby buggies, spread across the trail. Or some "buff" mommy running behind her baby buggy and a 5 or 6 year old on a tricycle about 50 to 100 yards ahead of mommy, ignoring her mommies cries to look out, watch out. Or some in-line skaters trying to maintain control when they came upon a group of two or three cyclists. Or a bunch of "cyclists", riding hell for leather down the path scaring the bejabbers out of the pedestrians on the path. Or the family groups that sometimes come out complete with kids on scooters, bikes and skate boards, who somehow manage to clog it up, because they didn't know that COURTESY is needed on the trail. Because safety should be first, not an attitude of "Whee-were out here! Let's cut it looose!" Caution to the winds!

Interesting the "Bike"Trail adminstrators never hold classes over the winter to explain simple courtesy on the trail, looking out for the other person and safety practices MANDATORY on the trail. Instead there are signs up do's and don'ts, which most riders, walkers, skaters, runners don't seem to ever look at.

Is everybody on the trail one of the above culprits? No! Definitely not. But there are just enough brainless yo-yos out there to make using the trail an adventure.

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31970mach1(1005 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Bike path is great, unless you happen to be one of the unfortunate people who had their land taken from them to build it.

And the notion that it will be used as an "alternative mode of transportation" is just plain silly.

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4RickA(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Sknirak said:
"Is everybody on the trail one of the above culprits? No! Definitely not. But there are just enough brainless yo-yos out there to make using the trail an adventure."

I agree, there are a lot of rude and/or ignorant people that use the MetroParks Bikeway. Same goes for the 2 mile Shields Rd. to 224 trail in Mill Creek Park. I've had much better luck with the Little Beaver Greenway (Leetonia to Lisbon) and Stavich Bike Trail (Struthers to New Castle). The users of these two trails are either better educated about proper trail use or are just more courteous. I'm itching to try the Western Reserve trail (Champion to Ashtabula) and see what it's like.

1970mach1 said:
"And the notion that it will be used as an "alternative mode of transportation" is just plain silly."

No, bike trails, bike lanes, and bike routes as alternative modes of transportation are not silly. The trend toward biking for transportation has picked up a good bit of steam in the past several years, just as recreational biking has. I commute to work and shop with my bike as often as the weather and my schedule allow. There are several others in my neighborhood that do as well, some even year-round.

I've also started experimenting with longer road trips. It doesn't take long on the road to notice how deficient our road infrastructure is for biking. Many streets are narrow, have little or no pavement outside the white line, and blind curves abound. It's common during a road trip of even moderate length to get buzzed by at least one or more drivers that either couldn't see you, don't care, or even purposely try to run you off the road. All the defensive riding techniques and safety gear in the world can't fully make up for the combination of poor road design and uneducated or ignorant drivers. Better road and trail infrastructure can.

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