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Archive for the 'Rail Trails' Category

Bloomington’s new Bike/Pedestrian Underpass at the Bypass

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Bloomington recently (this Spring) completed construction on a bike and pedestrian underpass under the very busy 45/46 Bypass. This is a very busy road in town that was recently widened to four lanes in that section. Sadly in the past there was no good way to get across on a bike or on foot … you had to just wait for a gap in traffic, which could sometimes take several minutes. When I lived on the east side of Bloomington, I had to cross the Bypass twice daily on my bicycle commute, and it was often a source of frustration.

So, has the city fixed the problem? To find out, I incorporated the underpass in a recent ride, since I had yet to see it.

I like the idea of an underpass, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. You have to go well out of your way to reach the underpass. Whether you’re coming from the east side or the west side, it appears that you have to cross the the Bypass immediately ahead of you to get to the other side. It’s not at all obvious that if you go down another path, there is a safer crossing.

The underpass is at least half a block out of the way, and from the east side I also had to counterintuitively ride on a bike path against the flow of traffic, crossing a few driveways, which could be dangerous. Overall the extra distance only adds a few minutes on a bike, but it would actually add significant travel time if you were on foot.

The path also has some switchbacks in it, which are kind of fun, and help slow down bike traffic and make the grade less steep.

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Here is the underpass itself

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The other main problem that I see is that the whole thing is very poorly marked. I saw no signs even indicating that the underpass existed in logical places. Also, a number of different paths converge at the underpass, with no indication of where they lead. Finally, when I got to the other side of the underpass and came to an intersection, there was no indication of where to go.

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Fortunately, I know my way around that area well, so I knew where to go, but not everyone does.

I’ve seen people still running across the Bypass on foot. I don’t know if they didn’t want to go out of their way to use the underpass, or if they didn’t know it was there. Now that the Bypass is 4 lanes of traffic, running across it is more dangerous than before. If this piece of infrastructure is going to be useful to anyone, they have to know it’s there. I personally think it’s too far out of the way to be useful for pedestrians, but on my bike, I will take advantage of it.

A bit of rail-trail riding

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I haven’t done any rides of major distance for a while. It’s been hot, and I have been busy with other things. The other night I decided to get out, in the evening, and explore some rail-trails. Most of the ride was in areas where I’ve ridden before, but I haven’t explored a lot of them in depth. Given the heat, a relatively flat, easy cruise sounded good.

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Within minutes, I was looking at scenery like this.

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The photos above were all on the more familiar (to me), gravel Bloomington Rail Trail. I also spent some time on the paved Clear Creek Trail, where I’ve only ridden a couple of times before.

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There were some huge homes right along the trail.

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A side excursion on a gravel trail yielded some interesting finds.

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I climbed up the gravel trail, and found it intersected with a road. I need to figure out where that road goes. For this ride, once I reached the end of the trail, I turned around. Here, I’m about to bomb back down the hill.

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I’m not sure what all the fuzzy stuff is in the photo below, but it captured my attention.

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I’m not normally a fan of rail-trails, but it was great to get out for an easier ride for a change, without having to worry about traffic too much. Actually, I was more in riding mode than exploration mode, and didn’t stop too often. I should ride the same trails and stop more to explore. Sometimes it’s amazing what’s right outside your front door, if you take the time to look around.

A few recent photos

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

I’ve been riding, but I have not found time to write about some of my shorter rides. I am still commuting by bicycle every day, and it has been wonderful to get to watch the leaves change each day. It’s been chillier this past week, with mornings in the low 30s.

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This speed sign always amuses me in the mornings. It frequently registers up to 35 mph for cars (and sometimes higher), but for me, on my bicycle, on a slight uphill, it ranges from about 12-16. I have discovered that I have to ride in a certain lane position, with no cars going by, to trigger it. It’s a fun game to try to see if I can get it to show my speed.

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Here is one particularly colorful tree, taken on October 21.

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We had a couple of very windy days this past week, and now many trees are completely bare. It was a rather abrupt transition, from colorful to bare, in some cases.

Here are some shots from a road ride last week.

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Finally, here are some shots from the Bloomington Rail-Trail, which is near where I live. I don’t really ride it much, as it’s not very long, but I wanted a rather short, easy evening ride on a cold dreary day and it fit the bill perfectly. I think this will be a great option in the winter.

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