During a recent visit to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, I grabbed these quick snaps. They are hosting the Art of the Bicycle exhibit. It documents the history from beginning to present day. These are but a mere small sample. Enough to tease you and make you want to visit the museum yourself.
Here’s what not to do.
The traffic light turns green. Initially it looks like all the drivers are either going straight or left. We filter up on the right. At the same time, a driver signals right and begins the turn. The rider behind me calls out the right turn and grabs all the brakes. And I yell, hoping this will get her attention to stop. It is hard to tell from the video or our memories, but it doesn’t look like the car stopped.
I have been through this intersection many many times. I have commuting over ten years. And if everyone is signaling straight I filter up and continue on. But not any more. We have decided to take the lane and get in line. This might slow traffic a minor bit. But no more chances for right hooks.
The Enid City Trail System is comming along. The major work on this initial phase is nearing completion. These arches were installed today on the bridge just east of Cleveland. They seem to be a gateway. There are plans in the works to add a trail head just east of this bridge. Room for parking and restrooms are all part of the rumors swirling around town. Even though it’s not officially open I bet we’ll see more and more users out there.
The City states the purpose of the trail system is for
recreation, transportation, and economic pursuits.
And it should
improve access to recreation resources and improve transportation efficiency.
The part I like is the focus on transportation. The ability to quickly get around town without the dangers of traffic is a huge relief. I have been commuting to work and running errands by bike for years. I have become comfortable on the city streets. And even though these trails are not officially opened, I have noticed the pleasure of a car free environment while using them.
What can we expect next? Once they complete the Railroad Pass Trail (Wheatridge to Parkway), they will start on the Channel Freeway Trail (Cheastnut to Meadowlake Park). And step three will be the Quail’s Quad Trail.
Quail’s Quad Trail is a proposed trail in west Enid that begins at Chestnut Ave. and moves north along the drainage channel to Bunker Hill St. then east to Oakwood Road. Two additional segments branch off the trail connecting additional housing additions. Destinations served include numerous neighborhoods such as, Quail’s Creek Subdivision, Oakcrest addition, and Oakwood Estates as well as Glenwood Elementary School.
I hope you are enjoying the new trail system as much as we are.
The Trail System is slowly coming along. Not fast enough for my liking but the building crew has been working on it steadily. Still under current construction is the continuation of the existing Railroad Pass Trail.
The old city trail was well used but the surface has not aged well. Grass has grown over the edges of the asphalt and significantly narrowed it. When first constructed, it could handle a bicycle going each way. Now the area is barely a lane and a half wide. This old portion spans about a mile from Parkway east to South Washington.
The new construction is very nice. The paving is concrete; ten feet wide and smooth. As I type, there is a continous stretch from Oakwood to Cleveland. This includes a railroad crossing. Also from Parkway to Cleveland, the trail is spotty and still in need of completion. In the past I have ridden this section when it was dirt and it was fun. But now, it’s even better; fast, smooth, and car-free. You feel like you can travel without any effort and speed. While it was a great workout previously, it now is a serious way to get to where you need to go.
But the best treatment so far is the new bridge near Hayes School. It spans the troublesome drainage channel. There is a pedestrian only bridge just south that was used by people going to Hayes. And I hope it remains. But this new one may replace it.
All and all, the Trail System will be a welcome addition to Enid. My hope is they will quickly turn to a North/South route next. It is greatly needed. As I said before, North Cleveland is a dangerous road. And South Cleveland is safest route to Vance Air Force Base. Connecting the base with the north will be huge.
Plans for the expansion of Enid’s Trail system were reported in the March 14 edition of The Enid News and Eagle. Matt Davis, a member of the Enid Park Advisory Board, commented on the City’s plans for the next phase of the trail system. He said that costs will be covered jointly by the City and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The OK DOT has required that the trail system connect commercial, public, educational and governmental sites through out Enid. It should meet recreation and transportation needs.
You can find the complete plan (PDF) at the City of Enid’s Website. And looking at the maps this phase is just the beginning. This phase should connect the East Side with the West and likewise, the North and the South sides of Enid.
Initial work to be from Parkway in Indian Hills to Oakwood and then continue from Oakwood to Garland. This trail should follow and old rail road track that no longer exists but the right-of-way still exists. On the PDF this would be trail number 3, The Rail Road Pass Trail.
Future plans are for a trail that starts at the western end of The Rail Road Pass Trail and heads North into Cedar Ridge. Again, on the PDF, this is trail number 5, The Track West Trail. A trouble the planners and builders have is how to cross West Owen K. Garriot (US 412) safely. This is the last traffic light in town and drivers are eager to get up to full speed and get out of town.
Also on the City’s to-do list is trail number 9, The Channel Fairway Trail. Initial plans are for it to start close to midway of trail 3 and head North to Chestnut Ave and beyond to Crosslin Park using trail number 12. Number 12, The Farmland Express Trail, is a necessity. If you want to get to the Jumbo Foods shopping center from the South you must use Cleveland. This road is fast, 45 MPH, and narrow. This road is not safe. Having a trail that gets pedestrians and cyclist off Cleveland is a big deal. And it will be see lots of traffic.
The Southgate Lane Trail, number 13, travels from Meadowlake Park in South Central Enid to Vance Air Force Base will remove travelers off South Cleveland. Presently, there are lots of cyclist and runners who get to Vance on South Cleveland. While this stretch is a bit wider than up North it is just as fast. I have to commend the City for wanting to make Cleveland safer. I know that I will be a heavy user of this part of the trail system.
And to connect the South East side of Enid, they are building the Government Gateway Trail, number 15. This will start on the far East end of number 3 and turn North towards East Owen K. Garriot and Independence Avenue. The City plans to use the Old Santa Fe Depot as a trail headquarters. This is a local land mark and shares parking with our farmer’s market. This will be the first leg to allow people to get to Enid’s downtown. Like many towns, the downtown holds government buildings as well as shops and convention centers.
In my opinion, the City is doing the right thing. Giving it’s citizens the choice and liberty to get around town safely is outstanding. As transportation cost keep rising having choice on how one can ‘get around town’ is forward thinking. Once this trail system is complete, people can choose from their our personal automobile, taxi service, the Transfer Bus system and this trail system.
We are all aware that walking and cycling to work are a good alternatives to a gym membership. Why waste that time each day sitting in traffic, literally sitting. Getting your heart rate up while transporting yourself is like a second cherry.
While poking around the blogoshere this morning, I may have found evidence of what we all know is true. The folks at ecovelo.org and dc.streetsblog.org have articles discussing the findings that were published in the American Journal of Public Health from researchers at Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that show a clear link between high levels of walking and bicycling to work and positive health outcomes.
Active commuting alone will not be that magic pill we all seek. But along with eating right, active lifestyle and other factors, walking and cycling can contribute to lower rates of obesity and diabetes.
Does your city or town promote walking or cycling to work? If it did, would you walk or bike more?