Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alternate route to work

Route map here. Description: Home to Keeper of the Plains Plaza, then south on the Arkansas Bike Path to Harry; left on Harry across the river, then right (south) on Greenway to Mt. Vernon; left (east) on Mt. Vernon to Woodlawn; right (south) on Woodlawn to bike path paralleling Pawnee; left (east) on the bike path to Rock; right (south) on Rock to base entrance, then to Dole Center. The route is fairly level, though just east of the intersection of Mt. Vernon and George Washington there's a fairly abrupt rise; also, McConnell sits on a piece of higher ground that both Pawnee and Rock gradually climb toward.

As local folks know, of late we've had wonderful weather for cycling here in town: cool mornings, warm-but-not-hot afternoons. I had some business to take care of out at McConnell, and so I rode out there this morning and returned in the afternoon. I didn't push hard going either way, so each trip took me about an hour.

I had to take this route because my previous base pass had expired and the only place to get new ones is at the Rock Road entrance on the east side of the base--for me, the far side of the base. So, this route is a little over a mile longer than my usual route will be. That rise on Mt. Vernon is one that I won't have to deal with on my commute.

My chief concern with this route was with car traffic on Rock Road,a major commuter route to the base and points south. I got there at about 9:00 this morning, and so traffic was very light. Even so, I'll be riding during rush hour, so I'm very glad I won't have to ride on Rock when I take my usual route.

Finally, a word about the bike path that runs along Pawnee between Woodlawn and Rock at the north end of Cessna and the base: physically, it's a great path: concrete, nice and wide, and fairly new so it's in great shape. Moreover, it is a safe and practical way for people living east of Rock to gain access to the Gypsum Creek Bicycle Path where that path crosses Woodlawn, and it would work for folks who live close by and work at Cessna or the base. But the key phrase here is "it would work." Across from the entrance to Cessna, there is a turn off the path that connects with the street; but while there's a traffic light at that intersection, I don't recall seeing, on the bike-path side, a way for cyclists or pedestrians to control the light. So, crossing at that intersection is still pretty risky. Also, the path has the same slalom-y quality that the Canal Route has: great for recreation, but for a commuter it might create the sense that s/he's not making good time.

So: If I had to--and on occasion, I might (sometimes the base closes the gate I usually go through)--this commuter route will work. It's not a bad route by any means, but I much prefer the route I'll almost always take.

(It's good to be posting something here. I should be a bit more regular in posting for the foreseeable future.)

No comments: