Friday, August 08, 2008

New blog: Touring Grand Forks

I'm pleased to announce that the Grand Forks blogosphere has added another blogger to its ranks recently. Touring Grand Forks is the name of a new blog by a UND student named "JP" who is sharing his discoveries from along the city's extensive bike path system.

From the blog:

Basically, I'm going to ride my bike around different parts of Grand Forks every day (hopefully) and detail my experiences (with pictures!). I'm hoping to see all kinds of crazy things as I explore every corner of Grand Forks, all while getting in shape at the same time. I'm using this blog as motivation to stay active. It should be stated that I'm by no means an experienced bicyclist...or blogger for that matter.
I must admit that I too am a devotee of our metropolitan area's system of trails. In my book, there isn't an urban system like this anywhere else in the region. I think this is something that we should be truly proud of as a city. While JP uses his bicycle to explore our trails, I am a walker. I have been known to take four or five mile walks along the Greenway and on other city trails and paths. I look forward to reading JP's blog. Check it out!


C. Y. said...

I'd like to see the bike paths extended alongside Columbia Rd south to Co Rd 6 (Merrifield road), then west to Co Rd 5 (airport road) , then north to Demers and into Grand Forks. It should lessen the chance one of the bike riders will get hit by a truck, etc. Driving into the sun in the evening and coming up on a bike rider that isn't smart enough to wear bright clothing id pretty scary. Although I did see one last night wearing a bright lime green shirt that could be seen for a ways down the road.

A couple of nights ago one was riding when it was almost dark with a couple of little flashing red lights. They could not be seen far enough away to be really safe.

The first time one of them gets run over they are going to scream holy hell and yet they won't take the initiative to make themselves safe.

Put as much money into safety items as you do those neat clothes and bikes.

Matthew said...

Most of us do wear bright clothing and, as you already said, run lights. What other "initiative" would you have us take?

If you build paths on those roads, they won't be used by the cyclists to which you are referring (myself being one of them). If you want to call for the road being widened, I would DEFINITELY be in favor of that, especially along the west end of DeMers.

I'll bring your comments up with some of the other cyclists; maybe they'll have a solution for you.

Elucidarian said...

I'm equally impressed and distressed with bike trails in Grand Forks. Sure, the ones along the dike are wonderful, but some of the city paths are horrendous.

I had a nasty spill a couple months ago on the S. Washington underpass, on the path running along the northbound lane. I had glanced away momentarily and missed a broken section of the path ahead. Hitting it threw my steering off just enough to veer smack into the end of the guard rail. I flew down onto Washington, very lucky at 8am that there was no traffic.

In addition to a series of cuts and bumps (thank Jeebus for bike helmets), my left thumb was ripped open down to the tendon and I struggled not to pass out on my way back onto the path.

Anyway, since I was finally able to get back on the bike a month later, I've taken more notice of the crappy condition of too many bike paths in town. One of the nurses in the emergency room stated that there had been more bicycle accidents lately. With gas prices what they are, it's not surprising more people are biking, making it more important than ever to get those paths fixed up or replaced.

Matthew said...

Perhaps we need to redefine the difference between "path" and "sidewalk," so people will ride on the former but not the latter.

Elucidarian said...

"bike trail" vs "sidewalk"

There's certainly some ambiguity to be found around town. Bicycles seem to need their own lane. Too slow for drivers, too fast for pedestrians, a potential obstacle either way. University Ave. on campus has bicycle lanes. On ordinary residential streets it's easy enough to stay on the road, but areas with heavier traffic can be dangerous.

Matthew said...

Absolutely, I'm not saying there's one solution to the problem. Some cyclists are perfectly comfortable in traffic and are fast enough to cope, other people who ride bikes are inexperienced and don't know the rules of the road. The question is how to make it easy for everyone to get around town, whether they drive or ride a bicycle.

I'm personally in favor of wider streets without a defined "bike" lane, because then you don't get the problem like at University and Columbia: the bike lane shuffles people off to the right (on Uni), even if people riding want to go straight. If you are inexperienced or don't know that you are allowed to take the straight lane, it makes crossing Columbia a hassle (and could get you hit by a right-turning vehicle).

I've said enough on the subject today; I just enjoy hearing what people think about cycling and the infrastructure in this town. I think JP's blog is an excellent contribution!

C. Y. said...

Matthew said:
"Most of us do wear bright clothing and, as you already said, run lights. "

What is bright to you standing in a parking lot getting ready to ride is waaaay different than what a driver sees as he comes up on you at 55 mph.

It doesn't matter how bright your shirt is if you are hunched over while you ride.

Blaze orange, bright lime green like Carhart t-shirts, etc. Make flags out of them and make yourself very obvious. If it's moving like a flag it'll be seen even more.

I saw that home of economy had a very bright magnetic LED amber flashing light for farm equipment and a field cultivator is a lot more obvious on the road than a single bide rider.

Anonymous said...

the new blog is great! can't wait to see more of our town featured...I'm calling it a town because I'm still not convinced that it is a city...very rural and against growth...that's a town in my book

growingupartists said...

What a great idea! I look forward to seeing pictures of the nooks and crannies of this town's beloved Greenway.

Anonymous said...

Lets see how he manages in the freezing temps and snow.

JP said...

Hah! Yeah, don't think that hasn't crossed my mind. Still thinking of what I'm going to do during winter, but don't worry I will definitely come up with something.

Anonymous said...

Do they clear any of the paths in winter. Or does it become one big sledding and cross-country ski run?

Anonymous said...

Yes, at least some of the paths in the Greenway are cleared in the winter. I walk in the Greenway almost daily [usually between Lincoln Park and Elmwood]. That section has been kept pretty well plowed the last two winters. [Not always clear the first day after a snow, but within a day or two.] I don't know that I'd want to bike on it in the winter, but it is frequently better for walking than many of our sidewalks!

Anonymous said...

For all the bitching and moaning that has gone on about the poorly synchronized lights on 32nd Ave South, now that the situation is being addressed the city workers are being harrassed by motorists literally rolling down the windows of their vehicles to scream and swear at them for blocking traffic. My husband is one of these workers and has been coming home in complete shock at the end of the day, shaking his head about the behavior of people. The other day there was even a motorist who actually got out of his car and climbed a lift in order to holler at and threaten the worker in the bucket, endangering them both. No kidding. What is going on?