Photo by LisaB
It’s a park. It’s a part of the commons. It’s an enhancement to the entire community… whether they ride bikes or not. It’s only a few 10ths of a mile long, but it connects two networks of pleasant, low-volume roads which are otherwise only connected by an arterial road. It connects neighborhoods to Downtown Winter Park.
The little trail through Mead Botanical Garden offers an enjoyable route choice for novice and experienced cyclists alike. It’s part of my primary route home in the afternoon.
Pull out a road atlas of Metro Orlando sometime and look at all the low-volume residential roads that are no more than a few hundred feet from each other, but are part of networks only connected by busy arterial roads. With a few short penstrokes, you can connect a nearly-direct route from one side of this city to another in any direction.
This is how we facilitate novice cyclists and help them learn road cycling skills. We give them low-volume road options. As they become more comfortable, they’ll move to bigger roads to expand their access.
Isn’t that how we teach our teenagers to drive cars? We don’t put them on I-4 the first day. But we also don’t keep them on a protected, closed circuit or in a parking lot once they’ve demonstrated the ability to control the vehicle. And we don’t build special infrastructure for them, either, because we expect them to develop the skills of adult drivers.
I recommend John Allen’s article on sprawl and connectivity.