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Posted by on Jun 21, 2009 in General | 14 comments

Connecting Roads Less Traveled… and Finding Shade

bypassA few weeks ago, I commented that there is an alternative to US 17-92 through Winter Park that is quiet, scenic and certainly less intimidating. Eric asked what roads I use. I’m answering now, with a map of the bypass route I use. Just for fun, I added some other connections that I’ve made from it.

This route is an example of how small connector trails make the difference in allowing cyclists to use routes that are more pleasant than major roads. (The markers on the map indicate trail connections.) It’s not just about traffic, this time of year I go out of my way to find shade!

Notes about the route:

There are only a few North/South routes through Winter Park. The selection is further reduced by the brutal bricks. Sunnyside does have about 3 blocks of brick,  less than Temple or Via Tuscany.

Denning is a wonderful bike road. It is 4-lane and almost always way below capacity. Just claim the right lane and enjoy the pleasure of an 11ft bike lane.

The section of 17-92 between Magnolia and Lake is very easy to handle if you use a green light to make the right turn. Go all the way to the left lane. It’s ~500ft to the left turn lane and you should have the road to yourself all the way, as traffic is held by the red light.

The trail that connects Lake to Central also continues into Maitland on its own right-of-way. It can get busy with pedestrian traffic around Lake Lily park, so I just use it as a connector to the street grid. Staying on Central to Packwood avoids the steep-diagonal RR crossing on Maitland Ave (many, many cyclists have crashed on those tracks). For an easier left turn (Northbound), take Sybelia to Horatio where there is a traffic light.

More notes are in Google Maps, you can see them by clicking on the markers and route lines.

14 Comments

  1. Thanks Keri!

    Two comments:

    1) Wider tires with lower pressures make the bricks much more tolerable.

    2) I avoid southbound Denning in the morning after several unpleasant Lynx bus driver interactions. The problem is there are many stops along Denning-I think every block. I have been trapped behind buses which pass me, pull into my lane and stop a few yards in front of me at the next stop. By the time a car or two passes us, and I’m no longer pinned, I can only get 3/4 block before the bus flies by full-throttle-smoke-belching only to again cut me off. By waiting a few seconds to let me by all would be right with the world. But no!

    Coping strategy advice? Take the left southbound lane and let cars and bus pass on my right???

    Brock

  2. “Coping strategy advice? Take the left southbound lane and let cars and bus pass on my right???”

    You could, but I think what would be better is if you took the whole right lane by riding in the left tire track the way motorcycles do.

    Then after a bus passed and you know it will likely stop, you would look over your shoulder, change to the right tire track of the left lane (which is only 5 feet to the left) to get around the bus and go back to the right lane.

    I think you would be very predictable to the drivers this way. They know about getting trapped behind buses.

  3. I’m in agreement with Eric’s suggestion. I’ve found that left tire track does discourage them from trying to pass immediately before a stop.

    Another thought I had was timing… find out when the buses are there. I took a look at the Lynx route map and schedules. Yikes! There are 6 different lines that use Denning between Webster and Morse, that creates a lot of opportunity for interaction. A brief look at the southbound schedules shows that 5 of the lines hit Webster and Denning within the first 15 minutes of the hour. The 102 line runs every 15 minutes (:08, :23, :38, :53… with some variation).

    I don’t use Denning regularly. It was one of my commute options when I lived in Maitland. But I must have had the good fortune to get there in the right time window. Most of the buses I encountered were idling at Webster and Denning and didn’t start up again until I was past Morse.

    Another strategy (just for sanity) if you’re outside the cluster of regular buses, pull over for a few seconds and wait until the bus has enough gain on you that you won’t pass it again. I’ve had the leapfrog problem on University and slowed to let the bus get farther ahead. But that’s easier to do on a low-density road with a higher speed limit.

    I think the leapfrog problem is a good one for discussion because there has been a planning trend toward bike & bus shared lanes. The reasoning is that both travel the same average speed. The problem is, buses stop frequently and blocks the way for cyclists. Cyclists are slower between the stops so the bus has to pass in order to maintain the average speed for the route.

  4. Nice looking route! The next time I’m in Orlando I’ll have to try it. I wish someone would do that sort of thing for Naples (Fla, not Italy). I’ve had to learn that sort of information the hard way.

    Of course, my fundamental issue is that car drivers have a fast, direct route down 17-92 and we are looking at a bike routing that is longer and slower with many more turns.

    It should be the bicycle rider that has the fast, direct route. And the car driver that has to go the long way around, detour out of the way and go ways that are not obvious. See the numerous examples at:

    http://hembrow.blogspot.com/search/label/directness

  5. Kevin: Bicyclists DO have the option of the fast, direct route. US 17/92 has wide curb lanes and bike lanes most of the way. Since it doesn’t require any turns it’s quite easy to ride. The down side is the continuous center turn lane, which means motorists can turn left across your path most anywhere.

    What Keri’s route offers is a quieter, shadier, more attractive alternative to an ugly strip commercial arterial.

  6. Poor Kevin. He just doesn’t get it.

    I use 17-92 on a regular basis without trouble, even in the places that don’t have the wide curb lane. Before I learned how to conduct myself in traffic I was afraid of doing that, but no longer.

    I was just curious what route Keri used as an alternative.

    Me? I use Merritt Parkway to Rollins, then over to the other side of the hospital and then Winter Park St. under I-4 to Formosa, then north to west Winter Park when I need to get to the other side of town.

    For me, it is easier.

  7. Too bad it’s so humid in Florida or you could add “people that turn their sprinklers on in the afternoon” as a secondary criterion after shade. It was bliss – 98 here today (thanks, Remington Park HOA). It gives the term “gutter rider” a whole new connotation.

    The sun seems to beat down doubly hard on any cyclists riding those ugly strip streets, particularly when stopped at traffic lights.

  8. I’ll still aim for a sprinkler, but it doesn’t help as much here as in a dry climate.

    The 6 acre arterial intersections are the worst. You can feel yourself cooking as the air temp is in the 100s over all that asphalt.

  9. “You can feel yourself cooking as the air temp is in the 100s over all that asphalt.”

    And my black helmet makes it worse. Next time it is silver or some other light color for me.

  10. Feel yourself cooking is right … it’s why I welcome rain chances in the afternoon. Those rainclouds, when they block the sun, seem to drop air temps by 10 degrees or more. And as long as there is no lightning, the rain on the way home feels great ……. :)

  11. Keri said, “There are 6 different lines that use Denning between Webster and Morse, that creates a lot of opportunity for interaction.”

    Yes, Denning and Webster is LYNX’s key transfer point for several routes between downtown and Winter Park and points north, east and west. There really is a method to the madness, but don’t ask me to explain it, I’m still figuring it out myself.

    Leapfrogging is a difficult issue to grapple. I too like the suggestion to take the left wheel track. It’s one of those issues I think where buses and bikes need to figure out a happy medium and work together, it takes two people to tango, if you will. Who’s delay is less critical? If the bus waits for the cyclist, they experience a delay and vice versa. I say they’re about equal.

  12. Also want to add that peak hour creates more conflicts as the bus stops are generally spaced every two blocks and there are likely more boarding and offboardings. Outside of peak hour the buses likely won’t have as many stops and can/will gain ground as they pass empty stops. Timing your commute so that it avoids the routes as much as possible is one option, albeit not always the most desirable.

  13. “Outside of peak hour”

    Same can be said for I-4, it’s fine outside of peak hours.

    Since I set my own working hours, I can make sure that I don’t go certain ways at certain hours, but people that work for wages and are told when to work don’t have those options.

  14. Tried your route today and meandered off of it quite a bit. I think I covered in the range of about 25 miles. It was nice since it was about 8:00 to 10:00 and being July the 3rd it was a somewhat modified holiday so I didn’t get the same volume of traffic as you might otherwise. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the great ride.