That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

This is what people want! They want to use quiet, shady streets with light, slow traffic to get to their destinations.

Even though this route is relatively direct, it involves 12 different streets in less than a mile.

Living in Audubon Park, the majority of my local trips are on roads with no traffic. It’s absolutely deluxe! I can get from here to downtown Orlando, Winter Park and Maitland with very little traffic interaction.

The challenge for most people is our convoluted street network—it takes a lot of local knowledge and a good sense of direction to navigate it. The advantage is there is little traffic because the cut-thru motorists can’t figure it out. The disadvantage is, a person without that street knowledge can’t either. Most of my routes involve connecting more than a dozen different streets within 2 miles of my home. It’s become second nature because I do it all the time, but it would be unreasonable to follow a map or cue sheet with such frequent turns.

The map image (above right) links to a google map with two quiet street routes from Cady Way to College Park. These are among several perfect corridors for wayfinding. I use both of these frequently, choosing the one that comes closest to my final destination. These routes offer features that make cycling a superior experience:

  • They are shady and quiet, free of the noise and frustration of traffic (traffic frustration being more of a factor in my car than on my bike).
  • They offer lots of opportunity for community interaction with humans walking dogs, jogging or just out in their yards. I have usually exchanged friendly greetings with 3 or 4 people within 2 miles of leaving home. I place a high value on that.
  • I see very few cars, even at rush hour. The motorists I do see are typically friendly and will exchange a wave and smile as readily as anyone. We’re all operating in space that is understood to be human.
  • Amazingly, both routes are only 1/10th of a mile longer than the arterial route. While they have more turns, they also have fewer traffic lights. For someone traveling at 10-15mph (regardless of the road’s speed limit), it’s faster to add a tenth of a mile if you’re subtracting 5 red lights.

This could be a powerful tool to promote cycling. Due to our lack of connectivity, we’d also need better permeability to complete a truly useful network of preferred routes. But we’re working on that, too.

Previous posts on this topic:

Little Big Things

A Slow Street Movement

Connecting roads less traveled.. and finding shade

Strategic trail connections can make biking easier than driving

Connect the Quiet Streets

8 replies
  1. Jesse Ross
    Jesse Ross says:

    This is totally it. And, you know, a software and some advertising would cost way less than a single mile of trail (though I do think trails would be an awesome way to connect these existing roads).

    It’s so silly to think there’s only one straight line to get to any destination. Plus, it’s neatly analogous; the idea of taking small, residential roads is sort of representative of biking in general. I mean, everyone else is taking this narrow path, one single way to get to a destination. Cyclists are iconoclasts, going their own way.

  2. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    I recently got a new job with an 8 km commute to work. The first 2 km takes me through three different neighbourhoods with the street layout more-or-less Toronto’s usual grid pattern. Semi-permeable barriers (mostly greenspace) mean that cars can only enter or exist each neighbourhood from the North. But on my bicycle I can whizz right through in more-or-less a straight line on almost car-free streets.

    This provides me with a beautiful ride for the first 2 km. Then I’m back on an unpleasant arterial road. Sigh…

  3. Donna
    Donna says:


    I practice the same solution. I have found very safe and enjoyable residential streets to travel from College Park to Winter Park, to Baldwin Park to Downtown. It does help to know you’re way around, but the more you give it a try, the more avenues you discover.

  4. Rodney
    Rodney says:

    I ended taken the northern route from Silver Star/N. OBT back from an errand Monday. Much nicer, calmer, and quieter than the route I took up. 17-92 is not a hassle, but the noise sure is.

    Find it easier to navigate around town by bike and get to know the ins/outs of where roads lead. So what if it takes a tad longer, riding a bike is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not stressful. Ride Big and Ride On!

  5. NE2
    NE2 says:

    Hopefully there will be a chance for public input in Orlando’s planned wayfinding system, during which routes like these can be recommended. There are presently a few signed east-west routes that cut through the residential neighborhoods between Curry Ford and Lake Underhill, but most of the current inventoried bike routes are either small neighborhood loops or major streets with bike lanes.

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