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