Some thoughts from a ride to dinner…
Lisa an I took advantage of the beautiful evening and rode to dinner tonight. We’re fortunate to live near the Cross-Seminole Trail (a shared-use path). The path took us almost all the way from home to the restaurant. Aside from a few annoying, unwarranted stop signs (which will be the topic of another post) the path is really wonderful. It’s especially nice to be removed from traffic when riding into the sunset, as we were this evening.
The only problem is that since it was built primarily for recreational use, it doesn’t have good connectivity to destinations — like the restaurant we were headed to.
When you’re on the trail adjacent to the Villagio shopping center (home of 2 good restaurants: Salamander’s and Señor Tequila), there is no place to cross. No crosswalk. No curb cuts. So you have a choice to enter the road at Parkstone/Winding Hollow and ride west on 434 for 1/4 mile and then turn left, or ride past the shopping center to the Consolidated Services entrance, turn left from that traffic light and backtrack 600ft.
Since the sun was low and blinding, we decided we didn’t want to ride west on 434. We rode to the Consolidated Services driveway and positioned our bikes on the loop detector, and waited. And waited. I noticed there is no crosswalk there. There is a push button to get a walk signal to cross the driveway, but none to cross 434. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before a woman in a car came out of the bus depot. She was being very polite, staying way back from us. We had to wave her forward and point to the loop detector to let her know we needed her to trip the light. When she pulled forward, the light on 434 went to yellow almost immediately. She was so sweet, giving us a little beep and enthusiastic wave to return our friendly wave after the light changed and we all turned left.
I reported the insensitive loop detector using the Metroplan Orlando Spot Improvement Form. I’ve always gotten good results with this. Often the next time I go through the intersection the detector picks me up.
The signal timing actually gave us time (with traffic on 434 stopped at the red light) to get into the shopping center before the platoon was released.
I have yet to find a bike rack in this shopping center. Perhaps the owners would have incentive if the county deliberately connected it to the path. But the Big Dummy makes a fine rack to lock another bike.
After dinner, we decided to take a quiet street route home. Thanks to a great little connector trail, we can ride from Winding Hollow and 434 all the way home on 20/25mph residential streets.
We only had to get to Winding Hollow—1/4 mile up the 5ft-wide faux bike lane on 434. I’ve always found that motorists are more careful and move over farther to pass in the dark than in daylight. Well, apparently, that doesn’t so much apply to bike lanes. I was surprised at the number of motorists that did not move over at all. Nor did they reduce their speed. A quarter mile never felt so long. Even more exciting, just as we got to Winding Hollow we were passed by an SUV driver, who turned right onto Winding Hollow. I coasted around the turn on its bumper. Gah. Figures. Circumstances never cease to remind me why I hate being shoved in the gutter.
But anyway. The rest of the ride home was great. And every motorist that passed (I think there were only three) moved all the way to the other side of the street.
Seminole County residents are certainly blessed to have the shared-use path system that we do. We need more residential connectors like the one that connects Winding Hollow to Trotwood. I could do without the gutter lanes. If I have to ride on a road like 434, I’d prefer to be able to drive defensively and control a regular travel lane.
Here’s the route:
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