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Cycling in Waterloo Region
#16
The issue is not that one has to cross under Lexington, so much as that one has to get across all four lanes in order to use Lexington to cross highway 85, to connect with Davenport. When I use this route to get from Bridgeport and King to Northfield and King, Lexington is the worst part, followed by crossing university, and crossing Weber. I will be glad to not have difficulty stopping at my casual speeds on the trail; the washed out path and loose soil makes it tricky to handle, unsafe as much for me as for others.
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#17
(11-12-2014, 08:58 AM)ookpik Wrote: There is a tunnel under Lexington so there's no need to dodge four lanes of traffic when crossing it.

If your destination is on the other side of the expressway, you have (at absolute minimum) about 400 metres of Lexington Road to contend with. I've dealt with this for years, having biked through Hillside Park and the Eastbridge neighbourhoods to get to work. You can use trails and Dearborn Blvd to cut down how much of Lexington you have to use, but it's still there.

That will change a little, soon. A multi-use trail is planned for King Street under the expressway that will be accessible from the Forwell Creek trailhead near the big Manulife building. But if your destination is over on the northeast side, Lexington is still a problem. The good news there is that the city knows it wants to improve Lexington for active transportation... but it's going to take a while.

Anyway, as a frequent user of Hillside Park I've been very vocal in my disappointment with the protesters who blocked the work on Tuesday. My thoughts are printed as a letter to the editor in the Record. I also have taken some pictures over the years because there has been substantial work in the park. (If the images below aren't visible, I posted the letter content and photos here.)

This is in Hillside Park, two years ago, during sewer reconstruction work. The bridge was removed and replaced, and as you can see, a wide swath was cut through that has since been resodded and planted. So there has already been a lot of change in the park.

[Image: VdIDv2z.jpg]

This image is from almost the same spot, but earlier in the project. You can actually see the rubble from the old bridge footing and in fact this part of the trail was paved up until it was dug up in 2012.

[Image: EGkDxAY.jpg]

Those images are basically to show that this is not some kind of time capsule that needs to be preserved unchanged. The park has rebounded quite nicely since the heavy work that took place in 2012. But, the weather of 2014 has been very punishing.

This is the kind of damage the gravel trails sometimes see. This one was very recent, September 2014 in fact. As you can see, the runoff ripped the gravel down to the foundation stone. Even after gravel was replaced, it was still too lose to cycle through. The strip along the right was the only (precarious) path you could take without dismounting for a couple of months.

It's also important to note that the trail surface has been damaged in other locations over the years, too.

[Image: mdZLMw5.jpg]

This flooding and damage came up during the consultations. It's now incumbent on the city engineers to get this right, but paving (apart from improving accessibility) should prevent this kind of damage.
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#18
(11-12-2014, 09:27 AM)zanate Wrote:
(11-12-2014, 08:58 AM)ookpik Wrote: There is a tunnel under Lexington so there's no need to dodge four lanes of traffic when crossing it.
If your destination is on the other side of the expressway, you have (at absolute minimum) about 400 metres of Lexington Road to contend with.
I understand. I was referring to the route from Uptown out towards Conestogo Mall via Hillside and Forwell trails. A few key improvements especially road crossings would make that practical. Of course when you get to Manulife HQ at Four Wells there's still King St and the Expressway to contend with. 

I'm not sure exactly what sections of Hillside trail are about to be paved. Hopefully it includes the part along Laurel Creek from University to where the trail forks towards Lexington. That section is now closed in the winter. Once it's paved presumably it will get plowed out regularly like other paved trails.

Another puzzlement is how the townhouse development between Marshall and University got built without a right-of-way for a trail along Laurel creek. Mind you that was built in the 1970s IIRC.
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#19
(11-12-2014, 09:42 AM)ookpik Wrote: I'm not sure exactly what sections of Hillside trail are about to be paved. Hopefully it includes the part along Laurel Creek from University to where the trail forks towards Lexington. That section is now closed in the winter. Once it's paved presumably it will get plowed out regularly like other paved trails.

That part will be paved (I don't know exactly which parts will be paved either, but it will be at least what is part of Waterloop, which includes the University/Carter entrance through to the Lexington underpass). I am hoping that it also includes the branch that leads to MacGregor Crescent, as that part is winter maintained currently.

But when I asked at consultations about winter maintenance for the creekside leg as a result of paving, the answer was that there were no plans to change winter maintenance... yet. (There are also concerns about the shaded trail there getting a lot of thaw runoff and freezing.) I hope that one the Waterloop trail takes form, we'll be able to push for making it all a part of a maintained winter trail network.

That part of the trail definitely sees heavy use despite the lack of winter maintenance, though. I've been through there in early spring and observed rutted, heavily trodden down snow and ice. It's impossible to ride, but there is evidence that people try anyway.
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#20
I wonder if the city's plows can cross the bridge?
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#21
(11-12-2014, 09:53 AM)zanate Wrote: it will be at least what is part of Waterloop
That name, while cute, has other connotations, e.g. Waterloop.
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#22
I see that the City of Waterloo has secured an injunction to prevent protesters from interfering with the paving of the trail, which is now supposed to happen tomorrow. Overkill, perhaps?
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#23
(11-12-2014, 05:09 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I see that the City of Waterloo has secured an injunction to prevent protesters from interfering with the paving of the trail, which is now supposed to happen tomorrow.  Overkill, perhaps?

Sounds worth it to me, if one believes the $10k cost-of-delay figure.

Should the protesters be protesting? I don't think they're right on the merits of the case, so I'd say no.
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#24
Worth it to me too at that price tag.
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#25
(11-12-2014, 05:09 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I see that the City of Waterloo has secured an injunction to prevent protesters from interfering with the paving of the trail, which is now supposed to happen tomorrow.  Overkill, perhaps?

Not overkill, given that they have shown they would physically prevent the work from continuing otherwise.
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#26
I liked this piece on cycling and the "bikes vs cars" debate:

http://www.wired.com/2014/11/9-things-dr...rs-debate/

Quote:So, before the next big wave of internet arguing, I propose we retire a few overused and underwhelming opinions in the bikes vs. cars debate. Though I drive and bike, my allegiances skew toward cyclists (feel free to scroll straight the comments and yell at me). But beyond my personal judgments lie a great many studies and data showing most of the pro-motorist arguments just don’t hold up. I know it’s hard to be wrong, especially on the internet, but here are a few sentences I hope we see less of in the future.
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#27
How awesome would it be to have a few bicycles paths in the region like this?

Solar-Powered Glowing Bike Path
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#28
(11-12-2014, 05:09 PM)panamaniac Wrote: I see that the City of Waterloo has secured an injunction to prevent protesters from interfering with the paving of the trail, which is now supposed to happen tomorrow.  Overkill, perhaps?

On the up side, the City is suggesting that it should review it's public consultation procedures.

On a related note, does anyone know what the relative lifespan of an asphalt path to a properly compacted stone dust path is?  Asphalt looks great for the first five years or so; is passable for the next five or so; and then pretty awful after that.  I'd hate to see the City go to the expense of paving a path only to have to return sooner than expected to repair it.  If this trail is also to be a City vehicle access point, that could put additional stress on the surface.
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#29
(11-14-2014, 11:33 AM)nms Wrote: does anyone know what the relative lifespan of an asphalt path

This guy suggests that asphalt won't address the erosion issues: Hillside Park plan doesn’t address cycling needs

Quote:The city argues the paving is necessary to address erosion problems created by the regular flooding of the park during heavy rains. Their thinking is that by grading the path at an angle in the areas prone to flooding, the water will pass over the path and continue into Laurel Creek.

The problem with this as an "engineered solution'" is that the edge of any paving is a lip and the volume and speed of the water that spills over the Forwell Creek will likely wash under as well as over the asphalt.

There were at least five such flooding events in the park last summer. I expect the city will soon find this is a very expensive stretch of path if it plans to maintain it.
If he's right about this then sections of pavement are destined to wash away or collapse long before the asphalt deteriorates naturally.

He also makes other negative comments about the wisdom of paving this trail including environmental harm and safety.
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#30
I don't buy it, starting from the scary quotes on engineered solution and moving on to the ridiculous: The radiant heat that will be produced by the paving will cause dieback of the old growth forest that remains in the park.
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