Dorothy Benson: Last thoughts on the trail through Haile…
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 5:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.
When the MTPO meets on Monday, Oct. 1, at 3 pm, about the Archer Braid Trail and our County Commission’s vote to remove the route from Haile Plantation, I hope they will keep the following points in mind.
A key component of the original vision was limited interruption and separation from auto ways for bicyclists. The path through Haile introduces a number of conflict points, compromising safety.
I’ve heard from several cycling enthusiasts that the trail through Haile is poorly planned for the following reasons: too many side roads diminishes the route’s effectiveness as a “commuter trail” and jeopardizes safety; bicycles and pedestrians don’t mix well; bicyclists passing through on a regional bike trail travel at 15 to 25 mph, and you’re putting them on the same path with kids walking to school, joggers, elderly walkers, etc. If this is truly a commuter trail, bikes and pedestrians should be kept apart.
More comments I’ve heard from serious bicyclists: cycling enthusiasts will continue to use the roads, despite the available path. Haile Boulevard would be better served with bike lanes adjoining the current roadway and conventional sidewalks.
Additionally, the trail is supposed to be part of a multimodal system, yet it bypasses people that really need the trail for transportation, i.e. lower income groups that just want to get to the grocery store or drug store.
I would add that Valwood’s and Kenwood’s children don’t have sidewalks in their neighborhoods either; they must walk in the road or in the right-of-ways to get to school from their homes, too, and their entrance roads are busy at peak times, just like ours.
While our residents currently have access to Tower Road on our internal path system, our Haile boards can easily put a path up along the tree line more in line with our planned community’s design to make for a more direct route; and Archer Braid Trail users can access the Haile Village Center on our trails if they care to stop for lunch there.