I wrote about this principle awhile back and then saw it in practice while out riding today so I think it’s worthy of a rehash. I’m talking about connectivity that doesn’t include automobiles.There are many such examples to choose from around the country, but this one is more obvious than most.
People generally dislike automobile traffic racing through their neighborhoods. This wasn’t much of a problem before the early 1960s because not many people had cars and those who did tended to drive a little slower than folks do today. Back then, most communities had streets laid out on a grid. If you wanted to get across town you’d start out east or west and eventually turn north or south and you’d get to where you’re going.
That all changed in the 1960s. The dead end was rebranded as the cul-de-sac and developers abandoned the grid in an effort to slow down motorists. It became much more difficult to get from here to there by car.
But people still crave connectivity and increasingly neighborhoods are choosing to connect via trail and footpath even when no car connections are available. I saw this earlier today in South Ogden. The connection was hidden in plain sight. I’d tried to find it on a previous ride and missed it because there are no signs to guide outsiders like me. I needed to study Google Maps but once I knew where to look there it was.
This is an example of a deceptively simple, inexpensive and elegant piece of bicycle infrastructure. It didn’t cost much and it serves double duty. To the casual eye, it’s just a park in a ravine, but to residents it’s the most direct route from Point A to Point B. It improves quality of life on both sides of the ravine. That’s a win-win.