The American River Bikeway has been closed near Northrop for more than a month now. I had to give it some time before I blogged about it, because I was so annoyed when the barricades first went up.
There was plenty of noticed--signs noting the coming closure and dates were posted more than a week ahead of time. I appreciated that. The implication was that a detour would be provided. Whoever designed the detour didn't study traffic patterns at this location very carefully.
The site of the closure is an access point for the trail, where trail users can get onto the street system and the reverse. The detour allows trail users to pass through but not to leave the trail and get back onto the street. It effectively closes Northrop--an important bike route--to users of the bike trail. My commute, with its good pavement, light traffic, and effective bike lane (read: no on-street parking) has been closed to me since August 22 and will remain closed until October 17.
In the meantime, I have been forced off of the bikeway at CalExpo, onto an after-thought spur trail of broken pavement and broken glass. This spur puts me into the RV entrance for the California State Fairgrounds, near the corner of Ethan Way and Hurley.
From the Fairgrounds, I turn onto Hurley. Hurley, here, assails me with yet more broken pavement and a constant stream of traffic that still thinks it is on a freeway. At the next intersection, a traffic signal at Howe Avenue, two lanes of traffic turn left. Each day, I take the middle lane on my bicycle so that two lanes of traffic aren't turning left in front of me. Each afternoon, I defy automotive-altercation while crossing two lanes of busy traffic with the rising sun in my eyes. In the afternoons, I do the reverse.
All this, from what I can tell, is so that the contractor working on the leveee does not have to provide bicycles with access at Northrop. There is no work going on at the Northrop access--just access. Contractors' vehicles come and go through this gate during the workday. The amount of temporary fencing that was used to block off the bike trail could have been used to make a temporary bike access around the contractors' work area.
In a few weeks, I should have my quiet, tree-lined commute back. In the meantime, I will practice riding my bike in real traffic.