|Yield to Peds. Good idea|
|Its a pretty place, and very popular.|
There are several issues to consider. Human conduct, engineering, topography, and maintenance. All come into play.
As far as topography, the trail follows the river, which is why its called the River Trail. Rivers need a gradient and this one is no exception. Riding a pretty mundane bike at a pretty mellow level of effort, I was able to easily push 15-22 mph riding downhill to the Southwest. Riding back to the Northeast, I was trying to maintain a moderately easy level of effort and chugging along at about 10 mph. So my suspicion is that downslope cyclists probably worry people a little more than upslope ones.
As far as design. The trail follows the river in some sort of easement. The trail width is eight to nine feet, approximately (I forgot my tape measure so used paces). The section from Camino Alire to Ricardo Road is about eight feet. That is AASHTO minimum and a little worrisome for a busy multiuse trail. NE and SW of that the trail is about nine feet wide. I'll go measure it again to be sure.
In addition, the section of trail from Gonzales School to Ricardo Road has several sharp curves with limited sight distance and at Camino Alire, a fast downhill beneath the roadway bridge. This requires everyone to be on their best behavior lest someone go around a curve or down a hill too fast and get a nasty surprise. I show some of these below. This section also happens to have multiple parks and recreational fields, a senior center, and three bridges crossing the river to Casa Solana, so it is often quite busy. The combination of sharp curves and fast downhill cyclists coupled with meandering pedestrians and dog walkers can make for a hazard unless there is cooperation.
|Sharp, limited sight distance curve needing signage|
Finally, maintenance. In addition to the widespread presence of ice, the trail is festooned with chamisa, some growing to be quite substantial and in addition to narrowing the trail, can obscure other users. I'm not sure what the policy is for the city to clear ice and snow from multiuse trails but strongly urge the city to look into this before someone is badly hurt and sues the city, and in addition, trim back the foliage so it doesn't create a hazard by obstructing the trail and screening users from each other.
As far as what bicyclists should do? Keep speed under control, stay alert, yield to and ride carefully around other users, esp. pedestrians who can turn more quickly than a bicyclist, and put a bell on your bike to alert others. As far as additional things the city can do? In addition to the Yield to Peds sign, I would suggest some SLOW, SHARP CURVES and perhaps SLOW, STEEP INCLINE signage to remind people what should be obvious. And trim the chamisa back so it is not impinging on the trail.
|Fast downhill under Alire|
|Curve, ice, and chamisa screening|
|Massive chamisa obscuring a walker|
|About a hundred yards of glare ice|
|Nice bell purchased at REI|
|SW portion of trail has great sight lines|