Friday, August 8, 2008

Double Bypass?

County Engineer Kyle Zimmerman recently asked me my opinion on getting through the Conoco Hill construction zone (aka the "Conoco Hill Mess") on a bike. I told him it was often a mess, but quite a manageable mess. The old expression "in order to make an omlette, you gotta break some eggs" applies. I'm looking forward to it being finished.

I'm not (and was never) happy that we went to an Interstate Highway version of the Diamond Drive reconstruction project instead of the "road diet" version, but that's the subject of another rant; maybe one I'll co-author with Jimbo over at the Bomb Town Blog. With four buck a gallon gas and skyrocketing use of the Atomic City Bus, not sure we need all that capacity.

Back to the Mess. I've been somewhat mystified that rarely on my bike rides through the Conoco Mess have I been hassled by anyone. I think it is so slow during what passes as our "rush hour" that having a cyclist in the mix hardly matters. Since I don't try to pass people on the right and scoot to the head of the line, I don't tend to get people annoyed with that antic.

But in general, I've been bypassing the Mess and riding around it: Arizona to 45th to Yucca to North and pop out on Diamond just past the Pajarito Complex. It adds about a mile to my commute, but a very peaceful and quiet mile and adds some badly needed exercise to this old coot's day.

What are others doing?


Anonymous said...

The "up grade" of Diamond is a prime example of fighting the last war. There will be no more development causing increased traffic. The 60 year era of cheap gas is over causing a reduction in traffic. Los Alamos finally has solid public transportation that reduces traffic. We now have the Maginot Line running through town just in time for a mode of transportation that has reached its peak.

Khal said...

Like the Maginot Line or Battleship Row, this is indeed a solution for fighting the last war. But this is what the most vocal members of this community wanted.

Meanwhile, we have had yet another major power glitch this week, resulting in costly downtime and equipment malfunction or failure. Instead of buying yet more asphalt and bulldozer time, would it not be a good idea to overhaul our third-world power grid?

Jimbo said...

Or we could do like Gallup, NM, did and spend about $50K for an incredible system of trails.

Pedaling through the woods on nice dirt trails is my preferred method of bike commute to work. Right now I'm able to bypass the entire Diamond Drive mess, and the air is much better, too.

Amy said...

We've only had one person honk at us as we rode up Diamond to Conoco Hill from downtown. It was on the weekend, from some dude two cars behind us, probably because he just couldn't *wait* to get to that red light. Red lights are a lot of fun to sit in front of, and I personally rush to sit in front of them as much as possible.

When I ride I'm usually pulling my 33-pound preschooler in a trailer, and I'm never biking during rush hour. I'm usually on the road at lunch hour which can get crazy with the lower traffic volume and higher speeds. I have been turning up Urban off of Diamond to avoid the construction zone, but that can really kick my butt. I heard from a resident in the Mountain School neighborhood that a good way to avoid Urban is to turn up Sycamore and go around that hill, and come out on the North Road detour. Haven't tried it, but I plan to.

Anonymous said...

Sycamore is a little flatter than Urban. It puts you up on North at the south(?)end of the tennis courts. Sometimes I go that way for the same reason--to avoid the little wall on Urban.

Might be easier than climbing straight up Urban with the child and trailer.