Saturday, November 6

Invisible Commute

I’ve shown many of the elements of my commute in this blog, most often to illustrate a situation or condition any commuter may encounter. This post fills in some of the blanks and shows the invisible commute - the commute I never show.

Heritage Parkway, Southern Entrance to Fort Worth Alliance Airport. Almost to Work!

 First off, close to my office, at Alliance Airport, we’re treated to Heritage Parkway, a 45mph four-lane road with a median. Traffic is light on this road, because it was overdesigned based on the final “build out” occupancy at the airport. This road is identified as needing bike lanes in the Fort Worth Bike Plan, though I can’t imagine why they would bother, or who the bike lanes would help. One unique aspect to Heritage is that a high proportion of the motorists actually KNOW me, and I occasionally get reviews from my motoring friends and employees. The consensus is that I’d be very hard to hit by accident.

Another feature of my commute is Timber Creek High School. Under construction when my commute began, it opened in fall 2009. It’s just down the block from where Holly the Crossing Guard kept the elementary school kids in line and crossing properly. Fort Worth also wants to put bike lanes on this street, most of which is a school zone already.

Timber Creek High School, Fort Worth - in the Keller School District

There are also a couple of swimming pools along the way. THIS ONE, has refrigerated drinking water. Conveniently, it is about 1/3 of the way home from work. I’ve never availed myself of the water there, but it’s nice to know it is there. There’s also a water fountain about 2/3 of the way home, across the street from a Wal-Mart. Hmm, come to think of it, Fort Worth wants to put bike lanes on the street I took this shot from as well, but, again, I can’t imagine why. Cyclists, or even pedestrians, are rare in this area because of poor subdivision design choices. Even when the pool is busy, the neighborhood residents usually drive to the pool.
Neighborhood Swimming - and a Water Fountain

Most People Drive to the Neighborhood Pool
Some of the route is through older neighborhoods that use a grid street system. A grid system in a flat area such as DFW gives lots of choices for a commute cyclist. The route through the grid that I use minimizes stop sign encounters and is very direct. Traffic is minimal.

Grid Systems Predominate in Older Neighborhoods such as this one in Keller

I mentioned a secret neighborhood trail I use here. THIS is what it looks like. Not being on maps, not recognized by Google Bikes, nor part of the Keller Trail plan, it represents, for me, a traffic-free shortcut that has good shade and shelter from the wind. As you can see, it doubles to supplement storm drainage during heavy rain.

This Trail Works Well for a Shortcut in Keller

There are also subdivisions along my route. Some of them are finished, and some, closer to work, are still being developed. Traffic is uniformly light and new subdivisions have enough garage space that people rarely park on the streets. Dealing with parked cars is not much of an issue on my commute. In these new subdivisions, the biggest traffic problem is an unwarranted fascination with putting stop signs all over.

Cows Graze in a Future Site of McMansions in Colleyville

Jaguar Mark 10 in a New Subdivision
Perhaps surprisingly, I cross a major trail; the Cottonbelt Trail. It is notable mainly because I worry about getting hit by a cyclist running the stop sign (you know, it is no secret that most of those annoying cyclists DO run stop signs on trails). It runs perpendicular to where I’m usually going. It is a very nice trail for recreational use, and I’ve ridden on it for that purpose twice. I actually tried to make a video while riding the trail, but my amusing sound narration did not come out. My post on Webb house, here, was just south of the trail, but I forgot to mention it in that post. I also forgot to mention it in my post on Lady Bird's Legacy, though it was only about 20 feet north of that spot.

Cottonbelt Trail in Colleyville. Has Anyone Ever Been Ticketed for Exceeding That Speed Limit?

Barn off of Oak Knoll in Colleyville

East-West streets near home are not well configured. Traffic on Glade and Cheek Sparger is heavy both ways in the afternoon, and illegally passing a cyclist can be difficult. Further east, Glade becomes my Nemesis Road due to brain-damaged, auto-centric traffic engineering. Fortunately, Oak Knoll makes a very pleasant alternate for the days I stop at Starbucks on the way home, and Hall Johnson also makes a good cycling route. Hall Johnson is another four-lane road, posted at 30mph, though most motorists drive it at 40. At either speed, cyclists are easy to see and even easier to pass. It’s the street I was on in the post reported here. Actually, right about where the photo was shot from. Cheek Sparger eastbound traffic in the morning is very light, and I invariably ride it to work except when it was under construction this summer.

Cheek Sparger Road in Colleyville
Hall Johnson Road in Colleyville
There are a couple of businesses that are handy for commute cyclists that I have discovered along my route. About halfway home is a bicycle shop in Keller called Bicycles Inc. Bicycles Inc is a general shop that I have used on occasion to replace components that failed en route, or to pick up small items. Bicycles Inc. also has a store in Hurst that I go to that is much closer to my house, and whose sales people and mechanics strike me as more knowledgeable. Also on the route home is a sport store called “Lukes Locker.” Lukes caters to runners, but it also happens to carry electrolyte replacement pills that Apertome mentioned, and which seem to work well for me. The shot of Lukes was taken directly from my main commute route, so you can see it doesn’t represent much of a detour. Similarly, “Knobbies and Slicks,” reported here, is within sight of my commute route. Knobbies is a bike shop. I’m not sure they’d represent a good place to stop for spares, but they sure do have some slick bicycles, as well as a spinning studio.

Lukes Locker Carries Electrolyte Pills. Great for Hydration in Summer

Another Store I Regularly Stop at on the way Home with Gratuitous Bike Shot


Velouria said...

Gosh, some of the stuff you describe is so... alien to the part of the States where we live. Amazing.

Oh and that Heritage Parkway... I have no words. Except maybe "yikes".

Pondero said...

I enjoyed the additional views of your commute. My brother lives in Colleyville, and I am familiar with many of those scenes. You cover a lot of territory every day.

Chuck Davis said...

Your secret neighborhood trail is really a gem!

There a number of major run off channels that dump storm water into the AR River that get ridden in here in Tulsa

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