If you don't believe that congestion exists on bicycle and pedestrian trails, check out the Mount Vernon Trail in Virginia on a nice day. Now that it's spring, I've seen a surge in bicyclists out in the city, and some bike routes are starting to feel a little crowded.

(from M.V. Jantzen on Flickr)

Most people have experienced auto congestion - there aren't many major cities that don't have the problem with too many cars on valuable road space. It's often believed that bicyclists and pedestrians don't have to deal with serious congestion - maybe it's even a way to avoid it. And that's true, except when it's not. Sidewalks and multi-use trails can get crowded and congested, and when they do, it can be almost as frustrating as being caught in a bad traffic jam.

On the other hand, bicyclists do tend to benefit from safety in numbers. So while it might feel a little slower to get where you're going, and least it's safer. As long as people have to "commute" places, however they choose to do it, there are going to be challenges. The more distance you have to travel, the more opportunities there will be for obstacles along the way.


    On April 11, 2011 John said...

    That's nothing. You should see the Lakefront Trail in Chicago. Crazy crowded every afternoon all summer and even worse on weekends.


    Or the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, for that matter.