I recently sat down with a friend, who had just come from jogging at Ring Road in Delaware Park. As we discussed the park, he began to tell me about some of the issues that he has with the road, which I found to be very interesting. I asked him to jot down his grievances, so that I could share them:
Far too many vehicles speed on the inner loop traveling from the upper parking lot (see lead image). Traveling right alongside walkers, runners & cyclists, with speeds exceeding 25 mph. Speeds are excessive throughout the entire shared portion of the inner loop. All walks of life speed through this park, all.
There are not enough signs posting speed limits. Speed should also be painted on the black top incrementally. Police need to issue warnings and tickets. Speed bumps would be unfriendly to bikes. Maybe an electronic sign flashing individual car speeds? A couple of days of ticketing?
Separate Vehicles & People
A natural barrier should divide pedestrians from vehicular traffic.
Small children are brought to the park to learn how to ride a bike for the first time. The idea is that parents are bringing their child to a park. But in reality, we are all just playing in the street. I have seen it, it is dangerous, it’s misleading.
Arrows on the black top for cycles point in the counter-clockwise direction traveling in the same direction as cars on the inner loop, and cars and bikes travel in the same lane. I believe pedestrians see these arrows and have elected, for the most part, to ignore conventional wisdom and walk and jog along with traffic in the same direction.
Even though we all know you should always walk facing oncoming traffic, pedestrians for the most part walk or run in the counter-clockwise direction or along with the flow of traffic.
Runners/walkers/cyclists have earphones in and cannot hear oncoming traffic on the inner loop. The majority of pedestrians have traffic approaching them from their rear. It is alarming how unaware or distracted so many walkers are. Drivers are distracted on the inner loop as well with cell phone, bottles of water, tuning the radio and A/C.
Outside of the park, I see students daily crossing the street without looking both ways. Drivers are not paying attention. We also live in an area where drivers accidentally drive into building storefronts frequently.
People on people conflict. There are runners and walkers and cyclists who will not move over for others. They pick a line and they are bullyish about it. It is so ignorant and so rude. For example, there are three women who walk in a side by side line, blocking the whole lane – two of them don’t move for anyone – all three of them are talking at the same time. A couple of elderly guys on cycles, dressed like they are training, ride with a nasty attitude. It’s so odd. Adults walk children from the soccer field, with no regard for others while crossing. There are only a few of these inconsiderate souls who use the park, but my point is, people force other people out of the walking lane and into the drive lane in order to pass or avoid others. We need to direct traffic and take decision-making out of the equation. We must revisit the basic concept of flow patterns.
Major events at the park produce garbage and litter. Garbage is not removed immediately after the event (in any park). Cans and boxes and open bags may linger for a day, along with Porta-Potties that bake in the sun. This has a negative effect on weekend users. Removal of event garbage, litter pick-up should be an important part of the event breakdown. Very small cost, very large impact.
Park foremen and crews drive trucks on loop smoking cigarettes next to runners and walkers. It’s dumb and it looks bad. The bathroom needs a new roof. The high volume bathrooms have drains that need chemical baths to remove that old urine smell. It can be done – it should be done. Typically the bathrooms are very clean, but the drains are foul.