The path follows the course of a former rail line. It is not boring and straight, there are a number of gentle hills and the trail winds it way through a varied landscape that is always interesting. There are farms, some industry, and some backyards. And lakes, and beaches.
We started from the Harwich Centre end of the route (south-western end). The first few blocks went through an industrial area dating back to the railway era. Note, however, the landscaping on the left in the photo below, as we approach the first road crossing:
The road crossings were always very well marked and only two caused a slight bit of anxiety until such time as we figured out the best angle to cross and where we were going. For example, the crossing shown below used to have the tracks crossing at an oblique angle; when the bike trail was put in the crossing was squared off. Motorists were unfailing in yielding to cyclists with courtesy.
One reason motorists were so polite — in addition to just being friendly Americans — were signs like this, reminding motorists state law requires them to stop for pedestrians (and cyclists…):
There were a few crossings where the road-to-trail sightlines were poor. I imagine these were hazardous in the rail age too. For several of those crossings, high technology was brought to bear:
Yes, you see it right. Stop lines for road traffic. Stop lines for cyclists. And radar controlled flashing warning lights that detected approaching cyclists and flashed to oblige motorists to yield the right of way. Here is the motorist’s view, with solar-powered lighting up of signage, radar, and LED flashers:
There was additional signage at many intersections reminding motorists it was obligatory under state law to yield to pedestrians. Technically, cyclists were supposed to dismount at every crossing, but no one did. Every cyclist I saw — including kids cycling home from high school — slowed at the crossings and displayed courtesy.
Would something like this be worthwhile at Gladstone and the OTrain pathway?
There were a number of crossings of major roads or freeways. New bridges were constructed for these. Below is the long slope up to a overpass:
The view from the better route:
And in other locations, simple culvert underpasses kept the bike trail safe and scenic:
In a couple of cases, the sight line through the tunnel was not as perfect as this one, but all felt safe. Some of that subjective safety is probably a rub-off from all the other safe features, and from the shortness of the underpasses.
more tomorrow …