Low-stress route choice

I decided to quit public advocacy for a while (time TBD), but one of the things I decided is that I’m going to keep writing stuff here if I feel like it, just focusing on my personal experiences and not trying to get attention for them. I can’t turn off my advocacy brain so I might as well write stuff down and see if any of it turns out to be useful.

I was riding home today from 20th and Burnside. When I used to ride from there I would just take 20th, because I live off 15th just north of Broadway, and 20th is fast and direct. But I got tired of people being assholes on 20th. It’s stressful and my goal right now is to ride my bike and try to enjoy it. So I started diverting. First I diverted from 20th between Burnside and Irving: now I take 22nd to Glisan/Sandy, then cross there either in the western crosswalk or at the light (depends how much traffic is on Glisan — if there’s a fair amount it’s easier to glide up the sidewalk and press the button). At first I took 22nd to Irving and then turned left, following that route back north (Irving is the natural choice of where to get off 21st when coming south). Now I’ve added additional diversion and take 22nd north. I can take it all the way to Pacific and then turn left and then right to come right out on the bridge, where the bike lane is. This not only bypasses the segment from Irving to Pacific that has no bike lane and then the awkward curve in the bike lane, it prevents having to divert to 20th and then end up back on 21st. (The specific path through here isn’t that important, but 22nd also avoids the dairy trucks better.)

No options until you get to Multnomah. You can turn left there, but it’s a difficult merge and there’s a lot of waiting traffic so generally I had been going up 21st to Hancock or Tillamook, which is the obvious thing to do. Today I realized that I could actually merge with traffic and then turn left at Clackamas (roughly where parking usually starts). Then it’s an easy jet up 16th. Very relaxing comparatively.

My behavior is interesting to me because it relates to a post I wrote previously called What if your design rider is wrong? As I mentioned, I used to ride on 20th; riding on the direct and fast route is definitely my preference absent other factors. But now here I am, constructing a mildly circuitous route (it really only adds a block to the distance, but it’s much more complex) so that I can relax and enjoy riding my bike. But does that mean that I prefer to ride on side streets? I don’t think it does. It means that I prefer not to be stressed (wow, there’s a surprising preference for you). I’m not a design rider, but neither is anyone else, really. We all just have a certain weight we place on various values in the transportation world, and mine have shifted substantially toward avoiding stress.

Reasons for that in another post, maybe.

Leave a Reply

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required.