Monday, January 01, 2007

Tapawingo Extension Done Early - But Has a Problem

I read this article today in the Journal & Courier about the new road being built in West Lafayette's Levee area. The Tapawingo Extension will connect State Street at the foot of the Leslie Bridge with South River Road at Williams Street. The article explains how this is part of the Purdue University master development plan to route cars around the edges of the campus and not through the middle of it (and that's a good thing). When another project to the SW is finished, it is my theory that this new 2 block section will carry SR 26.

What caught my attention is two things is separate paragraphs. First, they plan to build a trail on the north side. Now, I don't know what kind of trail it will be, but there is another bike trail in the area, and this new one would be well used if it hooked up to the Wabash River Heritage Trail.

Further down the page, I read that the north side is zoned 'general business' and ready for development. I'm expecting gas stations, drive thru eateries, and the like.

So, we'll have a trail on the north side, and driveways on the north side. I've read many places that paths and driveways combine to present a very high danger for cyclists and pedestrians. Why not just build a sidewalk instead?

The River Road/State Street/Levee area is a big barrier for the less confident cyclists (most of them). Although there is a nice pedestrian bridge, a bike trail (that unfortunately floods when the river is high), an outdoor mall, and all of Lafayette on the east side, it is difficult to get there unless one is willing to take a lane and take a chance. An uninterrupted trail along the new road would be a great connector between campus and the city, but the layout described today invites accidents and will not help the squeamish get out of their neighborhoods.

I'm hoping that there is a mis-print, and that the trail is actually on the south side. We'll see what's in place next June when it opens.


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