I’ve been watching the recent addition of signs and ramps that are the Jones Falls Trail (JFT) between Pratt and the Fallsway cycletrack; the route wasn’t clear to me before.
There will be criticism from serious cyclists when they realize that the trail is “just” signs directing us to ride on the sidewalk. I think those criticisms will be misguided. Yes, we could all come up with a better design if we had infinite money to spend, but I think it will be pretty cool that someone in Mt. Washington could ride with their kids to the Science Center and never have to ride in the street (with the exception of a couple quiet blocks in Clipper Mill). The sidewalks on the west side of Fallsway are wide and get little pedestrian traffic, so treating the sidewalk there as a multi-use path really shouldn’t be a problem for a slow, family-type cyclist; the same is true for Mt. Royal, St. Paul and Lanvale. Market Place could be a crowded mess, but it’s not very long.
I think the key is that the sidewalk sections of the JFT will be for people who are more comfortable sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians than they are sharing the road with cars; in other words, most people. For the rest of us, instead of condemning the JFT, we can ride in the street on the Fallsway going north to the cycletrack, then take Guilford and Lafayette instead of Mt. Royal and St. Paul. Going southbound, anti-sidewalkists could take Lanvale and then Guilford/South.
I think it’s kind of ridiculous that the people who are most adamant that car drivers should share the road with us and give us plenty of room and not be upset when their cars have to slow down and wait until it’s safe to pass, also get angry when they have to share a multi-use path (like the Inner Harbor section of the JFT) with pedestrians.