Talk me out of a second car!

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Ponderosa
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Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Ponderosa » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:47 am

Greetings. This is my first post here, although I am a long time lurker. I've joined because I'd like to engage the community here and perhaps start a journal.

Anyways, I'd like your input on my transportation options. The past 4 years my wife and I have shared a car and we have reaped the benefits of the lower expenses. Since her work is always been further than mine, I've been biking. Our vehicle is about 7 years old and perfect mechanical shape. We expect many years before we need to replace it.

My biking route to work up to this point has been serene. It is an easy 3 mile ride through quiet suburbs and forest. I have never once felt at risk on this route. Recently a new investor has bought the lot that was previously owned by the city. This lot has been used as a pass through for this forest for decades and now will be blocked off due to the investor building a house. There are now signs saying that no more traffic will be allowed through this area.

This leaves me with a few options for transport.

1. Direct Route - Mostly good, with bike lanes and low traffic. The problem is the last stretch is over a one lane highway overpass with no bike lanes. This bridge is 40 mph and you frequently get passed closely by traffic. It makes me a little nervous, but I know of several bike commuters who do it year round. One idea my wife had last night was I could change my working hours and bike in non rush hours. My work gives me almost absolute autonomy so the working hours isn't a factor.
2. Scenic route - Not practical for everyday, but doable occasionally. Long winding dirt roads that would turn bike commute from 10 - 15 mins to about 40-1hr.
3. Carpool. We have been using this option lately. Downside is it adds 20-30 mins for the one driving the car that drives that day.
4. Another car. Seems expensive and silly for the 3-4 days I'd need it a week. The advantage to this option is my dog would love to see me on lunch hour. The other factor to consider is my apartment complex has shit parking. It usually fills up by the end of the night. This could open up more living options in the future but I am reluctant to spend money on another car given our ER goals.

Moving is not being seriously considered right now due to more than a year left on lease. In the future we might move closer to her work since there is more living options there and she could easily bike or walk to work given the excellent bike infrastructure on that side of the town. We should move anyway because our rent is easily our weakness in our savings plan.

I've been meaning to get a new commuter bike anyways, as a heavy ass mountain bike with manhole covers for wheels makes for a sluggish day to day grind. I really hate biking that thing everyday. This way I could zip to work over that bridge before a car has a chance to overtake me. An electric bike has been seriously discussed too, although I like the idea of powering myself.

This is a bit of rambling post, but I hope you get the idea. Let me know what you think and I hope to avoid option #4.

jacob
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by jacob » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:55 am

I studiously avoid overpasses. My general rule is that if the over- or underpass can't be walked, I won't bike it either. If it was me, I'd take the scenic route and think of it as cycling training.

There are many (maybe most?) bike commuters that are more suicidal than me but even if you see cyclists there, it doesn't mean that nobody gets hit [on a regular basis]. If you talk to other cyclists doing the same route, they might know or have heard about someone getting clobbered. Or they might not.

Ponderosa
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Ponderosa » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:37 am

The overpass cannot be walked, unless you are insane. The scenic route is incredible, although it's impassable in winter.

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Astra
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Astra » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:11 pm

Trying to think outside the box here...

... is there any chance to talk to this investor or his people? I get that he does not allow traffic, but maybe if you explain the situation and you are only passing through on bike, they can make an exception. When I was a child, I had part of my school way go through a private land. But we talked to the owner and it was ok!

... try to find an alternative to the dangerous overpass. Maybe Google maps or a regular can show some options you haven't thought of yet. Explore the neighbourhood. With a bike more routes become possible (through paths, parks or residential areas)

... plan some more time for your commute and take the scenic route in summer, carpool in winter.

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Fish
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Fish » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:16 pm

Astra wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:11 pm
... try to find an alternative to the dangerous overpass.
Strava heat map is good for this: https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#7.00/- ... 00/hot/all

phil
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by phil » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:31 am

In a situation like this I would normally just test the waters and see how serious the road signs are to be taken. Maybe the building won't start for a long time. Or the owner really doesn't care about a single cyclist.

But then you are in the USA with your laws about gun ownership and trespassing... meh.

Farm_or
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Farm_or » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:18 am

Would a moped be a good compromise?

Sounds more like you need to shop for a better location.

Ponderosa
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Ponderosa » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:32 pm

phil wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:31 am
In a situation like this I would normally just test the waters and see how serious the road signs are to be taken. Maybe the building won't start for a long time. Or the owner really doesn't care about a single cyclist.

But then you are in the USA with your laws about gun ownership and trespassing... meh.
This is actually what I've been doing up to this time. Recent evidence of a builder activity has given rise to this post. I just got the investor's phone number so I'm going to see what he has to say.
Farm_or wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:18 am
Would a moped be a good compromise?

Sounds more like you need to shop for a better location.
Moped could work, if I found parking in my apartment for it. This will work most months, with the exception of a period of time in the winter where we experience heavy snows (shouldn't be driving in this though, anyway).

My apartment location is good for most employers as it is close to bus routes, bike lanes, and walking paths. My current employer's location is the problem as it is at the very edge of the town with crap infrastructure for anything but a car to commute to. When it comes down to it your comment is spot on as we can solve this problem the other way by moving close to my wife's work. Then carpooling would be more efficient and we wouldn't have to drive opposite directions. When the lease expires in 2019 it will be something we seriously consider.

Ponderosa
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Ponderosa » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:14 pm

Problem solved.

I talked to the investor about the situation. Real nice guy actually. The route will remain open for another 6 months until building starts. After that he will let me venture through his property (which is not out of the way).

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Astra
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Re: Talk me out of a second car!

Post by Astra » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:40 am

Awesome!
I'm glad it worked out. Sometimes all you gotta do is ask ;)

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