Coalition Alternative Misrepresented in Alternative #6

The Draft EA misrepresents the Coalition Alternative recommended to the Victor Town Board in  March 2010. Alternative #6 is presented as a “similar” alternative, but significantly changes the intent of the Coalition alternative.

The most significant misrepresentation is that Alternative #6 in the draft EA does not include a walking or slow zone for young or inexperienced bicyclists.

This alternative satisfactorily addresses concerns raised in the Coalition comments.  It 1) protects the sensitive environmental area, including the known rare and threatened species;  2) addresses the human impact and the safety of users, including elderly ones, 3) assures that no users will be displaced from the trail which they have used for years,  due to their ongoing concerns about safety and environmental impact 4) and it responds to the voluminous public input that has voiced strong concerns about environmental and human impacts, and has asked to maintain a narrow trail and an intact linear meadow in the sensitive environmental area.

Justifications for Coalition Alternative Include:

  1. Low Bicycle Use is expected - per the Environmental Assessment.
  2. The primary users of the Extension trail are pedestrians, not bicyclists. 
  3. Many users are elderly who use it for passive recreation, and have expressed valid safety concerns if the existing trail is converted to the proposed bikeway. FHWA recognizes the potential for conflicts between users groups and allows for alternative pathways. This alternative addresses that potential conflict and safety issues. 
  4. A walking zone along a 29% grade was approved in the first Auburn Trail project (PIN 4760.17) using similar TEP funds. That demonstrates the discretion that exists in these projects. Walking zones also occur along the Genesee Riverway Trail at Charlotte, City of Rochester, and the Canal Path at Schoen Place. Given the extraordinary controversy, a slow or walking zone deserves full consideration. 
  5. Any bicyclist may walk the berm trail, instead of riding the road. Alternately a slow-speed bicycling zone should be considered. A slow-speed zone on a narrow trail is safe for all users. It provides for true shared use. It allows for the current users of the trail to continue safely using the trail for passive nature recreation, while also providing for safe, slow, cycling. 
  6. A 3 foot path is ADA compliant. 
  7. Experienced cyclists may choose to detour along the road on Railroad Mills and Fishers Road, as many do now. 
  8. User groups will continue to safely share the trail, as they currently do. The draft EA indicates that there are no current safety concerns related to conflicts with existing users. 
  9. A 3 foot path with a 3.5 foot clear zone of meadow will have an inherent traffic calming effect, slowing bicyclists, protecting walkers and any creatures in the trail. 
  10. No exception is necessary from guidance for a clear zone. It provides ample clear zone before reaching the steep slopes on either side.