As a frequent user of MLK drive both cycling and by car I have found the
closure to result in very light usage by bicycles, bladers, etc. Besides
the closures not well publicized there is no parking available for people
who might want to use the closed roads and have to drive into the area with
bikes or skates. I'm thinking especially of parents teaching children to
ride bikes safely away from typical street traffic. Its tough to have a
child push a bike or use training wheels to get to the closed drive.
Likewise, there is no parking for handicap access. The closest parking is
up the hill on Black Road or Montgomery or across the Falls Bridge on Kelly
Drive--hardly accessible for children and the handicapped.
I would favor a smaller section of the road closed for weekend usage from
Black Road or Montgomery Drive in exchange for biking lanes the entire
length of MLK Drive for non-rush hour usage 7 days a week. The park should
also deal with the existing bike path crossing the river right by the art
museum on MLK drive. It is very tight and impossible for opposite bike
traffic to cross the bridge on the sidewalk, especially if there are
pedestrians etc. As you are not supposed to have your bike on the road
during rush hour leaving town, what is expected? My thoughts anyway.
The Fairmount Park Commission will consider eliminating some, or all, of
the MLK (formerly West River) Drive weekend closures at its October 12th
meeting. The Bicycle Coalition will be responding with a statement in favor
of the closures and getting as many people and organizations to sign on as
we can. If you would like to help with the campaign, especially with
outreach to community organizations and trail users, please contact me.