Archive for September, 2014

Brushy Mtn Tunnel Ponds

Background: The east pond at the Brushy Mtn tunnel on the Silver Comet Trail is critical to keeping the tunnel dry and more importantly, mud out of the tunnel. If the east pond fills, everything drains to the tunnel. Late spring Jim I removed what sludge we could with his tractor. That effort has resulted in a dry tunnel, but it wouldn’t last long.

For several months (actually longer) I’ve been trying to find county resources or donated services for an excavator to clean out the retention pond at the east end of the Brushy Mtn tunnel. I had about given up. I mentioned on a facebook post that Jim and I do most of the work cleaning the trail. Hearing this, one of our riders, Joe Crane asked if he could help. Joe has a large backhoe and he volunteered to help at the tunnel.
Recent dry weather had left the ponds as dry as they were going to be. We were able to get everything together this Saturday. We put in a very long day, Joe running the backhoe and digging, then dumping into Jim’s tractor bucket and hauled off. Me I got to do all the labor of using a hoe to pull the load into the bucket and distributing evenly; removing the excess so it didn’t slop-down onto the trail when Jim hauled it off. While Jim was transporting I was shoveling and cleaning the mess that didn’t make the bucket. It was a tough day for me, I was beat.
Good news is, we got it done. We cleaned out both ponds and replaced the large barrier rocks at the east pond. So what was a favorite of many riders, to stop at the pond on the west end of the tunnel has now been restored. By the end of the day Saturday the steady flow of ground water had nearly filled the west pond.

A huge Thank You to Joe Crane and Jim Brannon. Joe running his backhoe and Jim doing all the hauling with his tractor. We were able to clear both ponds at the Brushy Mtn tunnel. They worked hard and made a difference.

Note: click images for larger view.

Loading the bucket on Jim's tractor.

Joe running the backhoe, Jim in the tractor.

East pond after clean-up, pooling water.

West pond after clean-out, nearly full.

Trail Road Crossing Safety

This was a response to Scott on the atlbike.org forums: http://atlbike.org/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=57489#57489

I think the primary key to safe intersections is visibility.
I’ve done a significant amount of work to try and improve the safety of the intersections we use frequently. With fairly dramatic results.
http://atlbike.org/blog/20140728/trail-road-intersections-trimming-july-2014-part-1/

Most of us try to slow to a safe speed and look for cars; we are using your “rolling” method.
Also, I don’t like to make cars stop, if I don’t have too. So, I will usually wait for traffic to clear, rather than pushing a button.
Having said that, the intersection that seems to work the best (IMO) is the ONLY trail intersection with a vehicle STOP. That is in Hiram intersection on Depot Rd (the caboose).
The relatively new crossing lights at Rosedale Rd is a good re-design of an inherited design problem. These flashing lights are VERY effective.

Sadly, many riders seem to like the roll of the dice and shoot through intersections.
Forrest and I track the incidents we’ve seen: Vehicles:6, Triathletes:0
Again, sadly for some reason, it appears that bikes equipped with aerobars are the problem ( it couldn’t be the rider, right? ).
The exception, now is the bike ridden by Mr Perkins, it was a standard drop bar road bike ( one reason I wanted to see a picture of the bike ).
The stat is now, sadly: Vehicles:7, cyclists:0. Morbid as some may find this, it is the reality of our situation as cyclists. We never win, we strive to break-even in the world of bike vs. vehicles.

My thoughts:
1) a reduced signed/posted vehicle speed limit at all trail crossings ( like a school zone ).
2) a vehicle STOP or light (like Rosedale) at ALL trail crossing where visibility or vehicle speed can’t be effectively managed.
3) Bike speed zones at trail heads and crossings.
4) Special hazardous zone markings painted ON the trail where appropriate.
5) a safety assessment for each crossing and visibility improvement projects where required.

Using the old reliable 80/20 rule, these actions will likely fix 80% of the incidents related to road crossings, also hopefully reducing the severity of accidents that do occur. Of course people are creative and some will view this as an enhanced opportunity to blow-thru intersections. Some folks just aren’t wired right, that can’t be helped, ticketing and peer pressure can be an effective cure within the posted and marked areas.

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