Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bicycle Commute Challenge Day 16 - Use a Golf Course for Bike Paths, maybe Cyclocross

I was biking through Olympic Park and the nearby golf course tonight in Montreal.

The City has done a good job of making good use of the golf course beyond chasing a little white ball throughout the course. On the golf course cart paths, there was a little yellow stripe, which coverted the singular use facility to one that could be used by cyclists, rollerbladers, anyone. There is an adjacent path for walking, similar to what you would see in rural conditions in Europe.

Golf courses are nice amenities to the community, but they are underutilized in the winter time. Wouldn't this be a perfect time to use them as cycling facilities, specifically for cyclocross?

I started thinking a bit about the economics of this and how much golf courses cost to maintain and how you might make the transition to a more multiuse facility. This got me thinking that why wouldn't the City of Portland rent them out in November and December taking care not to disturb the conditions of the facilities, but also finding a way to create paths that are used by the community.

In fact, I didn't see any golfers out there at 6 PM, presumably because it was getting a little dark and that wouldn't have been the best time to start a round. There were a wide variety of users, fitness classes (several different boot camps), Tai Chi, cycling clubs, and rollerbladers. At first, I wondered about the risk of the golf balls, but that seems fairly remote in a lot of ways.
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