So I was riding my bike down a new road. East 25th Avenue is very wide and pleasant to ride on, and it is home to KJ's Coffee Bar, which is itself the reason that I was on this new road.
What caught my eye were two "Bike Route" signs on either side of Downing.
The reason I made such careful note of these signs is that we (Ladyfriend and myself) got stuck at a prejudiced red light, and I lamented aloud, "This here is a red light that won't change for bicycles, and it's on a designated bike route!"
And as the words were leaving my lips, it occurred to me that 25th is not a designated bike route on any of my maps.
I boggled at that, ran the red light, and continued running my errands. But I kept that in the back of my mind all morning.
Later, after I got back home, I opened up the city bike map (updated 11/21/2003 -- can't wait for the new one, but that's a different story), and sure enough, 25th is not a bike route.
When I zoomed in, though, I saw what I assumed to be railroad tracks running along 25th.
There sure aren't any tracks along that road. The legend, though, clarified the issue.
Neighborhood bike route.
I don't even know what that means.
Obviously then, there is a difference between "grid bike routes", i.e., the ones I have plotted in my google map, and "neighborhood bike routes."
Neighborhood bike routes obviously don't stretch from one end of the city to the other like the grid routes do. They are short routes that either connect grid routes or skirt around within a graticule.
That's my definition. A more official one doesn't seem to exist. The phrase "neighborhood bike route" appears zero times in the Denver Bicycle Master Plan Update 2001 posted on denvergov.org.
I had never noticed these short routes on the map before. Or if I had, I didn't pay them any attention.
But now I'm aware of them, and I'm going to have to incorporate their existence into my ranking system for the PABST project.
Today, while riding on 25th, I was definitely on a designated bike route, and I was stopped by a light that definitely didn't acknowledge bicycles. And that's definitely a problem.
But how big of one?