Sunday, October 4, 2009

Biking the 16th Street Mall: access to usually restricted areas

Today is Sunday.

In many ways, Sunday is kind of a tough day. Certain shops are closed, like Chick-Fil-A and 20th Street Cafe. Also, I live next to a huge Baptist church, and so there's no parking available next to my house on Sundays.

In fact on Sunday, you're kind of restricted in terms of stuff you can do. Wherein lies the appeal of doing something that can only be done on Sundays.

Such as taking advantage of "Big Four" Rule #4.

Six times out of seven, if you ride your bike on the 16th Street Mall, you'll get a citation. But on Sundays, it's fair game.

And that's really the only appeal: getting to do something you don't usually get to do.

Because it's not a terribly pleasant ride. Almost every intersection is a traffic light, and during my ride this afternoon—during which I rode from one end to the other and back again—I got stopped at nearly every light.

And it sucks to get stuck behind one of the buses.

And you must contend with the mental kung-fu that makes it such a great pedestrian mall: there's so much continuity between the sidewalk, the road, and the crosswalks, that it's possible to almost sail straight through an intersection without realizing it!

Other than that, though, it's neat scenery that you otherwise don't get to enjoy from atop a bicycle. Lots of public artwork to enjoy, people playing chess at the games tables in the median, shops that I always forget about between trips to the mall. You can detour down Skyline Park in the middle, or through Commons Park at the north end. On the other side of the north end is swanky Lower Highlands, where you can make a hard to beat one-two stop at Salvagetti and My Brothers Bar.

So I guess upon reflection that it's not that unpleasant a ride, as long as you know what you're getting into.


16th Street Mall, I'll be seeing you again next Sunday!

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