Commuter Rant

So I’m on my way from work to the San Diego train station to catch the train towards home. I ride my (gulp) road bike only about four miles or so to the station. Part of that route includes the extremely wide concrete pathway between the trolley and train tracks by the downtown convention center. This thing must be 25-30 feet wide. So I’m cruising along and these three freaking double-wide heefers are walking side-by-side and completely taking up the entire path. Now after I politely prompt them to let me by, they do but  I was already in irritated mode by now. It seems that Americans will almost always walk side-by-side if given a chance. This includes our trails. If a trail is debrushed or swayco’d out to a doubletrack it is extremely hard for a moderatedly well-used trail to get back to singletrack as the casual American hiker will pull up along alongside their hiking partner. The Way Up trail at Elfin Forest is a good example of this. The trail was debrushed and widened to stablize the trail a few years back and it has never gotten back close to single track due to side-by-side hikers. You do not see this in Japan. While over there for the better part of 2004 I got to see how these folks hike single file. You know what? Their trails are much more narrow on average for the same general user density. I feel safe in saying nearly all of the “local” trails see at least three times the traffic that you average close to San Diego trail sees.
My point? I don’t know, maybe we should do less agressive debrushing but do it more often. We should refrain fron widening trails as part of maintenance unless there is no other option. Doing these actions will only encourage the side-by-side hiker crowds to stroll along and prevent our once single tracks from recovering.

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