Sunday, July 31, 2011

Submarine cycling

Here's a local cycling underpass as it appeared Friday afternoon (July 29). This tunnel lies on the bike path between Békásmegyer and Szentendre on the west side of Route 11. It's been flooded to varying degrees since the middle of the month, when summer apparently decided to clock out early and leave us under overcast skies and a drizzly cold front that seems to have no back end.

This underpass was created 8-9 years ago, when a Cora "hipermarket" opened in Budakalász. To give convenient access for potential customers to the east, they built a huge interchange that brings traffic right under Route 11, over the bike path and into the store's massive parking lot.

At the time, I was pleasantly surprised that they'd forked over for such elaborate infrastructure to maintain the continuity of the mere bike path. But time has shown that the net effect for cyclists has been for the worse. The underpass is a metre or two below grade -- often below the water table as things have turned out.

It's a rough guess, but I bet that at least 20 percent of the time there's at least 15 cm of water under there. At that depth, you can ride slowly through the tunnel, and even keep your feet dry if you're very careful. But during rainy stretches like we've had, it's too deep to cross. So you have to take a detour through the parking lot, around a McDonalds, and across some beaten down dirt paths created by the significant bike traffic that the situation has created.

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