Monday, November 5, 2012

Quality connection to Csepel

Here's downtown Csepel, aka District XXI, a community of more than 80,000 on the north end of Csepel Island.

Today, I did a bike-nerd thing: I went out to inspect a new piece of local cycling infrastructure. The 'infra' in question is a 2.9 km path running from the village center of Csepel to the northern tip of Csepel Island and then across Kvassay Bridge to southern Pest not far from the Rakoczi Bridge. Here's a map.
In the heart of Csepel, you'll find some attractive, Socialist-era housing estates with generous allotments
of green space and playgrounds and here, a bike path with connections to the town centre.
More characteristic are these much larger residential buildings.
Lots of green space, but these big buildings make for a heavy population density.
I'm glad I took the trip. This is a fine addition to the choice of day trips to quieter and greener places outside of downtown. And the quality of the path itself beats anything else I've seen in Budapest. Everything is done beautifully: Curb cuts and rail crossings are smooth as butter, a nice beveled concrete curb separates the sidewalk and the bike path, bright red and yellow paint highlights the crossings of all intersections and driveways, and the directional signs make finding your way a breeze.

Time will tell, the materials look good and the execution is top notch. It's a pleasure to ride on.
The rails on this level crossing are tucked away under a flat-as-a-pancake deck with a hard rubber surface.
State of the art stuff.
It's all a separate two-way path running on one side of the street -- Szabadkikötő út. In principle, 'best practice' in an urban setting would be to have one-way paths or lanes on both sides of the street. However, I was happy just to be on a separated path. Szabadkikötő út is a busy four-lane motor route and the traffic seemed to be moving well over the posted speed limit of 70 km/hr.

Although it makes for a nice pleasure ride, this path was built for commuting. It's one of six new paths built during the last year to connect outlying residential areas to the city centre. I'm curious how much traffic the path gets during a typical workday rush hour.

The few criticisms I'd have are the odd placement of bike racks, including these in the picture below. There was no store, transport stop or anything nearby that would merit a stop at this location. Either something is planned to built here, or these racks are just a waste of resources.

You can chain your bike up here -- if that's what you're into.
The other is the comparatively poor directional signage on the previously existing connecting path to Rakoczi Bridge. The new path is so good, it makes the rest of the network look bad.

The Kvassay Bridge
From here, there's no indication this underpass is for cyclists as well as for pedestrians -- no sign, no yellow markings next to the zebra. But you must go through this underpass to get from Rakoczi Bridge to the new Csepel bike path.
Here's a path toward Rakoczi Bridge, but it ends before it gets anywhere. Curiously, a sign indicates
the Eurovelo 6 route lies beyond the dead end. 

1 comment:

Bicycle Parts Supplier said...

Awesome bike locations or paths you have there! Hope to see more of your bike rides to those routes or to other destinations soon.