Road Shoulders

The below side-by-side graphs compare shoulder usage for recreational activities versus commuters.

The graph on the left illustrates recreational shoulder use – 72% of respondents use shoulders for walking, followed by 50% biking, and 19% who don’t use shoulder for recreational purposes. Only 18% are runners. The graph on the right shows that 51% of contributors do not use shoulders for commuting, 33.7% use shoulders to walk their commute, followed closely by 31% of folks biking for travel.

Respondent Recreational vs Commuter / Travel Use

When asked what they would like to see the County prioritize in terms of shoulder improvements, 33% of respondents wanted enhanced shoulders / wider roads, 32% preferred both widened shoulders AND separated paths, and 21% wanted separated, paved trails.

8% wanted neither widened roads nor separated trails, and 6% specified other priorities or reasoning.

Respondent Shoulder Priorities

When looking wholistically at the data, 86% of respondents identified the desire for some type of improvement while only 8% want no improvements made.

The graph below shows that 80% of respondents think non-motorized transportation corridors are a good use of County Road Funds. Support for non-motorized transportation corridors is clear. What’s less clear is respondent preferences of widened shoulders versus separated paths. We do know that people want safe opportunities to recreate, travel, and commute.

Respondent Funding Priorities

When respondents were asked to explain the reasons for their priorities, these were some of the more telling anecdotes:

  • Those in favor of separated trails believe it is the “safest option” offering distance and protection from “distracted drivers.” They also believe that widening the shoulders will only entice cars to drive faster and detract from the rural character of the roads. The idea of creating highways doesn’t add any real value to pedestrian and biker safety.
  • Those in favor of widened shoulders believe that more can be accomplished by widening the road, rather than creating a new path. It's seen as the more financially viable option. Respondents also see the hurdles of property owners and limited right-of-ways as deterrents to separated paths. They also shared concerns of a greater environmental impact.
  • Those in favor of neither widened shoulders nor separated paths believe in the importance of preserving trees and maintaining what we have. They express safety concerns regarding bikes in general and feel biking will never be safe in the islands. They also want to protect private property.
  • Those who answered ‘other’ or were more abstract in their responses believe that a mixture of approaches is best and agreed that encouraging multi-modal travel is helpful to the environment and promotes safe transportation and better health.
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