Sunday, March 29, 2009

Underpass vs. Overpass

I'm sure everyone recognizes this photo. It's of the Pomona Train station. This is also the location of the Garey Ave. underpass.

See, here in Pomona we have Underpasses. Overpasses aren't as popular. We've got three underpasses that dip down under the rails. A lot of excavation must have taken place to get the road carved down under an existing rail line. Residents used to have to just sit and wait for the train to cross in order to get to the other side of the tracks.

But today, I rode my bike to Montclair. Overpasses are all the rage in that city. Over the same rail the road is lifted up over the train instead of sent under.

I never really paid much attention to the differences when walking or driving. But riding a bike? There is a HUGE difference. While in a car one doesn't use much energy, it's all in the foot and gas pedal. While walking it doesn't really matter what you do first, go down or go up, the same amount of energy is generally used.

But on a BIKE? Pomona? Thank you for those underpasses! With an underpass you could use the bikes momentum going down for most of the energy coming back up. Less energy is used in pedaling in order to get back up the hill.

"But Andrew, don't you gain some of that energy back when going down after an overpass?" Well, sometimes you do but that's only of you're lucky. You're most likely going to hit a traffic light or a stop sign right after that overpass (underpass included) So all that momentum you've gained after the overpass is lost 'cause you've got to stop.

If you're familiar with how roller coasters work it's basically the same concept. But on the streets you have to stop, so would you rather have that momentum before or after going up hill?

Underpasses win, at least when it comes to bicycling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pomona has 4, maybe 5 underpasses now. Not sure if East End Ave. has been finished.