Taking shortcuts can lead to hidden dangers

I came across an interesting article this morning via Bike-PGH on the topic of "paper streets" -- streets that were planned out on paper, but were never actually built, or fully realized. When is a street not a street? | PublicSource by Emily DeMarco.

An adult bike shows the size and scale of the sinkhole. Photo credit: Emily DeMarco
As DeMarco explains in the article, these abandoned roadways are often attractive as a shortcut -- especially when the surrounding streets can be very dangerous -- but they can also pose hazards of their own. From the article:
In Pittsburgh’s late summer, Charles Carthorn and his son, Chuckie, rode their bikes over a favorite shortcut, a path sandwiched between the former Reizenstein Middle School and The Ellis School.
“We commute here by bike every day to football practice,” said Charles Carthorn, 42. “And this is our little shortcut.” 
But he worried that 12-year-old Chuckie might be tempted to jump over a five-foot wide sinkhole on the path that looks as if it would gobble up about one-third of an adult bike.
Living in North-East Pennsylvania, you grow accustomed to hearing about sinkholes. Whether due to collapsed mining shafts or water runoff from the mountainous areas eroding the land and flowing through underground waterways, sinkholes can be a big problem. Fortunately, I haven't encountered too many on the various back roads I like to take, but it's still something to be aware of.


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