A proposal by the Jefferson County staff to implement a part of the 2012 Bike and Ped plan elicited an interesting discussion by our County Commissioners recently.
The proposal from Transportation and Engineering staff was to change one lane in each direction of the six lane West Bowles Avenue between Zang Street (near C-470) and Wadsworth Boulevard into a bicycles only lane. This would provide a safe East-West bicycle route between Southwest Plaza and C-470. According to staff, the remaining four lanes would have the capacity to handle the current motorized traffic volumes on West Bowles Avenue.
The County staff are to be congratulated for introducing a proposal that would start to bring our suburban county roads up to a bicycle friendly standard long enjoyed by many City managed roads within the County, though still leaving us behind the City of Denver.
Though one Commissioner (Comm. Tighe) was in favor of the proposal, there was skepticism from the other two Board members. Comments ranged from doubting the need for such a facility to the lack of cyclists’ financial contribution to the road system. While I don’t want to bore you, dear reader, with the counter arguments, the issue still being discussed.
The County has agreed to conduct public meetings to gauge support for the project. This is the first of a number of similar projects proposed for other main routes such as Quincy Avenue and Kipling Boulevard/Street. Hence, it is important that the correct policy be set from the outset. When the details of these meetings are known, I will distribute them and ask you to attend.
We will discuss a Bike Jeffco plan of action at our October meeting.
At the September Bike Jeffco meeting, when CDOT graced us with their presence, the issue was brought up regarding riding bicycles on freeways. This is permitted by State Law when there is no alternative route available. Examples of permitted use are on I-70 between Genesee and El Rancho (an alternative bikeway is coming) and between Idaho Springs and Fall River Road (leading to St. Mary’s Glacier). Apparently, a number of cyclists have received warnings about riding along this stretch due to misunderstandings by local law enforcement officers. If you are one of these cyclists, or know someone who is, please let me know the details. Bike Jeffco is working with CDOT to add signage that states ‘Bicycles OK’ at the relevant on ramps.
Our special guest this month will be Ted Heyd, Regional Policy Director of Bicycle Colorado. He’ll brief us on what’s happening at the State level as well as discuss how we can work better at the local level with both Bicycle Colorado and other advocacy groups.
The next meeting will be held Tuesday October 8th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, rooms 1566/1567 at the Jefferson Administration Building in Golden, (a.k.a. the ‘Taj’).