Coffee Talk Tuesday - From the other side

Coffee talk Tuesday returns this week with a view point from the other side of the fence. Recently I received the below email not long after the TT race in Boulder (Haystack TT). I emailed back to the person and they are interested in hearing the cyclists point of view on this. There are probably a few points that might get some fired up but lets try to be diplomatic in your responses. Tuesday Coffee Talk allows all of use to engage in community related topics and share your 2 cents worth


Greetings. I live just off Neva Road in Boulder, about 1.5 miles east of route 36. Our road is very popular for bicyclists, and many races and events are held on Neva throughout the summer. I am quite happy to share the road for these events, but I would like to know when they are. Once in a while we are sent a notice by mail, but most of the time a board announcing the event is placed on the highway - but the letters are too small to read while going by at 60 mph, so the notices are useless. If the notices were posted along Neva, I could at least pull over and read the signs. By the way, I have lived in that neighborhood for 10 years. The number of cyclists on 36 and Neva has multiplied by a factor of at least 10, if not more. Sometimes road conditions are quite dangerous for both cyclists & drivers, especially in the summer with visitors driving north who are unused to sharing the road. I believe that Boulder cyclists deserve a well-designed bike path - not just a lane - for the rides north into the mountains. But until that arrives, we all need to work together as a community to insure our mutual safety and enjoyment. Thank you.

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10 Comments

I agree that they should know

I agree that they should know when events are happening. A lot of the pre-race signage is way to small. You might be able to read if you where walking.

Calendar - Boulder County needs to get an automated calendar when applications come in. If Laramie County can do it, then Boulder should be able to. Boulder County has the most complex permitting, getting on a share calendar should be easy.

Luckily Neva Rd. is on the list to get a shoulder/bike lane. I'm not sure when but I think this year or next.

Neva Road Constuction.

http://www.bouldercounty.org/roads/plans/pages/nevaniwot.aspx

The Neva/Niwot shoulder project is planned to reconstruct Neva Road and Niwot road between U.S. 36 and 63rd Street including the addition of four-foot paved shoulders in order to improve safety and accessibility for bicycles and pedestrians. The timing of the project is due to deteriorating pavement condition and to the need for a replacement of the bridge over the Feeder Canal Ditch.

The current plan is to maintain the roads current alignment and two-lane configuration. Some minor re-alignment may occur to accommodate the shoulder width, reduce impacts to agricultural properties, and to minimize the need for tree removal. Currently, the plan for this corridor includes:

The addition of paved road shoulders to improve vehicle safety and provide space for bicycles.
Replace and upgrade ditch crossings and drainage culverts.
Replacement of the bridge over the Feeder Canal Ditch.
New pavement surface.

Boulder County is currently in the final stages of project design and is working on utility relocation and right-of-way acquisition for the project. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2012.

60mph?

where on neva road is the speed limit 60 mph?

but seriously, the majority of events that occur on Neva during the summer are running races, triathlons, and charity rides. Are there any other road racing events besides Haystack? All of these other events go through different governing bodies. I think it would be a fantastic idea to have brac send out letters to nearby residents when an event occurs. Granted, I don't know the cost of doing so for every race. Another option would be to simply post some additional boards at neighborhood entrances. that might be the most simple and cost effective.

As can be read from the letter, there is a huge disconnect between what people think cyclists do vs what cyclists do. I know very few cyclists that prefer riding on a bike path. They all tend to be too narrow and too sinuous for biking at speed. Boulder has a number of bike paths. I hate riding on them every time I need to.

Kudos

Someone who apparently doesn't ride but is willing to have a thoughtful and civil discussion about working together to share road usage. It's much appreciated! I don't generally ride in the Boulder area, didn't do Haystack, and don't know of any other races coming up in that area. But generally speaking, the idea of a community/county calendar is a good one. Larger signs, sure. Hopefully this won't just give some hateful locals more time to buy tacks.

As for bike paths, they are great for some users — generally, rollerbladers, kids learning to ride, walkers with dogs on long leashes, and maybe commuting. But training on a bike path just doesn't work, there are just too many obstacles.

More respect from BOTH sides will go furthest for everyone. Drivers, slow down and pass when safe. Riders, single up when the roads are busy, and stop at stop signs and lights (AT LEAST when someone's there to notice).

Again, thanks to this person for being civil and open to discussion.

Thank you

Thank you to all who responded to my comment - even Anonymous who challenged my math skills (you are right, I'm a little shaky there) - about finding ways to better communicate between cyclists and motorists on the north roads. When Boulder County widens Neva Road it will improve safety for the couple of spots where there is no visibility, but it may also bring even more riders onto the road. Let's face it - the area is beautiful, so why not? At that point it will become even more important that residents know when events are being held, so we may delay going out or take an alternate route.

I did not mean to single out racing as the only kind of event held on our back roads, and thanks for enlightening me about the usefulness of a bike path for training. I myself would love a bike path into Boulder because I am terrified of cycling on the highway, but I would definitely be a casual user and probably in the way of serious users. However, there are times when the bike lanes on 36 are packed with riders three abreast on both sides of the road, and there's little room to squeeze by. It's not so much about slowing down, which doesn't help when a vehicle swings wide to avoid riders and comes into my lane, or when a cyclist passes a crowd of bikers by moving into the car lane -- and this always seem to happen where the road is most narrow - it's that I am much better protected from harm when I'm in my car than cyclists are. All of our lives are precious.

Don't know what else there is to say, except that I'd still like to know when any kind of road event is happening in my neighborhood. Good communication is a fine place to begin smoothing over any conflicts. Thanks again.