By Bill Plock
Did you know that Highway 40 (the backside of Lookout Mountain) will be re-paved from Highway 93 (Colfax) to the Genesee exit this summer? Or did you know that Jeffco Open space is negotiating with the Department of Energy to do a massive land swap that would result in more possible recreation on South Table Mountain? Both of these projects along with many others in Jefferson County will possibly have a major impact on cycling, running and hiking all over the county. Thanks to advocacy group Bike Jeffco, cyclist have a strong influence on how these projects happen, or don’t happen.
Bike Jeffco has been helping ensure safer roads and trails for over 20 years. The late Dave Evans established the group when tensions were high in Deer Creek Canyon. Charlie Myers took over as Chairman and has grown the group and attendance has soared at monthly meetings. 303 will interview Charlie soon to learn more about his vision and why he loves cycling so much.
The group has had a major influences on countless projects such as the bike path connecting Lookout to the Evergreen Parkway, or advocating for more shoulders and paths or improved signal functioning all through the county.
Jefferson County is one of the most complex transportation counties in Colorado. Interstates, state highways, county roads, city roads, private roads and bike paths criss cross the county making connecting bike routes and advocation for cyclists extra challenging. Bike Jeffco has had to build relationships with each various government entity to make sure that cyclists are represented at every level.
At the recent public zoom meeting the reach and influence of Bike Jeffco was obvious. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) presented their plan to re-pave US 40. Cyclist should be thrilled when this project is done. A better climbing shoulder will be added and during construction, a cyclists climbing will be escorted with a pilot car to ensure safety on what will be a one lane road during much of the project. There is probably a good chance all of this consideration for cyclists would not have happened if not for all the years of partnering between Bike Jeffco and CDOT.
Jeffco Open Space presented its plan for South Table Mountain if the likely land swap happens. We also learned about the development of a connecter trail between Van Bibber park (between Ward and Indiana) that would result in a bike path west to Easley road. This would essentially connect Old Town Arvada to the North Table Mountain trail system and into Golden all via bike paths and trails. Jeffco is also busy building the Clear Creek Canyon trail as part of a master project linking the Platte River with Vail–all on a bike path. Most of this trail is in place and the biggest chunk left (the hardest and most expensive) is Jeffco’s part of Clear Creek Canyon.
Jefferson County is vast, and offers very diverse recreational opportunities and is the primary gateway to the mountains. So if you live in Denver and ride to the mountains you are likely riding on roads and trails in Jefferson County. So the efforts of Bike Jeffco have a significant impact for cyclist from all over. Their mission:
To promote cycling as a viable recreation and transportation option, with a goal to increase safety and provide a voice for cyclists in Jefferson County, Colorado.
Bike Jeffco meets once a month and since Covid, the meetings are on-line and open to anyone interested. You can go here to sign up for the newsletter and be informed on meetings. https://bikejeffco.org/get-involved/ There is no cost to being a member.
There are many advocacy groups in the Denver area, each with a little different focus and geographical concern. Bicycle Colorado is largely responsible for statewide initiatives and working with law makers on legislation impacting cyclists, but they rely on support from local advocacy groups who know the local nuances and issues and have strong relationships with local governments and agencies.
Here is a list of local advocacy groups. Check one out, attend, contribute and make a difference! https://www.bicyclecolorado.org/colorado-advocacy-groups/