Rolling Into 2014…lots of opportunities to make things happen !

In 2013, we had a mixed bag of bicycling advocacy successes for Jefferson County cyclists.

 

  • ·         The bikeway alongside the ‘W’ light rail line opened, providing a continuous route between the Oak Street station in Lakewood and the South Platte bikeway. Signage is somewhat lacking and that issue is being addressed. A safe link to the C-470 bikeway and an on-street route to the end of the line in Golden are being pursued.
  • ·         The crumbling section of Squaw Pass Road in Clear Creek County has been completely rebuilt and now rides ‘like butter’. A climbing shoulder has been added. Witter Gulch Road linking into Squaw Pass Road for riders from Evergreen will be paved this coming Spring.
  • ·         The repaving of the Clear Creek County side of Guanella Pass is now complete. The route offers a smooth albeit challenging climb to the summit (el. 3557m/11669ft)
  • ·         Jefferson County agreed to the setting up of a much needed bicyclists’ rest area at Phillipsburg in Deer Creek Canyon – complete with PortaPotty. A Saturday traffic count by Bike Jeffco in June showed 881 bicycles passing through the location in 12 hours.
  • ·         State Highway 93 (Golden – Boulder) now has shoulders between SH72(Coal Creek Canyon) and SH128. Boulder County has plans to extend the shoulders to the Boulder city boundary, thereby providing a continuous bike route between the Golden and Boulder.
  • ·         The construction of the El Rancho – Genesee link, to avoid riding on I-70, has been delayed due to lack of funding.
  • ·         As a key link in the County Bike/Ped plan, Jefferson County Transportation staff proposed the restriping of the western section of Bowles Avenue to include bike lanes. The County Commissioners have yet to be convinced.
  • ·         The September floods destroyed sections of SH72 in Coal Creek Canyon. Bike Jeffco is lobbying CDOT to add shoulders in the long term reparations.
  • ·         Despite acknowledgement of the dangers in riding popular routes such as 32nd Ave. and 100th Ave., Jefferson County has yet to fund shoulders on these routes.

 

Perhaps the most important but intangible outcome of 2013 has been the changing attitude by the County to the acceptance of bicycles as part of the solution to our transportation issues. While cities such as Arvada, Golden and Lakewood have been quietly adding bicycle friendly facilities in recent years, and getting national recognition for doing so, the County is now getting on board and proposing low cost projects such as the restriping of Bowles Avenue mentioned above. This is in keeping with a demographic shift which shows reduced car ownership and vehicle miles driven in the Denver metro area in 2013.

 

2014 will provide us with plenty of challenges. I hope that you will join us in making the Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties better places for bicyclists.

 

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Bike Jeffco December 10 Meeting

While Arvada, Golden and Lakewood continue to add bicycle lanes to make their cities even more bicycle friendly, Jefferson County Commissioners Rosier and Griffin have shown reluctance to follow suit by adding bicycle lanes to Bowles Avenue – a key East West route connecting residential areas and activity centers that is currently unsafe for bicyclists.

Analysis by County staff has shown minimal degradation in the level of service to motorized vehicles by making these additions.

Many years ago, area residents voted to pay a local sales tax for transportation improvements including road widening and new bicycle facilities. Drivers have enjoyed the widening of Bowles Avenue for a number of years yet some of our County Board are hesitant to implement the bicycle part of the agreement.

This short sightedness is contrary to the current trend in transportation thinking away from the dominance of the single occupancy automobile to a more balance multi-modal approach of pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation and automobiles.

The County has organized an Open House to show the project plans:
Wednesday, December 4th 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Dakota Ridge High School
13399 West Coal Mine Avenue, Littleton

This is a key policy battle that could dictate the future expansion of bikeways in the County. Even if you do not ride in the S. Jeffco area, please attend and show your support for better bike facilities throughout the County. Our success depends on you.

‘In other news’, anyone who has ridden the new bikeway, parallel to the ‘W’ light rail line between Oak Street station and the South Platte River trail will have experienced the navigational and occasionally physical challenges associated with riding this route. Bike Jeffco is working with the City of Lakewood to correct the problems.

At the recent County Transportation Advisory and Advocacy Group meeting, attended by everyone in transportation administration in the County, the wider problem of bikeway signage was raised. While Denver and Littleton have their designated ‘D’ and ‘L’ routes respectively, Jeffco is sadly lacking.

Do we need ‘J’ routes? Should we expand the ‘D’ route system which already leaks into Jeffco?

Should we post the major climbs in the foothills with stats of length/gradient/altitude as they do in Europe?

At our December meeting, bring your ideas of what you would like to see – or details of what you have seen elsewhere.

The meeting will be held at the Jefferson County Administration & Courts Building, Tuesday December 10th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

See you there.

n Dave Evans

n Chair Bike Jeffco

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Reducing Cyclist – Vehicle Confrontations… Notes from Dave Evans, Chair, Bike Jeffco

At last month’s meeting, we had an interesting discussion about anti-cyclist rage. In particular, there appears to be an emerging profile of the typical anti-cyclist ‘rager’. Looking at recent incidents in the Denver area, the rager is a middle age to elderly white male driving a large pickup truck along a narrow road.

By now, I’m sure that most of you are aware of the cause of this rage – the cyclist or group of cyclists who ride(s) completely oblivious to other vehicles, to traffic laws and to their surroundings. But what can happen when this irresponsibility is confronted by a rager? The answer is anything.

Sometimes, there does not have to be a reason for provocation however – as was experienced at our recent vehicle count. In the rager’s eyes, you, as a cyclist, are responsible for the behavior of every other cyclist on the road.

How should we handle the situation? The key here is to remain calm and let the rager see that beneath that lycra and helmet is a real person. Removing your helmet is a good idea. Sometimes reasoned discussion  is possible. Be prepared to be accused of interrupting traffic on ‘his’ road, not paying taxes to build and maintain ‘his’ road and trespassing on his property in search of a bathroom.

When reasoned discussion is not possible, point out that you are not breaking any laws and that he should take up his case with the relevant lawmakers.

In the extreme case of threats, either physically direct or with a vehicle, take notes and report it immediately to the relevant police authority. In areas where cell phone reception is poor or non-existent, Bike Jeffco is working to have more emergency phones installed. Jeffco Sheriffs’ Office takes any such threat very seriously.

With the ever decreasing drop in the cost and weight of HD video cameras, some cyclists are taking to mounting one on their helmets. The latest generation of cameras are of sufficient quality to record the license plate of the vehicle that did not give you the required 3 feet clearance or hurled insults or anything else from the window as it passed. With a sufficiently large memory card installed, these cameras are capable of recording a full day’s ride. Such videos are permissible as evidence in a court of law.

Bike Jeffco is working to reduce these confrontations by lobbying to get more shoulders and rest areas built on popular routes, by working with the Sherriff’s’ office to increase patrols and by education.

Unfortunately, these confrontational encounters will still happen. Do NOT become part of the problem.

With the long evenings perfect for riding, Bike Jeffco will not meet in July but we will be back in business Tuesday August 13th 7:00pm at the Jeffco Government Center.

 

Happy riding.

Dave Evans

Chair, Bike Jeffco

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RTD’s FasTracks West Line Rail – Saturday April 27, 2013

1westrail-bike West Line Bikeway…come ride it !

The West Line Bikeway parallels the RTD West Rail line, and provides access points to go from the bikeway to the light rail stops.  RTD has posted a “how to take your bike on the train” video on their website.  And while the train rides are free on Saturday, April 27th, you’ll need to buy a ticket to take your bike on the train after that time.

To celebrate the opening of RTD’s FasTracks West Rail Line, there will be a Jefferson County Government/Golden Station station party from 10 AM – 3 PM on Saturday, April 27th in the Memorial Garden behind the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility, 100 Jefferson County Parkway.  The theme for the Jeffco campus is “Outdoor Adventure & Recreation.”  Look for a lot of interactive activities for families, Open Space information, and Bike Jeffco !

Bike Jeffco will be hosting a booth at the party.  Several Bike Jeffco members have ridden the new West Line Bikeway, and we’ve developed both a printed map of the route and a digital version that you can download from Map My Ride (thanks to Mike and Cynthia Raber for digitally mapping the route).

MapMyRide •    http://mapmyride.com/routes/view/196181398

Note:  Google Maps of the Bikeway initially suggested using Simms Street.  All of the Bike Jeffco members who have ridden this pathway suggest the use of Quail Street instead as it is lower volume traffic and more bike friendly.    The route shifts over to the bike path at the Taj and on to Illinois Street to ride to the center of Golden.  Google Maps now reflects use of Quail Street also.

 

 

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Next Meeting: August 13th, 7 PM, Jefferson County Courthouse, Rm 1564

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cyclists Have Rights

In response to the tragic death of Sidney Johnson in October of 2011,  a group of concerned citizens have formed an organization focused on safe cycling routes in northern Jefferson County.   Their website can be found here:   www.cyclistshaverights.org

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Flying a Bike

Flying a BikeIn May I traveled by air with my bike for the first time.    I was meeting a friend to ride L’Etape du California 2011 – the most difficult ride I’ve done yet, but that’s another story.

It all went very smoothly, though there were many logistical details.  I learned a lot and made a mistake or two:   Here are some tips in case you plan to fly with your bike.   (Mistakes in bold)

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Is it legal to ride your bike outside of the bike lane?

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Cify of Golden proposes Jefferson Bikeway

The City of Golden today (May 20) officially offered to acquire a 2.76-mile stretch of right way along Indiana Street that is currently part of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.  The City’s offer will allow it to create what it will call the Jefferson Bikeway, as well as to provide needed roadway improvements on the Indiana Street corridor and protect the City and region from the impacts of unmitigated toll road construction.

Read more here:  Jefferson Bikeway Press Release

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Team Evergreen Rides – Exceptionally Well Organized

Team Evergreen

I had the pleasure of joining Team Evergreen on one of their super well-organized road rides again today.   Although it was flurrying at the start, about 25 riders turned out for what promised (and resulted) to be 50-ish degree temperatures under clear skies.

I’m impressed by Team Evergreen’s exceptional organization.   To begin with, the entire 2011 ride calendar is published already – you can see it here:   Team Evergreen 2011 Road Rides.     (They also have a mountain bike ride schedule:   Team Evergreen 2011 Mountain Bike Schedule)

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