County bike plan advocates for more, safer access for bicyclists

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/24/22

As bicyclists across the metro area participated in Bike to Work Day this week, Jefferson County is working to make the bicycling experience better for those riding on roads in the unincorporated parts of the county.

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County bike plan advocates for more, safer access for bicyclists

Posted

As bicyclists across the metro area participated in Bike to Work Day this week, Jefferson County is working to make the bicycling experience better for those riding on roads in the unincorporated parts of the county.

The Bicycle Plan Update, which was unanimously approved by the Jefferson County Planning Commission recently, is now part of the county’s Comprehensive Master Plan. While there is no funding for any of the proposed projects to improve bicyclists’ road access, Planning Commission members said they hoped the plan would not simply sit on a shelf but that the county woul find ways to fund recommended improvements.

The idea is to make bicycling safer for cyclists and motorists along roads in both urban areas and in the foothills, said Christina Lane, a Jeffco transportation planner. At a recent Planning Commission meeting, Lane called the plan a “vision for bicycling in Jefferson County,” with an ultimate plan to increase mobility options through a connected and comfortable bicycle network.

Planners figured there were more than 100,000 Jeffco residents who might try bicycling if it were safer and if routes were more defined.

The plan, which took more than a year to create, splits the county into three areas. The south area of the county including Evergreen and Conifer, the north end of the county and the urban areas on the east end of the county.

In the foothills, Lane said the proposed road changes are for bicyclists who are “strong and fearless” because they usually travel on roads with little to no paved shoulders, and that is not reasonable for the vast majority of bicyclists.

The plan suggests several types of improvements to improve bicycle safety including shared roadways, shared-use paths, bicycle lanes and paved shoulders that would include pull-off areas.

The plan suggests the county should look at state and federal funding and grant opportunities because the work is expensive and extensive. It could also incorporate some of the changes as it maintains roads.

Lane also suggested that developers could be asked to create safe bicycle access as they create roads, and the county should consider reviewing its road-width requirements to make them wider to accommodate bicycles.

She said the proposals in the plan are high level, so the specifics could change once the county started looking at the projects.

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