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Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates

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New bike and pedestrian bridge is key to safe riding

Editor's note: This is a new column to help residents get around Glenwood Springs during the Grand Avenue bridge detour.

As closure of the Grand Avenue bridge quickly approaches, many local travelers are turning to their bicycles to get around town. Successfully navigating the new downtown bicycle-pedestrian bridge across the Colorado River will be key to making trips safe and successful.

Downtown neighborhoods, restaurants and shops, public buildings, Hot Springs Pool, schools and other central destinations all anchor on that new bridge. Getting across smoothly and avoiding conflicts with other users will leave everyone happier and on the move.

The elevator

It is big. There is plenty of room to carefully roll a bicycle (or two) into and out of the elevator. A few refining tips will help:

• Be courteous. Wait before entering the elevator to be sure arriving users have a chance to exit. Yield elevator space to pedestrians, especially those using wheelchairs, strollers and the like.

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• Once aboard, operate the elevator as usual (opens to the west at ground level, to the east on the bridge).

• Watch for other bridge users as you exit.

• The bridge itself is open to bicycle riding. To keep it that way, slow down, use your bell and be courteous to other bridge users; many of them are enjoying the scenery (possibly meandering a bit) and not necessarily aware of your approach.

• The sidewalk along the north side of Seventh Street (south end of the bridge) is part of the downtown sidewalk-dismount zone, so the sidewalk is not open to riding. Please walk your bicycle along the sidewalks until you can ride on the street.

The bicycle ramp

There is a concrete channel along one edge of the bridge's stairway. This is intended to help cyclists walk a bicycle up or down the stairway itself. Note that this ramp is poorly designed and will ultimately need some refinements before it really works well. Meanwhile, here is how to make the best use of it for now:

• Turn pedals to a horizontal position (to avoid snagging on the bridge railing).

• Roll front wheel, then rear wheel, into the channel.

• Keep bicycle tipped outward away from the railing and walk the stairs, rolling the bicycle as you go.

• Be careful at the midpoint landing, and at each end of the climb or descent, to roll your bicycle onto the flat surface without losing control at the channel's abrupt and sharp-angle ends.

• When going up, be ready for a hefty push.

• When going down, keep a firm grip on the bicycle — and engage hand brakes, if you have them — to maintain control.

• Going up or down, look in advance for other stairway users — especially pedestrians — and be courteous to avoid conflicts.

The north end

Careful! The wide northern end of the bicycle-pedestrian bridge sweeps pleasantly down to Sixth Street, making it tempting to cruise right out onto the street.

Be extra cautious and aware of cars approaching from both directions. Slow down and look before riding into the roadway.

Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates provide tips and support for cyclists and drivers to encourage bicycling for local trips during the Grand Avenue bridge closure, and for renewed riding habits into the future. For more information, call 970-618-8264.