Bikeways good for commuting, tourism |

Bikeways good for commuting, tourism

Alternative transportation can do more for Glenwood Springs than improve its environment and quality of life.It also can provide a big economic boost, its supporters say.That’s not a projection, but a proven reality. Betsy Jacobsen, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said the Bicycle Colorado advocacy group gets more requests for information about the Glenwood Canyon bike path than about any other bicycle attraction in the state.Jacobsen, who was in town Friday to participate in an alternative transportation workshop, says the canyon path draws her to Glenwood Springs just as it does other tourists.”This is one of my favorite places,” she said.Trail advocates at Friday’s workshop shared a vision of expanding existing bike trails to boost recreational opportunities for tourists and locals, and improve the opportunity to commute by bike as well.”Without trails we’re losing our communities,” said Glenwood Springs resident Nancy Reinisch. “We’re giving them over to traffic.”Cathy Tuttle, a staff member with the Carbondale-based New Century Transportation Foundation, said Glenwood Springs could benefit from trails around the region. Cyclists could make day trips to area trails, and stay in hotels in Glenwood Springs.”People can be parking their cars and biking around here if we set it up right, and keeping cars off the road,” she said.The New Century Transportation Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes clean, energy-efficient transportation. It worked with trail groups in the Roaring Fork Valley and Garfield County to organize Friday’s workshop.Tuttle said the foundation plans to hold a regional trails summit in January.Glenwood Springs stands to gain a lot from increasing bike trails and lanes because 45 percent of Glenwood Springs’ workforce lives in town, Tuttle said.Linking trails in surrounding areas could expand commuting opportunities for cyclists, Jacobsen said.”If you start connecting the trails as transportation corridors, people have another option,” she said.”If the infrastructure is not in place, they won’t feel comfortable” commuting by bike, Jacobsen said.”If the infrastructure is not in place, they won’t feel comfortable” commuting by bike, Jacobsen said.

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