Bike commuters around county put their route to the test
Residents throughout Glenwood Springs and Garfield County left their car keys at home and enjoyed the fresh air Wednesday morning for Colorado Bike to Work Day. With the Grand Avenue Bridge set to close Aug. 14, locals are encouraged to begin preparing now. Wednesday served as an opportunity for riders to test their commuting route and timing.
Heather McGregor with Clean Energy Economy for the Region estimated that somewhere between 175 to 200 commuters came out Wednesday.
“I think it was a huge success and bigger than we’ve ever seen before,” she added. “We saw new people giving it a try and a lot of interest, willingness and enthusiasm about biking to work.”
“I’ve been biking to work for decades and think it’s a great way to get around town,” Susan Cashel said as she rode into the Alpine Bank stop. “When I ride my bike, it makes me happy.”
Breakfast stations were set up at RFTA West Glenwood Park and Ride, Carbondale Park and Ride, Glenwood Springs City Hall and Alpine Bank for commuters to grab a quick bite to eat, coffee, reading materials and giveaways. Each rider left with a new bike bell.
“It’s a great reason to get healthy. I hate to think about what I eat before I go ride the next day,” said Charmian Featherstone at the Alpine Bank stop.
Over at City Hall, Glenwood Springs Transportation Manager Tanya Allen said, in addition to bells, each station offered reading materials educating commuters how to ride on a busy trail.
“We need to make sure that everyone can use the trail and uses it safely to get them from A to B,” she said.
Glenwood Springs Chief of Police Terry Wilson said that with the expected increased traffic on the bike paths after the bridge closes, there will be several restrictions and exemptions in place to ensure that the paths are as safe and efficient as possible.
E-Bikes will be allowed on hard-surface trails during the bridge closure, and bikers are encouraged to ride at slower speeds.
“We don’t want to hand out tickets, but we want everyone to be safe and respectful,” he added.
A strict prohibition will be in place on any loose dogs on or around the bike paths. Leashes can be a maximum of six feet long.
Wilson said a combination of uniform officers and traffic personnel will be on hand at specific choke points in the city, where bike traffic and intersections are expected to be the most congested during the detour.
Riders who haven’t yet signed up for the Ride Garfield County Bike and Bus Challenge are encouraged to register and log miles for bicycling and for riding RFTA buses and carpooling. To get started, visit GarfieldCleanEnergy.org.