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Share the Road in Grand Junction

Sharon Sullivan
ssullivan@gjfreepress.com
Sharon Sullivan / Free Press
Staff Photo |

We all need to “share the road” — that’s the message of a new summertime campaign in Grand Junction aimed at improving conditions for all road users.

The Colorado Department of Transportation, with Grand Junction, created a Share the Road Collaborative Task Force in 2012 for the purpose of identifying common issues experienced by motorists, bicyclists and others who travel the roadways.

The task force, which met for six months, was comprised of numerous stakeholders, including bike advocates from Grand Valley Bikes and the Grand Junction Bike Club, a CDOT employee, a city traffic engineer, law enforcement, runners, and representatives from the trucking industry, Mesa County School District 51, and people with disabilities.



Grand Junction resident Dean Bressler is a member of the task force, and an avid road cyclist.

“We heard from some motorists how it can be annoying that some bicyclists seem to sneer at traffic laws,” Bressler said. “The flip side of that is there are a lot of motorists who feel cyclists, runners, or those who are disabled don’t belong on the road.



“In fact, by law, they do.”

After CDOT in 2009 passed an internal policy to accommodate bikes and pedestrians when developing statewide transportation plans, the state legislature took it a step further and made it state law the following year, said Betsy Jacobsen, CDOT bicycle/pedestrian scenic byways section manager.

Roads are for anyone to get around by any means — including wheelchairs, Bressler said.

At the same time, agencies — like CDOT, Grand Junction, Mesa County and law enforcement — all recognize that driver distractions are an increasing concern, Bressler said.

Jacobsen, who attended the series of Grand Junction task-force meetings, was in town last week installing a bicycle/pedestrian counter on the bike path on Hwy. 340 and West Avenue.

An in-loop connection in the pavement picks up signals from passing bicycles that a nearby counter tallies. Another post counter tracks everything. Subtracting the number of bicyclists counted gives the number of pedestrians.

“We’ve been tracking the numbers of motorists for years,” Jacobsen said. “This year we put permanent counters in different parts of the state. By placing them strategically, we can get better identification of what walking and biking looks like in the state.”

The information will be used to help set policy and determine maintenance needs, Jacobsen said.

The Share the Road campaign is promoting its message with bumper-stickers that say “Grand Junction Shares the Road,” plus banners, yard signs and electronic sign messaging.

The task force is seeking businesses who are willing to display the message on their digital signs, like the one at Splish Splash Car Wash, 2475 Highway 6 and 50.

The messaging is made possible through a $5,000 CDOT grant.

“Roads truly are for all users,” Bressler said. “These messages are intended to reinforce that in a positive way.”

About a third of Mesa County’s population do not drive, city transportation engineer Jody Kliska said. Instead, they walk, ride bikes or use city transit buses.

“As engineering designers, we need to think about that and the notion of complete streets which provides for all of the users. We build sidewalks where we can, we’ve added bike lanes, and additional bus pull-outs (buses that have bike racks attached),” Kliska said.

Grand Junction joins three other communities — Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs and Durango — in adopting the Share the Road campaign.

“There’s always been a bit of conflict concerning all road users,” Jacobsen said. “Everyone wants their own mode to rule the road.”

The campaign is to remind all users to be reasonable and courteous to one another.

“We all want to get to where we’re going safely,” she said.


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