Trail etiquette, safety emphasized for detour stretch
An expected increase in Glenwood Springs city bicycle and pedestrian trail use during the upcoming Grand Avenue bridge detour brings with it a reminder to be courteous and stay safe.
The city has implemented new rules in an effort to make the various paved paths and sidewalks more of a transportation alternative while the Midland Avenue/Eighth Street detour route is congested.
One is an ordinance requiring that dog leashes be no longer than six feet, and that no dogs are to be allowed off leash.
“This will be very important during this time period, and it will be strictly enforced,” City Manager Debra Figueroa said. Normally, a leash is not required as long as the dog is under voice control and not causing problems.
That has changed as the city prepares to deal with the likely onslaught of new and maybe inexperienced trail users riding bikes or walking to get around Glenwood when the 95-day detour begins Aug. 14.
The city has also agreed to allow electric-assist bicycles on trails including the Rio Grande (River) Trail between Two Rivers Park and 23rd Street, the path along the Midland Avenue detour route and the Atkinson Ditch Trail below south Midland Avenue. However, e-bikes can only have motors up to 750 watts. The 20 mph speed limit on non-motorized trails will be enforced for all users, including those riding regular bicycles, Figueroa said.
E-bikes are now prohibited on the portion of the Rio Grande Trail south of 23rd Street and toward Carbondale, which is maintained by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. The RFTA board is considering whether to lift that restriction during the detour and will take up the question at its Aug. 10 meeting.
Trail users should also stay to the right and only pass if no one is coming the other way. Bicyclists should also ride single file, she said.
“Trails are going to be congested, so the main thing is we want people to focus on safety and to be courteous during the bridge closure,” Figueroa said.
The city has also launched a “Happy Trails” campaign to remind people of the basic rules around trail use, as well as when bike riders must dismount and walk their bikes on sidewalks.
Riding one’s bike or skateboarding on the sidewalk is permitted, except for in the main downtown area between Seventh and 10th streets, where bicyclists are required to dismount and walk their bikes.
“If you choose to ride on the sidewalk, you must yield to pedestrians and obey all pedestrian signs and signals,” according to the city’s promotional campaign.
Riding on the sidewalk in some places can be more dangerous than riding on the street, city transportation officials also point out.
Blake Avenue, Donegan Road and soon Pitkin Avenue will have dedicated bike lanes painted on the roadway. All vehicles using the road, including bicycles, are required to obey traffic laws such as stop signs and signals.
In general, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists should all be aware of each other, especially at intersections and driveways.
“Trails are already becoming more fundamental to transportation,” said Tanya Allen, the city’s transportation manager. But trails also serve recreational users and will continue to do so, she said.
During the detour period, the Glenwood Police Department plans to have uniformed officers on e-bikes and regular bikes patrolling the various paths and using them to respond to emergencies in the event of traffic backups on the detour.
The city is also working with a group of avid bicyclists to serve as a volunteer patrol corps of sorts, helping to keep an eye on things, reminding people of the safety rules, and also helping point the way for anyone looking to get somewhere in particular, Allen said.
“The goal is to have people trained by the police department to know those rules and be able to reinforce good behavior on the trails,” she said.
Residents are encouraged to check out the weekly safety tips on the Happy Trails web page, take the surveys and sign the safety pledge to be entered into a drawing for prizes such as day passes to the Community Center and T-shirts.
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