Colorado Springs has created a vision to reshape the local cycling infrastructure over the next decade, with a series of four workshops to discuss proposed updates to the city’s Bike Master Plan.
“We’re really excited to get this going and to get our vision out there,” said Bike Program Coordinator Brian Shevock. “The city has been doing a lot of great things in the past few years that have really been astonishing, and it is really great to get this ball rolling with the help of the citizens of Colorado Springs.”
The city began work last year on the Bike Master Plan, building upon previous cycling-related plans and recent regional transportation efforts to improve the region’s bicycle-friendliness.
Workshops began Wednesday at Cheyenne Mountain High School for the city’s southwestern residents, followed by another Thursday at Eagle View Middle School (1325 Vindicator Drive) for the Westside. One for north Colorado Springs is scheduled for June 3 at Library 21c (1175 Chapel Hills Drive) and June 4 at the Southeast YMCA (2190 Jet Wing Drive), all beginning at 6 p.m.
The agenda includes short presentations on the Bike Master Plan and recent related initiatives. Next, participants work in small groups to provide input on the current cycling infrastructure and local government’s plans to improve it, according to city spokesperson Kim Melchor.
“Our goal is to bring everybody up to date with what’s going on,” said Tim Roberts, a senior transportation planner for Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs also has undertaken a Parks System Master Plan and has been involved with the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments’ Regional Non-Motorized Transportation Plan and Economic Impact of Cycling Regional Report. Building on that, Roberts said the city is excited to work on the Master Plan as well as a Bike Share Study for downtown and a designation application to the League of American Bicyclists for review of the city’s current “silver” status.
Roberts hopes the workshops will garner public feedback about accessibility and connectivity of the city’s bike trails, paths and lanes — as well as their natural or manmade obstructions.
“Community input is really valuable for us,” Shevock said.
Roberts and Shevock plan to complete and release the master plan in 8-10 months, after which it will go before City Council for approval. The city’s last official bike plan update was in 2001, according to Roberts.
Roberts anticipated 75-100 participants at the first workshop, expected to last more than two hours.
The core of the master plan keys in on what the PPACG has determined as the top 10 corridors in need of improvement, which include:
• Falcon to Pikes Peak Greenway via Rock Island Trail;
• Falcon to Pikes Peak Greenway via Woodmen Road;
• Manitou Springs to downtown Colorado Springs;
• downtown Colorado Springs to Peterson Air Force Base along Airport Road;
• Academy Boulevard, from the Air Force Academy to U.S. 85/87;
• downtown Colorado Springs to Security/Widefield;
• Manitou Springs to Woodland Park;
• downtown Colorado Springs to Fort Carson along Highway 115;
• Gold Camp Reservoir to Shooks Run Trail; and
• Garden of the Gods Road from 30th Street to Union Boulevard.
The city’s plan stands on the shoulders of the PPACG’s Regional Non-Motorized Plan. First released in January 2008, the PPACG plan determined the region’s cycling infrastructure and facilities lacked adequacy, functionality and consistency — requiring a major overhaul estimated to cost nearly $300 million.
An update of the PPACG plan, drafted last month, helped identify goals for the city’s Bike Master Plan.
The city has more than 100 miles of on-street cycling routes, close to 120 miles of “urban bike trails” and more than 60 miles of unpaved mountain trails. Colorado Springs ranks No. 45 in the Top 50 Bicycle Friendly Cities in America by the League of American Bicyclists and was recently recognized as No. 38 among the country’s fastest-growing cycling communities by the American Community Survey.
These trails, paths and lanes have been and will continue to be partially funded by a “self-imposed bicycle excise sales tax” for Colorado Springs residents and visitors, according to the city’s website.