What’s Facing Windsor: Access to safe bicycling in town a concern for some residents | MyWindsorNow.com

What’s Facing Windsor: Access to safe bicycling in town a concern for some residents

Emily Wenger
ewenger@mywindsornow.com

As David Roberts, the owner of Spokes Bicycle Shop in downtown Windsor, left his shop with Chris Goering for their Thursday evening bicycle ride, they chatted about their route.

Safety is their main concern.

They like riding along Crossroads Boulevard because of that and decided to take Seventh Street down to the road and up to Centerra before turning around and coming back to Spokes.

But Roberts said they'll have to be careful because one of the Crossroads roundabouts doesn't have a completely paved route for them to ride on.

They set out down Fifth Street and took a right on Oak Street, before pulling up to a stop sign to turn left on Seventh. Roberts said they try to avoid the light at Main and Seventh streets because the heavy traffic is scary to bicyclists.

After waiting for a break in the 5:30 p.m. traffic, they sped left on Seventh. As they rode toward the roundabout at Seventh and Eastman Park Drive, almost keeping pace with cars, they stuck to the right side of the road. No lines separated them from cars, which frequently had to swerve around them after driving closer to the right side of the wide-lane road.

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The two passed a family, also riding along Seventh, with the children on the sidewalk and a parent on the road, in between them and passing cars. People on the sidewalk stepped out of the way of the passing children.

Then Roberts and Goering sped up to merge with cars at the roundabout, waving their thanks to those waiting to enter who gave the bicyclists their space.

As they did so, the family riding behind them transitioned to the sidewalk, trying to avoid the constant flow of cars through the roundabout.

It's an often harrowing ordeal for residents who want to ride Windsor's roads, Roberts said.

What's available

Although Windsor has many trails, the main concern for many Windsor bicyclists is biking to them, or finding a safe way to get from one to the other without navigating narrow streets in between.

Ruth Brokering, a Windsor resident and teacher in the town, said her main concern is providing safe routes for children to take to school. Without bike lanes, or with lanes ending before intersections, students are expected to ride on the sidewalk, which she said can cause hazards for other children who may be walking to school.

The town does have several bike lanes on various Windsor streets, or wide sidewalks for bike riding, said Wade Willis, parks and open space manager for the town. But Willis also acknowledges that more may need to be done. He even plans to ride with residents to hear their ideas this summer.

In the meantime, those who want to ride their bicycles in Windsor can check out the Poudre Trail, ride around Windsor Lake or bike the Belmont Ridge Open Space Trail.

According to the town of Windsor's website, the town has 40 miles of trails, but that number includes on-street bike lanes, said Willis.

The town joins in Bike to Work days, and Bike to School days, and encourages residents to ride their bikes to work and school, but safety is still a concern for some residents.

Challenges

While the town does boast miles of trails, many of them aren't connected with each other, Roberts said.

Myles Baker, District 1 representative on the Windsor Town Board, said providing more opportunities for residents to ride their bikes rather than taking their cars around town has been a priority of his as a board member. Residents in his district, on the west side of County Road 13, don't have much access to the downtown area. They have to drive to a trailhead, or ride narrow streets to get downtown.

Barry Wilson, who was recently elected to represent District 2, also on the west side of Weld County Road 13, said the Great Western Trail on the east side of town, which connects Windsor, Severance and Eaton, is a success, but the west side of town could use more connected bicycle routes.

In the meantime, many bicyclists are afraid to ride certain parts of Windsor. Crossing Main Street to get to Windsor Lake is exciting at best and terrifying at worst, Roberts said.

The town faces a challenge when dealing with Main Street as well, because the road is also Colo. 392, and as a state highway the Colorado Department of Transportation has control over the road.

Solutions

Willis plans to start a new Bike Windsor event this summer to ride the town with residents and gather feedback from them. Bicyclists will meet at 5:30 p.m. every other Thursday from June 14-Aug. 23 and ride to Boardwalk Park for the town's concert series. He plans to leave from different town districts each ride, so he can gather as wide a variety of information about bicycling in the town as possible.

The town already has a list of roads and trails it plans to add bike lanes to, but Willis said he wants to talk to residents about what should be the priority.

Brokering said she hopes the list grows, so students in the district have a safe path to take to school.

Brokering also said she would happily ride to the grocery store, but getting there and finding a safe place to put her bicycle while she shops can be a challenge.

Baker said he sees bicycling as part of the town's transportation network, and hopes to make bicycle routes a priority during the town's planning in May.

After gathering information and awaiting a strategic plan from the town, Willis said he hopes to learn whether the town's trail plan needs to be revisited, and whether or not the town would benefit from having a private consultant give the town advice on how to improve its transportation system for bicyclists. ❖

For more

Wade Willis, parks and open space manager for the town of Windsor, will begin Bike Windsor events this summer to ride bicycles with residents and hear their thoughts on the town’s bicycle trail and on-street bicycle lane availability. Bicyclists will meet at 5:30 p.m. every other Thursday from June 14-Aug. 23 and ride to Boardwalk Park for the town’s concert series, leaving from different town districts each ride.

The town of Windsor has a plan to create new bicycle lanes and trail in town, and requires certain new streets to be built with bicycle lanes. To view the plan for trails, go to bit.ly/TrailsMasterPlan.