Pueblo Active Community Environments (P.A.C.E.)
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Butterflies and Bike Lanes

"If Nothing Ever Changed, There Would Be No Butterflies" - Unknown

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It's that time of year again! The time of year when you look around and can see changes everywhere.  I was contemplating this as I was mountain biking in Lake Pueblo State Park last weekend and noticed the vast difference in my surroundings compared to the same time of year in 2013.  Back then we were in a drought and everything was very, very brown and dry.  Short tufts of pointy shrubs, and sharp thorny cacti lined the loose shale on the trail.  I had to duck my head at times to avoid being taken out by tumbleweeds when the dust storms picked up and blew them in my direction.  Deep cracks and ridges ran across the ground connecting the Prairie Dog colonies and gigantic ant hills that covered the ground
    

Stephanie Chambers at Lake Pueblo State Park: 2013 Drought (on L.) & 2015 After Abundant Rain Showers (on R.)

Fast forward 2 years, and things sure have changed!  We had experienced abundant rain showers for the past month in a half.  In fact, I heard Pueblo had not had that much rain in May in over 25 years.  I believe it.  This time around, many different colors of green lined the terrain.  Plants and grasses held tight to the ground, and small wildflowers shimmered on the ends of some of the more vibrant clusters. Cool, clear water ran across some of the trails creating obstacles to ride through and a refreshing spray.

Meanwhile, In the meadows along the South Shore trails, there were miles and miles of bright yellow, stunning, sunflowers EVERWHERE! Something we normally do not see until August

Stephanie Chambers at Lake Pueblo State Park, 2015 - Sunflowers in June

Did you realize that Lake Pueblo State Park has over 37.6 miles of single and double track trails in the prairie on the South Shore Trails?  It's over by the south marina and up on the plateaus. Plus, there are 10 miles of single track trails in the Department of Wildlife areas on the North Shore Trails.  If you think it sounds or looks interesting, you should check it out!  You can ride bikes or just take a nice walk or hike and enjoy this treat in your back yard!  For information on trail conditions, or volunteer opportunities to keep the trails maintained, check out the organization lakepueblo.org.
 

What Does This Have To Do With Bike Lanes?
Similar stories could be told about the changes to our bicycle infrastructure in Pueblo.  In 2013, Pueblo had over 20 miles of multi-use trails including connections along the Arkansas River, Fountain Creek, Wildhorse Creek, Phelps Creek and CSU-P.  Plus an additional 30 miles of dirt utility roads and multi-use trails in Pueblo West.  (See this link on activepueblo.net for details). There were also about 5 miles of painted bike lanes within the City limits (part of Historic Union Street, Goodnight, City Park, Mineral Palace Park and Lake Avenue). 

In 2014, Pueblo had nearly 12 miles of improvements to our bike network connecting the city from the north to the south.  This included 10.25 miles of bike lanes striped plus 1.7 miles of sharrows:
 
Goodnight/Cleveland - 2.26 bike lane miles
Orman - 4.62 bike lane miles
Elizabeth - 3.37 bike lane miles plus 0.81 miles of sharrows downtown
Greenwood - 1.25 bike lane miles plus 0.88 miles of sharrows downtown

(The funding was approved specifically for these projects only and could not be used for general maintenance such as potholes).

Preparing the New Lanes in 2014.
This was a major change for Pueblo - especially on Elizabeth St and Greenwood St where lane reduction was introduced in order to slow motor vehicle traffic back to normal residential speed limits. Traffic count studies demonstrated cars were traveling as fast as 15 miles over the speed limit in those neighborhoods making it hazardous and noisy for homeowners.  The result of the bicycle lanes in this area is traffic has slowed back down - TO SPEED LIMIT - reducing noise and making the roads safer.  We have even received feedback from homeowners in that area that they were really pleased to be able to sit on their front porches again and have a conversation; or walk across the street now, whereas they were too scared to even try it before.  In addition, they are beautiful streets to ride a bicycle up and down, and provide important signage to share the road in areas where the roads are narrow and it isn't safe to crowd a bike and motor vehicle in the same lane.

     PACE Chairperson - Kim Arline - 2014                   Tour De Taco - 2014 - 72 Participants As with any change, there was a little bit of a learning curve to educate the public on how to interact with one another, and some adjustments are being made in areas which have not had the desired expected results.  Some lanes will also be repainted with a different type of material this summer since the type of paint used did not hold up over the harsh winter.

We sent out press releases, went on live radio shows, recorded PSA's, posted information on social media sites and websites, sent out newsletters, had public meetings, attended City Council meetings, had media coverage, bicycle safety videos on Public Television, Community Bicycle Rides, and more.  But it is still hard to reach everyone.  For more information, you may check out our Bike Lane Etiquette Page on the PACE website.

Moving Pueblo Forward - 2-Way Bike Lane Demonstration Project

Map of 5th St 2-Way Bicycle Lanes

All of these factors have come together to make Pueblo a candidate for a Kaiser Permanente Grant to install a demonstration bicycle lane project.  These funds, combined with funds from the existing Kaiser Permanente Walk and Wheel, as well as, contributions from Public Works has allowed us to install a half mile 2-way protected bicycle lane here in Pueblo.      

As a result, Pueblo will have the longest 2-way bicycle lane in Colorado - 1/2 Mile.  It is the only 2-way bicycle lane along one of the National Bicycle Routes - which takes bicycle tourists right through Pueblo. It provides a safe alternative for bicyclists to travel to and from the East side by allowing them to avoid going under I-25 and having to ride on busy 4th St by routing them to 5th St all the way to the Justice Center.  It provides connectivity to the Greenwood and Elizabeth existing bicycle lanes.  According to PeopleForBikes, there are also economic benefits - "Protected bike lanes can be part of street redesigns that boost retail performance".  Once the new Wheel Park is complete on Erie on the East side, it will provide an safe alternative for people to cycle back and forth under I-25.                 

On May 18th, 2015, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), under the U.S. Department of Transportation, introduced a "Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide" as part of its ongoing "Safer People, Safer Streets" initiative.  

It is exciting that Pueblo already has an innovative project like this in place to try out as a demonstration project which was made possible due to the collaborative efforts, studies, traffic counts, etc., from many organizations, throughout Pueblo and the State of Colorado. Special thanks to Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the Pueblo Department of Transportation, the City of Pueblo Planning Department, Public Works, PACE - Pueblo Active Community Environments, City Council, Bicycle Colorado, and Fox Tuttle Hernandez Transportation Group, as well as several hard working individuals, volunteers, residents and business owners throughout the community.

The bike lanes and parking layout is a new concept for our City.  Here are some additional explanations:

If you would like to print a copy of our Educational Flyer, go to our website here.  (It is 2-sided so you can print it on the front and back).  

Colorado Bike Month Events - Mark Your Calendars!
 
Wednesday, June 24th:  Colorado Bike to Work Day:  Ride your bike by one, or all, of our sponsored breakfast stops on the way to work or play from 6:00 AM - 9:00 AM.  The following businesses are participating this year and all stops will provide refreshments and give-away's:

  • Pueblo West Chamber of Commerce:  At Legacy Bank (Spaulding & McCulloch)
  • Pueblo City-County Health Department - Our Bronze Sponsor this year!  (101 W. 9th St)
  • Parkview Medical Center - Main Parkview Campus (Grassy area across from Greenwood entrance) (They will also have a Farmer's Market going on that day).
  • St. Mary-Corwin - Front patio west entrance (outside black windows)

Extra points for stopping and signing in at each breakfast stop for Pueblo Commuter Cup through the National Bike Challenge.

 

Thursday at 6:30 PM:  Cruisin' Pueblo Community Bicycle Rides:   Community social bike rides every Thursday thru 10/1/2015. Free ride. All ages, skills and abilities. Sign a waiver and ride at your own risk. Meet at Bingo Burger (101 Central Plaza). Announcements at 6:15 pm. Ride starts at 6:30 pm. Participants get discounts on food and beverages after the ride. Average length of ride - 4 - 7 miles, except for last week of the month - longer, faster option 10 - 20 miles. Prize drawings throughout the season. Vance's Bicycle World has a drawing for a $600 Cruiser bike in July! For more information, see Facebook page for Cruisin' Pueblo.

National Bike Challenge and Pueblo Commuter Cup:  National Bike Challenge 2015:  Join other Pueblo County cyclists as they compete nationwide to ride the most miles from May thru September!  EVERY mile counts and you may join at any time!  The Pueblo Commuter Cup is based off the miles tracked in June and July.  This year's challenge is sponsored by Scott Nationals and PeopleForBikes. Participants in Pueblo County have ridden a total of 28,240 miles from May 1st - June 16th!  They have collectively burned over 1,500,000 calories,  saved $5,641.00 in gas and saved over 9,200 pounds of CO2.  If you ride a bike and aren't signed up yet, Take 5 and start today

Don't forget about some of the other fun outdoor events going on in June and throughout the year.  Details may be found on our Events Calendar at activepueblo.net!  You may also find us on our Facebook page by clicking this link.

Ongoing Weekly Activities:

-Wed at 6:30 pm:  The Downtown Social Shuffle 3.1 mile run or 2 mile walk meets at JMichael's Pub-----Thurs at 5:30 pm:  The Adventurous Sole and YMCA hosts fun runs from their store on 5th St.  Meet at 5:30 pm / start at 6:00 pm.  All abilities, all species, all ages.
-Thurs at 6:30 pm:  Cruisin' Pueblo Community Bike Rides meets at Bingo Burger.
-Every 2nd and 4th Friday in warm months at 6:00 pm: Pueblo Cruiser Bicycle Rides meets at Central Plaza.

Monthly PACE Meetings:  2nd Monday of every month - Location's May Change Monthly.
Mon, July 13th, 8:00 am - 9:30 am:  Join us at the next PACE meeting at 5th and Main Espresso Bar (421 N Main St).  Don't be shy - ride your bike!

All meetings are open to the public. If you would like included on the email distribution list for the agenda and minutes, please email stephanie.chambers@activepueblo.net and I will add you to the list.

Take 5 and Walk, Roll, and Get Moving Pueblo!

Stephanie

Stephanie Chambers
Bike / Ped Coordinator - City of Pueblo
PACE Project Coordinator for Challenges