- Where To Bike/Walk
- About P.A.C.E.
- Being Safe
- Moving Forward
- Commuter Cup Challenge
Pueblo West is a semi-rural community with 32,000 residents spread over a 48-square-mile area with 402 miles of narrow, rural roadways. Limited funding for such a large road network prevents adequate maintenance. There are no sidewalks so people walking, cycling and driving must all share the road.
Pueblo West has 212 miles of paved or chip sealed roads and 190 miles of gravel roads. The paved and chip sealed roads are generally narrow at a 20- to 22 foot entire road width while the few designated arterials are a little wider at a 24- to 30-foot width (Compared to 19-foot wide lanes in the Mesa Junction area of Pueblo!)
Roads were not constructed on a grid so choices for motorists and cyclists are often limited to the only route that connects. There are no designated bike lanes in Pueblo West. But there are some great multi-use trails that criss-cross the community better than many of the roads.
There are only a few Pueblo West roads with a paved shoulder for cyclists to use. But these shoulders are also narrow at only a 1- to 2-foot width in most cases.
Photo (right): Notice the new construction on West McCulloch includes a center turn lane and 2-foot wide paved shoulders and improved, wider soft shoulders. While the 2-foot shoulder is an improvement over the 2-inch shoulder previously, notice how much space a cyclist takes up of the shoulder in the photo. The bike may be narrow but the handlebars and person on the bike usually are 2-feet wide. Passing motorists need to pass with a safe 3-foot distance so motorists need to pass using the center turn lane. While not ideal, this is an improvement over the previous road and because this road only carries 4,000-8,000 vehicles per day it allows safer use of the center turn lane for passing movements past cyclists, pedestrians and other turning motor vehicles.
Busier roads carrying more traffic need to recognize and provide the necessary space for road users to safely travel next to one another without veering into other lanes. National standards (AASHTO guide) for bike lanes and paved shoulders require:
- 4 feet minimum width of bike lane on roadways with NO curb and gutter
- 5 feet minimum width of bike lane adjacent to parking with curb and gutter
- 11 feet total width for shared bike lane and parking with NO curb and gutter
- 12 feet total width for shared bike lane and parking with a curb face
Travel lanes for motor vehicles range from 10- to 12-feet wide.
The wider the lane, the more permissive the road is allowing and encouraging faster motor vehicle speeds. Highway lanes require 12-feet travel lanes for high speed traffic. But roadways in business and residential areas expected to have turning motorists, foot and bicycle traffic and speed limits 35 mph or less, often have 10-foot travel lanes to discourage speeding, allow pedestrians to cross more safely and accommodate more users within the given right-of-way of the roadway.
The 2011 reconstruction of main McCulloch south of Highway 50 is an important long term project involving one of the busiest urban roads in Pueblo County. Adjusting the widths of travel lanes and the center median can allow safer accommodation of cyclists, area for broken down and emergency vehicles, and discourage excessive speeding with over 20,000 vehicles per day currently and an expected 30,000 vehicles per day in the future.
Cyclists currently enjoy a minimal shoulder along this roadway which is one of three major access points for the entire community. For the narrow congested area southbound between Highway 50 and just beyond the Spaulding intersection, an alternative to providing separate spaces for turning motorists and bicycles is to create a shared "Bicycle and Right Turn Only Lane" as shown in the photo to the right in Boulder. The length of that lane is only for buses, bikes and right turning vehicles up to each light and for turn movements into businesses between traffic signals.
Joe Martinez Blvd has a 5-foot paved shoulder from McCulloch to Idaho Springs. Industrial Blvd and Hahn’s Peak has 2- to 4-foot shoulders in the golf course area.
Highway 50 is often used by cyclists with the 10-foot wide paved shoulder separated from the travel lanes by a rumble strip. Numerous Pueblo West cyclists commute to work in the City of Pueblo by riding this wide shoulder east on Highway 50. Road cyclists can enjoy a 25 mile ride one-way to Canon City without dealing with any traffic lights and very few intersections with other roadways! This highway through Pueblo West and east to the city is rated a black diamond route and is not recommended for beginners or those uncomfortable with traffic even though interactions with traffic are distant and rare.