October 21, 2011

From the BMA – City Council Meeting + FREE BEER

City Council Considers Bike Trails On Anemone Hill

This is our last and best opportunity for a close-to-town trail accessible by bike so you can ride to your ride. It would also provide an opportunity to connect a single track loop on Anemone Hill to the trails at Betasso Preserve. We have an opportunity to create an excellent trail experience for EVERYONE, hikers, trail runners, and dog walkers included.

BMA needs YOU and YOUR friends to show up to support BMA’s ask Council to approve the OSBT loop trail and the connector:

City Council Chambers
Broadway and Canyon
Tuesday, October 25 at 6pm

If you cannot show up,email your thoughts to city council (click here).
BMA has some talking points below.
The main point you should convey =
ask Council to approve both the OSBT loop trail and the connector.

City Council We need to thank the City Council for making OSMP take a second look at Anenome Hill and ask that they create a professionally designed, sustainable and fun trail system in this area that will work for hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians. We need to be positive, logical and thoughtful to these volunteer leaders of our community. It was Council that kept the hope of access in the West TSA alive by instructing OSMP to hire a professional trail designer to do their own evaluation of the area.
What you should know:

OSBT map The Open Space Board of Trustees has approved 4 to 1 a professionally designed loop trail that will

* Manage User Conflict: Separate no-bike trail segments are available for dog walkers, kids, and the elderly who may get spooked by bikes. Directional use is explicitly called for by OSBT. These are the right things to do.
* Protect the Resource: OSBT explicitly calls for on-trail use for everyone on Anenome Hill. Social Trails in the area will be reclaimed and restored. Neighboring property to the north and the south have no human access to provide refugia for the same critters that *could* be affected by a trail on Anemone Hill. We support these environmental values of our open space lands.
* Provide a Positive Recreation Experience: The OSBT recommended loop provides a 45 minute loop ride through a forest for bikes who have no place else to go w/o getting in a car or riding on paths and roads for long distances. It provides alternate routes for hikers, equestrians, and others. It has beautiful views of the city and the continental divide. This trail will be a valuable recreational asset for the citizens of Boulder.

Sounds perfect, right? Sadly, there’s a catch.

Staff recommendation OSMP Staff recommended ONLY a connector trail to Four Mile Canyon only and doesn’t want the OSBT approved loop at all. They want Council to approve a loop loaded up with switchbacks that would exclude bikes from the user mix. There’s plenty of reasons to believe this is a BAD idea.

* The Four Mile Connector would coincide with the OSMP switchback loop trail for about 25% of it’s length. Bikes, hikers and equestrians going both directions on this trail segment would be a user conflict nightmare.
* The link trail would serve stronger, faster, long-distance riders, but not the families of Boulder or the quick after work ride that keeps us all sane after a hard day in a cubicle.
* Perceived crowding and bike on bike user conflict will be significant on the connector…. you’ll see everyone on your way out and once again on your way back. This will reduce the quality of the recreation experience significantly.

BMA believes we should combine the OSBT Loop with the Four Mile Connector…this is why:

* Cyclists are a responsible user group – in 2011 alone we’ve contributed over 2400 hours in volunteer bike patrolling and 2000 volunteer hours doing trail work. We’ve proven mountain bikers can help make this opportunity successful.
* We know how to manage our own user group – and providing the diversity of experiences people are looking for through both the OSBT loop and the Four Mile Connector provides the greatest value to our community for the least impact on other trail users and the environment.
* These trails link in to our existing multi-modal transportation network (e.g., the Boulder Creek Path), allowing us to ride to our ride, be it short or long.
* There are some 100 miles of hiker-only trail available in the West TSA – we’re only asking for a handful of miles to accomplish these important objectives.
* Both trails are critical for our long term vision of a “peaks-to-plains” trail that allows you to go from Nederland to Boulder by bicycle. Right now city open space forms a brick wall that forces us onto roads when we want a long distance adventure.
* Having both trails serves the families, children, and casual riders of Boulder as well as the uber-atheletes of Boulder.
o The OSBT loop provides an excellent recreation experience for people who live in Boulder and don’t want to get into their cars and drive to a trail head.
o Stronger riders will be less likely to do laps. If they’ve got the time and energy, they can take the connector to Betasso for a longer and more remote trail experience.
o This area is bordered to the north by Sunshine Canyon and to the south by Boulder Canyon… no temptation for cyclists to ride where they shouldn’t.
o This trail sits next to the core of Boulder. Whether it be from your front door or from your office downtown, cyclists will warm up on the way to the trailhead (no driving to the trailhead!) and get that 45 to 90 minute experience that is missing from the trail offerings in Boulder now

The OSBT loop with the Four Mile Connector provides the greatest management flexibility and the best trail experience for all users. It reduces or eliminates user conflict by providing hiker-only trail segments, the possibility of directional travel for bikes, and a connection to leverage this access into Betasso Preserve, thus dispersing use. The entire trail system is 8.2 miles, approximately 6 miles would form a shared-use loop and connector trail, the rest would be hiker-only.

Staff’s switchback loop (they call it the “ridge loop”) is a poor user experience for everyone. Two way bike traffic on 25% of this trail will increase perceived crowding and user conflict on the trail. Switchbacks are always a management nightmare because of “cutting” caused predominantly by hikers and because of conflict caused by limited sightlines between different user groups. OSMP has repeatedly denied or threatened to reduce bike access because of user conflict concerns, so let’s not engineer user conflict into the system!

SEE YOU THERE!

ALSO (this is Walt) if you want all the brews you want (be reasonable!) ON ME before the meeting, we’ll meet up at 4:30 at the Mountain Sun downtown. If you’re interested, drop me an email or post a comment. If I don’t hear from anyone, I’ll just hope to see you at the meeting!