Believe it or not, as bicycle advocates, we agree that traffic congestion is not good, as stated by The Gazette editorial board (The Gazette, Jan. 12). The solution to traffic congestion is not more cars; it is more choices. At Bike Colorado Springs, it’s not about getting people out of their cars; it’s about getting people where they need to go quickly and safely, which includes the option for those who do choose a bike as their form of transportation.
Roads are for moving people safely, and we must think of the future when thinking about our infrastructure. Our city continues to grow with the addition of new apartment buildings in and around downtown; we will not be successful if the only way to safely navigate our city is by car.
While it is true that not everyone can or wants to ride a bike to get around, it is also true that not everyone can or wants to drive a car. One of our focuses at BCS is to show that riding bikes is for everyone, whether you do it for health, environmentalism, recreation, commuting, to save money, necessity or all of the above. The city’s growing network provides a safe and convenient way for commuters, recreational cyclists, students and families to navigate downtown. The freedom to safely move about our city should be a right regardless of your chosen form of transportation. With the demographics of our city changing, it is important that we accommodate the changing transportation needs of our citizens. In 2018, we were named the city with the fastest- growing millennial population, a generation who has been driving at lower rates. Likewise, our city has embarked on an Age Friendly initiative to bring more choices that serve our retiree and senior population who want healthy and economical ways to get around without having to own a car. In order to allow business to thrive, it is important that our city continues to attract this diverse population with amenities that they look for.
We at Bike Colorado Springs wholeheartedly support off-street trails, but these sorts of trails are often focused on recreation, rarely connecting people to destinations. We are excited to celebrate the openings of two key trails and underpasses in the spring of 2019 in the north and western portions of our region. The Cottonwood Creek trail is being completed as part of the Academy bridge project. This trail includes an underpass at Academy Boulevard, which will connect the Pikes Peak Greenway to the Powers corridor.
On the west side, in 2019, we welcome the reopening of the Midland Trail as part of the Westside Avenue Action Plan. This trail, which links downtown to Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs, will include an underpass at Colorado Avenue. These sorts of trails serve as the backbone of our city’s great bicycle network. To make these trails more than simple recreational amenities, it is important for streets leading to these trails from neighborhoods and commercial centers to feel safe for citizens to use as bicycle connections.
We know that most trips in Colorado Springs will continue to be made by automobiles, yet the more mobility options that are available, the less people will be required to use their cars for all tasks. This city’s new comprehensive plan, PlanCOS, understands that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and that different types of neighborhoods need different solutions to be vibrant and successful. We believe that this is a time for collaboration.
We at Bike Colorado Springs are hopeful that our city can come together to shape an agreeable solution that addresses the safety and bike-ability of our city.
Cully Radvillas is the communication committee chair for Bike Colorado Springs.