Bike-friendly initiative rolls forward, expands to county |

Bike-friendly initiative rolls forward, expands to county

Steamboat Springs resident George Hine rides his bike home from work Thursday afternoon. Hine, who works for Steamboat Springs Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services is able to commute to and from work on his bike - his effort is one of the reasons Steamboat is a bike friendly community.
John F. Russell

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Learn more about the League of American Bicyclists, which administers the nationwide Bicycle Friendly Community Campaign, on the Web at: http://www.bicyclefriend...

— Efforts to improve road conditions for cyclists are expanding beyond city limits.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved a bicycle-friendly community initiative this week, similar to one recently approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council. The county’s initiative states the value of bicycle use in lessening congestion and parking demand, increasing health for citizens and sustaining “our community, our environment and our economy.”

Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush has met with Paul Draper, director of the county Road & Bridge Department, twice this month to discuss ideas for making Routt County more bicycle-friendly. Possible projects include bike-route signage and routine shoulder-sweeping on numerous Routt County Roads such as 129 in North Routt and 14 in South Routt.

Mitsch Bush said increased bike access also could be implemented between the North Routt Community Charter School and the Clark Store; at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden; from the new Routt County Justice Center to U.S. Highway 40 west of downtown Steamboat; and at Decker Park in Oak Creek.

Efforts to make Steamboat Springs bicycle-friendly got rolling in April 2005, when Routt County Riders president Brad Cusenbary engineered a local implementation of the nationwide Bicycle Friendly Community initiative. Awarded by the League of American Bicyclists, BFC designation recognizes communities that provide safe and plentiful bicycle access, and convenient bike parking with a tiered award system.

Steamboat Springs currently has a Level 1 BFC rating.

The initiative accelerated last fall when the City Council hired Emmanuelle Vital of Vital Resources to coordinate the city’s effort for BFC certification.

Vital will provide the city with a complete application to submit in August.

Mitsch Bush said county bicycle-friendly projects could start in the coming fall and use $15,000 already in the county budget, under the Road and Bridge Department’s operational funding.

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