Aspen pushes for a more bike-friendly community
March 24, 2014
The city of Aspen and the Open Space and Trails Board are looking into building a bicycle terrain park in town.
The park could include jumps, berms, table-tops, rolls and/or a pump track, depending on interest from the community. At 4:30 p.m. on April 1, residents are invited to offer input at the Rio Grande Meeting Room. Matt Kuhn, of the Parks Department, said the idea is still in the developmental stage, and the exact cost and location of the park will be determined at a later date — if the city opts to move forward with the project.
"We're trying to determine, if anything, what the residents of the city of Aspen would like to see as a bicycle amenity," Kuhn said.
About a year ago, individuals approached the city about the potential for a kid-friendly bike park, modeled after the ones in Basalt, Snowmass, Carbondale and Crown Mountain Park. If the desire is to build a park for kids, Kuhn said the city will look at locations closer to town — ones in walking distance.
"Part of it is we want to find out from people whether it's really important that it's in the core of Aspen, or could it be 3 miles from Aspen, or not at all," he said. "As one of our steering committee members pointed out, if it is for kids, kids can't drive places, so we want to give the community an opportunity to say, 'Have you thought of this place?'"
The bike-park project would be yet another city attempt to define Aspen as a bike-friendly community. In 2012, Aspen was designated as a silver bike-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists, but the goal is to earn gold and later platinum. In the 2012 audit, bicycle amenities were listed as lacking in Aspen.
The city has begun plans for redesigning the Castle Creek Bridge trail corridor to make it safer for cyclists. There's also the USA Pro Challenge, which Mayor Steve Skadron has been pushing as a key ingredient to Aspen's identity, and there's also the implementation of Aspen's bike-share program WE-cycle.
"I think it's pretty neat," Kuhn said. "You see a lot of cool development happening on Snowmass. You're seeing the Upper Valley Trails Plan, which is trying to tie all these different agencies together — whether it's the Forest Service, the county, the city — making our communities trail-centric, if not bicycle-friendly. And then you look at Castle Creek, and, potentially, this open house. It seems to me like we're getting a critical mass in support of bicycles. And when you add USA Pro Challenge on top of that, it's even more exciting."