Bridge not needed in Woody Creek
The following letter was originally sent to all Pitkin County commissioners.
I attended the public meeting at the site of a proposed bridge on the Rio Grande trail in Woody Creek on Friday, April 8. Our property, where we have lived for more than 38 years, is adjacent to the trail about one and a half miles west of the proposed bridge. We were here when you had to wait for the coal train to pass on the Rio Grande track in order to leave our house! We have always been supportive of the trail concept for the rail right of way. We enjoy the fact that the trail is packed in the winter for skiing and walking. In fact, we use the trail at least 300 days a year.
We share this information to preface our concern with regard to putting a bridge over the Woody Creek. Frankly, it seems a complete waste of between $300,000 and $350,000 in taxpayer money to reroute the trail to avoid a very short distance of trail that we have already paid to be created. We agree that it is a little steep and has a couple bends in it and we are aware that there has been a very serious accident there. Despite that, there is no sign at the top of the hill to warn of the change in the grade and to slow down. We believe a $25 sign would be a much more efficient use of tax dollars with the same effect. When the trail is paved there can be a warning painted on the asphalt as well.
It was also mentioned at the meeting that there is a desire to have a 14-foot clearance to allow the snow machine to pack and set track. If you are at all familiar with the trail you know that in fact there are lots of stretches along the trail that are narrower than 14 feet. It has been our observation that the trails people have been able to accommodate these areas and we see no reason why the bridge is justified.
The Rio Grande Trail was meant to be a multi-use trail. It is quite popular in the summer with bikers. I myself have witnessed two bike accidents (one of which required an ambulance) where bikers did not see weed- or tree-root bumps that have occurred in the paved path. It is also true that many bikers do not adhere to the trail etiquette of yielding to walkers and horseback riders causing dangerous situations. There are areas of the trail that have very steep hillsides that shed lots of rock fall throughout the year. In the summer, the trail needs more patrolling to help prevent problem bikers and people who insist on walking their dogs unleashed. To us these are much bigger and more pressing problems that should be addressed by the county trails department.
Thank you for your time.
Alfred and Valerie Braun