OSBT Recommendations on Bikes in the West TSA

The Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) met on February 23, 2011 to provide recommendations on the West Trail Study Area (West TSA) plan put forward by the Community Collaborative Group (CCG) and the Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) staff.

OSBT addressed each mountain bike access idea in a separate vote.  Their votes constitute a set of recommendations to City Council, and council has the final say on if, when, and how mountain bikes will have access to the West TSA.  Therefore you and the rest of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance need to attend the March 15th City Council hearing on the West TSA.

The discussion on mountain bike access was difficult, and the votes were mixed.  Valid and significant concerns were raised - sustainable trail alignment, neighborhood impacts, parking, management concerns, enforcement, etc. - and these concerns weighed so heavily on some OSBT members that they could not support a north-south connector. As we move forward, BMA will work hard to prove that most of their concerns can be addressed through appropriate trail design and user education. Even though most of us are no longer in school, the learning process never ends!

Eldo to Walker

OSBT recommended a multi-use trail from Eldorado Springs to Walker Ranch by a 5-0 vote. While this has been a ‘priority’ for the Open Space and Mountain Parks Department (OSMP) for some 10 years, OSBT suggested that it was not enough to just say yes again. It was time to make it a reality. This is good news for bikes, and we’ll be sure to hold staff to OSBT’s recommendation.

Chapman Drive

OSBT recommended a multi-use trail on Chapman Drive from the Red Lion Inn in Boulder Canyon to Flagstaff Road by a 5-0 vote. While the significance of this connection may not be immediately clear, we believe that it can be part of a mostly off-road connection between the City of Boulder and Walker Ranch. More good news for bikes. Let’s just hope the necessary property is purchased!

Anemone Hill

OSBT recommended that staff further analyze the feasibility of providing a mountain biking opportunity on Anemone Hill by a 3-2 vote. This could be a real mountain biking trail starting from downtown. BMA feels that OSBT did the responsible thing here because the alignments proposed by staff have not been thoroughly ground-truthed. This area is on steep and difficult terrain and will require an advanced professional to design a physically and socially sustainable alignment. It is our intention to ask City Council to direct staff to engage a third party consultant to assist in this feasibility study.

North-South Connector

OSBT recommended AGAINST providing a north-south connector from Greenbriar Drive to the South Boulder Creek Trailhead and on to the South Mesa Trailhead by a 3-2 vote. We won’t sugar coat this – this decision sucks.  But a 3/2 split on OSBT is a good thing for mountain bikers as we head to council. It lets council know that their appointed trustees were split on the issue, giving them the space they need to tackle this issue with fresh eyes.

BMA believes that a trail on the south side of town much like the North Foothills Trail is appropriate, manageable, and provides significant community benefits – especially for families with young children and as an important piece of regional trail connections. BMA will pursue this with city council, but we will need your help to be successful!

Next Steps

Stay tuned for more information about how you can help. And put the Tuesday, 3/15 council meeting on your calendar. This will be the final moment for you to come out and make a difference.