Vail Valley Voices: Avon contemplates pedestrian and bike trails
Vaii, CO, Colorado
Improving pedestrian and bicycle connectivity is a high priority for Avon residents. The Avon Comprehensive Plan sets forth goals to improve connectivity and produce a more walkable and bikeable community.
Significant public support for transportation-related improvements was received during public meetings held between 2006 and 2009, which resulted in following guiding priorities for Avon:
n Prioritize pedestrians, bicycles, and transit riders over cars.
n Improve safety for bikes and pedestrians.
n Facilitate use by both local commuters and recreational guests.
n Expand on recreational options for road biking, mountain hiking, snow shoeing, etc.
n Connect trails to public parking and to transit bus stops.
n Link affordable housing to commercial areas.
n Allow full pedestrian access throughout commercial areas, linking restaurants and lodges.
In the Avon Comprehensive Transportation Plan, transportation experts applied these goals and recommended over $12 million of specific capital improvements to sidewalks, bike lanes, paved paths, non-paved paths, crosswalks, grade-separated crossings, and trailheads.
Together, Avon refers to these non-motorized elements as “trails.” The transportation plan also includes recommendations to transit service and public parking.
In all, over $100 million worth of transportation-related improvements were recommended by the consultants over the next 20-25 years.
Although four additional public meetings were held in 2008 and 2009 prior to Avon’s adoption of the transportation plan, the town desires to receive additional input on which specific improvements are viewed by locals as most critically needed in the near future.
The town would like to include the improvements needed in the next 10-15 years into the Connect Avon Now project. If approved, this project would generate about $7 million to fund trail improvements, would stimulate the local economy and create both permanent jobs and construction-related jobs.
Additionally, about $5 million in grants and contributions from other stakeholders will be sought for projects which benefit multiple entities such as the state Department of Transportation, Eagle County and Vail Resorts.
Examples of trail improvements include new bike lanes along Metcalf Road and West Beaver Creek Boulevard and new sidewalks on Highway 6, Chapel Place, and West Beaver Creek Boulevard. Larger components involve crossing the Eagle River, Highway 6, I-70, and the Union Pacific railroad line. Miles of new and improved recreational trails located in Wildridge or in open space adjacent to Mountain Star are also included in Connect Avon Now.
Cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Mountain Star Homeowners Association, and private property owners will be needed to conduct many of the planned improvements.
In total, Connect Avon Now would result in creation of over 15 miles of new pedestrian, bicycle and recreational trail connections.
This project would also fund installation of signage, production of a user-friendly guide map, and on-going trail maintenance of both Avon’s trails and the portion of the ECO trail that runs through Avon.
Other funding for transit and parking improvements are also a planned part of the Connect Avon Now project.
More information about the future vision for pedestrian, bicycle paths and other trails will be discussed at the Connect Avon Now public open house scheduled for April 29.
You can also visit http://www.avon.org/ConnectAvonNow.com for more information or to comment on this project.
Jaime Walker is the public-relations officer for the town of Avon.