Vail Daily letter: Confusing routes in Avon
July 22, 2016
Last week I read with enthusiasm that Avon was going to try and make the town more user-friendly for cyclists and walkers. This was a move to create fewer cars on the road and encourage folks to walk or bike to the store, library or wherever. I thought that finally I would not have to walk on sidewalks that all of a sudden end (between the Marriott and Avon Crossing) and others too numerous to mention.
Today as I was walking to and from City Market to pick up a few items, I noticed the new bicycle markings appearing on Beaver Creek Boulevard. They are at best confusing and at worst dangerous.
I am also a biker and as I walked west by the Christie Lodge, I noticed the bike lane abruptly ends by the roundabout. It is always confusing for bikers and drivers sharing a roundabout, but with a designated bike lane on the far right of the road for a biker that may not want to turn right, she would have to cross over several lanes of traffic in a few yards to go straight or make a left-hand turn. I feel it's safer to gradually move over as one approaches the roundabout (using proper hand signals), which by the way would be helpful if cars also signaled when they were departing a roundabout.
After crossing over to the west side of the street going by the First Bank and post office, the bike lane reappears for a few blocks, only to end abruptly by the Comfort Inn feeding into a sidewalk for a block. If a biker used this bike lane (and even the sidewalk for a block) she would have to all of a sudden head out into the street to continue along Beaver Creek Boulevard. If a biker is already out in the flow of traffic, cars know they are there and can easily pass them — but if a biker all of a sudden switches from the designated bike lane into traffic (because the bike lane ends), this is an accident waiting to happen.
If you think this letter sounds confusing, you should try and navigate the bike lane from the stop sign by the Christie Lodge and ride through the roundabout past the Comfort Inn going downvalley. I for one will find an alternate route. If someone can explain to me how this system works, I would be glad to reconsider, but right now it is beyond me how this new system should work.
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