Boulder Officers Finalize CO 119 Bikeway Plans After Bicycle owner Crash

“It wasn’t quickly sufficient,” says coordinator Stacey Proctor for the Diagonal Freeway 119 Bikeway Design Venture, which introduced Thursday, August 3, that it is lastly reached the end line of its design schedule — simply days after United States Nationwide Crew bicycle owner Magnus White was struck and killed by a automotive whereas on CO 119.

“It is actually exhausting when you recognize you are this near having a a lot safer possibility [for bicyclists],” Proctor explains. “That is positively a problem for our staff.”

Boulder County and the Colorado Division of Transportation on Thursday introduced that plans for the design portion of the 119 bikeway undertaking had been finalized and funding is now full. The bikeway is about to be separated and located away from CO 119 and join Boulder to Longmont. 

Whereas progress is being made towards beginning building in 2024, it hasn’t come quickly sufficient for the cyclists who’ve already been severely injured or killed on the stretch of freeway — a highway that county officers have recognized as one of the crucial harmful within the space.

“We’re working as urgently as we are able to,” Proctor says.

White — a seventeen-year-old from Boulder and member of USA Biking’s junior males’s nationwide staff — was hit by a Toyota Matrix at round 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, whereas touring southbound on CO 119, in line with Colorado State Patrol. Authorities don’t suspect that extreme velocity, medicine and alcohol are attainable elements within the crash. The investigation remains to be ongoing and distracted driving has not been dominated out. No citations have been issued but.

USA Biking broke the information of White’s demise on Sunday, July 30, saying: “White fell in love with biking at an early age by means of Boulder Junior Biking. He was a rising star within the off-road biking scene and his ardour for biking was evident by means of his racing and camaraderie together with his teammates and local people.”

White had been getting ready to compete within the Junior Males’s Mountain Bike Cross-Nation World Championships on August 10 in Glasgow, Scotland. In response to Colorado State Patrol, he was driving towards Boulder on the shoulder of CO 119 — simply south of the intersection at North 63rd Road by Boulder Reservoir — when he was hit from behind by a 23-year-old girl from Westminster, who had allegedly drifted into the best shoulder. White was sporting a helmet and driving a Trek Emonda SL 7 highway bike.

“The group is damaged proper now,” says Cari Higgins, chairwoman of USA Biking and a former professional racer from Boulder. She notes how car-related bike crashes have grow to be a typical factor within the space.

“I am not shocked,” Higgins says. “I imply, consider me, it hits exhausting, and there is plenty of feelings that go into it. … However, shock just isn’t one of many feelings sadly.”

The Boulder biking group is a really giant and tight-knit group of individuals, in line with Higgins. “We proceed to have tragedies, and we proceed to have shut calls,” she tells Westword. “We’re scared to be on these roads. Like many individuals, I attempt to keep off of the busy roads. … but it surely’s inevitable that you just do end up on busier roads for getting again to city.”

Dave Sheanin, one of many coaches for the CU Boulder triathlon staff, agrees with Higgins’ evaluation, however says “shut calls are type of a part of the sport out right here, sadly” in terms of biking. “On any given experience, there’s potential for one thing to occur,” he says.

Sheanin explains that on each bike experience he ever goes on, he tries his greatest to be alert. “It isn’t essentially that somebody virtually hits you each [ride], as a result of that is not the case,” he says. “But it surely’s not unusual that you will have a detailed name. Often it is a shut go — someone will go inside a pair toes. And, I concentrate each time I am going by means of an inside nook as a result of I do know automobiles are slicing that inside nook, as properly.”

At first of every new college 12 months, Sheanin says he and the opposite triathlon coaches spend time speaking about highway security with their pupil athletes earlier than letting them exit on rides. “With the coed athletes who’re model new to the game — a lot of them are model new to triathlon as an entire,” he says. “And for those who’re new to driving a motorcycle or driving a motorcycle in a pack, earlier than the primary experience we exit and do a security orientation. [We] go over the foundations of the highway and what folks count on to see of cyclists.”

Sheanin provides that White’s demise is a tragic reminder of the hazard bikers face out on the roads. “However,” he says, “the unhappy actuality is that on any given week or two week interval, if I needed to make a degree to my athletes I may say, ‘oh properly final Thursday this occurred.’ It is a very cynical means to have a look at it, but it surely would not change the best way now we have to consider being protected on the roads.”

Out of the entire of unincorporated Boulder County, officers say CO 119 — aka the “Diagonal Freeway” —  is among the most harmful roads for bikers and pedestrians. In response to Proctor, it had the second highest variety of bike crashes in a survey that officers carried out — a Imaginative and prescient Zero crash evaluation that the county did between 2009 and 2018, which reveals 5 bikers and one pedestrian experiencing a significant harm on the freeway in that timeframe.

“That is why we have actually been prioritizing getting this bikeway achieved,” Proctor says. “Hopefully it is going to be an enormous enchancment in security and we’ll have much more individuals who wish to use it.”

The bike path between Longmont and Boulder shall be a part of quite a few security and mobility enhancements that CDOT has deliberate for the hall. “The CO 119 Commuter Bikeway shall be constructed along with the CDOT Security and Mobility Venture,” Proctor says.

Different enhancements embrace signage updates at intersections alongside the freeway, visitors sign timing changes, new bus stations and extra.

“CDOT is within the strategy of hiring a contractor,” Proctor says. “As soon as now we have a contractor on-board we’ll work on refining the design and building schedule, however we’re estimating that building will start Q2 of 2024.”