ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- A group of survey takers was out along the South Platte River Trail early Wednesday morning asking cyclists and pedestrians what they can do to improve the trail.
“We hope to understand people’s challenges. Is there a lack of sidewalks, bike lanes to help get them to the trailhead or is there a lack of parking?” said Jenifer Doane, the Communications Manager for Arapahoe County Open Spaces.
The South Platte Working Group is partnering with the cities of Littleton, Englewood and Sheridan as well as South Suburban Parks and Recreation and Arapahoe County to improve the accessibility of the South Platte River Trail and the Mary Carter Greenway Trail.
“We’re all working together because trails don’t stop and end in one city or one county, they’re continuous. And that’s our goal so that people can actually get where they want to go,” Doane said.
To do that, the group conducting a one-year study on the trail itself.
Arapahoe County has already spent quite a bit of money on the trail itself. Last year, it adopted a master plan for changes and improvements it wants to see.
“(We've spent) over $25 million on the South Platte River Corridor and so we want to make sure that people can get here and get here safe and want to utilize the network that’s really connecting all the way from Douglas County up to Denver,” Doane said.
The study is focused on seven locations where access to the South Platte can be difficult or even dangerous. They are:
Out near the River Run trailhead Wednesday, people weren’t afraid to share their opinions.
“There are a couple spots were only on one side you can access the road, so it would be great to have both sides specifically by Belleview,” said cyclist Eric Vogel.
She uses the trail daily and says she feels relatively safe.
Meanwhile, Christine O’Gorman says the trails can be difficult to access.
“It would be nice if I could run here instead of driving here. So, making it accessible to people who are a little bit more in Englewood,” O’Gorman said. “I know with Santa Fe and Broadway there is no accessible way to go over.”
Survey takers will be out along the trail again on Saturday to speak with people using the trail. People can also take the survey online.
The survey will be available until September 14. Public meetings will then begin in January, when the group will present its findings and get more feedback from the community.
The study will wrap up in June 2019 and the group will offer its list of priorities and recommendations to city and county officials.
“You’ve got to get your input now because that helps choose what intersections to focus on and what improvements we need to make to those intersections,” Doane said. “Even though that project may take one to five years, that input now is so valuable. You don’t want to try to give input when the bulldozers are already tearing up the road.”