Geoff from Lakewood writes, “What is driving you crazy? The Bear Creek Bike Path west of Federal to S. Lowell Blvd is a very dangerous and uneven path, especially dangerous when the path crosses the road at S. Lowell with no discernible crosswalk. Is it going to take someone getting killed at this intersection before something is done about it? As a bike commuter I use this route every day, and every morning and every evening it is a very dangerous problem.
That part of the Bear Creek bike path is a tough one. The City of Sheridan is the one taking the lead to make that bike crossing safer and it has been more than a challenge for them. They too have received many complaints from bike riders who have experienced near misses with cars. Especially from the students over at Mullen High School.
The process has been going on since 2014 when Sheridan commissioned a feasibility study looking at different alternatives to solve this travel problem. The study resulted in five different ideas of varying costs and designs. One design had the trail going under Lowell. However cost and flooding concerns were the major obstacles there. Another idea involved building a pedestrian/bike bridge over Lowell but again the cost was a problem reaching nearly $750,000.
The preferred plan right now is to loop the bike path on the east side of Lowell into the CDOT maintenance area, restripe and narrow the vehicle lanes, create a separated bike lane with breakaway barriers and rebuild the intersection at King Street to make it a 90 degree angle at Lowell.
Jennifer Henninger, consulting planner with the City of Sheridan tells me this is the most cost effective option right now. “It’s still several hundred thousand dollars. We are in the process of applying for a special use permit with CDOT who owns a maintenance facility there to bow the trail out onto CDOT property and keep the bike traffic on the east side of Lowell,” said Henninger.
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The next step is city is using their phase two planning grant to create the construction documents that would eventually be used to apply for another grant that would help pay for the construction. The city of Sheridan would also contribute to the construction cost of the project expected to be just shy of $400,000.
Henninger says the reason this improvement is taking so long is the City of Sheridan has to coordinate many moving parts and a lot of players including CDOT, Arapahoe County, City of Denver, City of Sheridan, Army Corps of Engineers and South Suburban Parks and Recreation. All of the agencies have some control or ownership at this intersection.
“All the stakeholders have been great to work with and are being as responsive as they can be. Unfortunately it is not a quick or cheap fix but we are aware of the issue and doing what we can to make it safer,” Henninger said.
Henninger says they are aiming to have the construction documents completed by November and submit the grant application by February, 2017 to Arapahoe County.
“In a perfect world we would have approval in the spring and would have enough money to match the grant and then we would get a contractor on board and start work in the fall of 2017.”
That is still a year away Geoff if all goes according to plan. And it sounded to me during my conversation like that is a pretty big if because of all the different layers of government in this case.
Jennifer told me if anyone does want to talk further feel free to contact her at the city of Sheridan.
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