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Friday, October 21,2011

City Council to consider allowing cyclists in Anemone Hill area

By Boulder Weekly Staff

Boulder City Council will consider a motion to amend the West Trail Study Area Plan at a special meeting Oct. 25.

The West TSA Plan involved the creation of two new trails in the Anemone Hill area for pedestrians and equestrians. However, after acceptance of the plan, the council directed Open Space and Mountain Parks to explore possibilities for a bike loop or a bike trail within the Anemone area.

After conducting a public hearing in August to discuss the trail designs, staff requested that the Open Space Board of Trustees continue to recommend that City Council support the original plan and not allow mountain biking in the Anemone Hill area. However, the OSBT did not agree and passed a motion to amend the West TSA Plan to include a loop for pedestrian, cycle and equestrian use.

City Council will be discussing the recommendation of the OSMP and the Community Collaborative Group, as well as the plan supported by the OSBT. The former group supports the Anemone Hill trails designed for equestrians and pedestrians, while the latter supports the creation of a loop open to cyclists and a route providing access from the Anemone Hill area to Fourmile Canyon Drive.

Opponents of allowing cyclists in the area are concerned about the environmental effects of granting access, as well as possible disturbances to neighbors due to increased parking needs and traffic, and user conflict and displacement of pedestrians and equestrians.

Proponents of granting access to bikers argue that this will create greater economic opportunities for downtown businesses since it could attract more out-of-town visitors, the creation of these trails will draw visitors away from environmentally sensitive areas, and allowing access will increase the quality of life for Boulder cyclists.

The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance supports the OSBT planned loop and the Fourmile Canyon access route. The group argues that opening the Anemone Hill area to cyclists will create a valuable recreational asset by filling the need for a scenic bike trail close to the city. BMA also points out that the OSBT recommendations will provide alternative routes restricted to hikers and equestrians, should they want to avoid bikers. The group is urging supporters of the amendments to either attend Tuesday’s meeting or email their opinions to the council.

Funding for the new trails will come from OSMP’s portion of the Colorado Lottery Funds.

The public hearing regarding this proposal will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

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