Thank you to all who contacted their County Commissioners a few weeks ago to let them know that the removal of all 9 non-motorized trail projects for the next 10 year cycle of the Pikes Peak Rural Transit Authority (II) ballot initiative.
The County Commissioners listened and they have scheduled a public meeting for Thursday, April 26th. It would be a positive thing to have concerned local citizens attend to voice their opinions on the inclusion of non-motorized trails being a priority and to also thank the Commissioners for delaying the final vote to allow for more input.
Here are the details for the meeting at Centennial Hall, 200 Cascade Avenue
What: IMPORTANT MEETING CONCERNING ALL TRAILS USERS
Where: Centennial Hall, Cascade Ave and Vermijo, Colorado Springs
When: Thursday, April 26, 7-9pm
Why: Ask the County Commissioners to add Transportation Trails projects back into the proposed Capital Program list for PPRTA-2, which will go to the voters in November this year.
Background: El Paso County Trails projects were on the draft list approved by the Commissioners on Feb 28, 2012. Subsequently they were removed. The Commissioners are now holding this public input meeting on PPRTA-2, where trails projects will be considered for re-inclusion, due to TOSC advocacy efforts.
Thank you to all of the wonderful people and transportation cyclists that came out to the El Paso County PPRTA-II open house last night and presented their views on choice transportation cycling and how important having a well built non-motorized paved trail system with great connectivity is to our region, not just for the "right now" but how it's needed to create the future we all want, one with varied, safe and efficient transportation choices.
Due directly to the overwhelmingly strong reaction to the removal of 9 non-motorized trail projects that had originally been approved for the County's PPRTA-II list, they have taken the top 4 projects (which were all presented in great detail last night) and are considering them for inclusion on the ballot. These all provide fantastic off-street transportation options for several communities throughout our region.
My thanks also goes out to our County Commissioners, RTA Board and the Mayors that attended the meeting last night. It was a very good evening of public discussion and input. The next opportunity will be during the Board of County Commissioners meeting next Tuesday, May 1st.
The 4 trail projects listed last night total ~$645,000 out of I believe an ~$80,000,000 total budget. We all realize that there are many roadways in the County and region that need reconstruction or vast repairs but we're asking for a balanced approach to looking at transportation throughout our region. While I and a very small percentage of local area cyclists are comfortable with sharing the roadway with other vehicles, the safety factor of doing so is a huge barrier to more people adopting bicycle trips into their transportation options menu.
It was a very positive experience yes but there are still those among the Commissioners that believe that the non-motorized projects do not need to be on the PPRTA-II list. In fact, the perception is out there that our conservative voting public won't support a PPRTA-II list that has something other than road on it. I'm doing what I can to change that perception...I truly believe that a majority of our regions population is pretty fed up with business as usual and the success of the first 10 years of PPRTA and their opinion of it is proof. Our region needs to change, we need to join in with the other communities across the US that have prioritized creating a modern, safe and connected transportation infrastructure.
A little clip I'd like to share with you all. This is the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood speaking at the National Bike Summit. The top guy in our countries transportation structure and he gets it. I had the pleasure of being in the room for this speech, if they would have panned just a little to the right, I was on the elevated platform. Mr. LaHood is an inspirational speaker and when you realize all that he is doing and has done to help change the mindset of the "just more roads" culture, it's impressive.
Pedal On ~ Allen