Nov 182008
 
Authors: Jessica Cline

While officials said the Fort Collins Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting was held to inform the community about its plans before going to the city council with new recommendations, community members were angered because they wanted to be involved with the plan from the start.

Angered community attendants of the meeting at Lee’s Cyclery Tuesday night said they felt as if the city made decisions without first gathering adequate community opinions. In this case, they wanted to be consulted about the bike problems the committee identified and planned to change in the future.

The 2008 Bike Plan was designed by organizations within the community to improve biking conditions in Fort Collins, from increased biker education, to the promotion of bicycling as a main form of transportation.

“This concerns me terribly. No one ever asked the cyclists,” said Sandy Newlin, a Fort Collins community member and cyclist. “We are supposed to be a bike friendly city, but being a cyclist for over 40 years, I can tell you we are not.”

Other community members agreed they did not feel the committee did not have a diverse enough representation.

Many attendees expressed a desire to get the community more involved in the culture of biking and making the city a more bike-friendly town with bigger and more accessible bike lanes, street improvements and increased bike parking.

However, some community members were in full support of the committee and what it is doing.

“This will give us a platform to take ideas to the council. We the people can now go right to the council,” said Rick Price, former Transportation Board member. “Having experienced citizens on the committee who have already sat on boards and committees will be very helpful.”

As part of the 2008 Bike Plan, the BAC was formed as a citizen advisory committee that reports to the Fort Collins Transportation Board. The committee includes representatives from 15 different boards and groups around Fort Collins, including representatives from UniverCity, Bike Fort Collins, the Fort Collins Bike Co-op and CSU.

“We want a broader perspective and we want to bring different ideas from all different demographics together in a cross pollination of ideas,” said Dave Kemp, a bicycle coordinator for the Transportation Planning & Special Projects Department in Fort Collins.

The committee will address issues of inconveniently placed bike lanes, bike safety enforcement and establishing Fort Collins as a more bike-friendly environment officials said.

Kemp said the city is striving to meet the national standards set by the League of American Bicycles and wants to reach platinum status by improving conditions, safety, and routing. Fort Collins is currently at a gold status.

Kemp said he got lots of feedback on how the community felt about the committee, how the committee should be regulated, and who should be added to the committee to sit in on meetings and get involved.

“We have solid recommendations from the Bicycle Plan, but the bicycle advisory committee is helping build towards achieving those and getting new ideas,” Kemp said.

Staff Writer Jessica Cline can be reached at news@collegian.com

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