Jefferson County adopts first-ever bicycle plan with proposed (unfunded) routes

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Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of reports about biking and bike safety in Denver and beyond.

Watch out, Denver, the suburbs are taking cycling seriously, too! We've reported on the dramatic rise of cyclists in Denver, and it turns out the healthy debate this news has sparked is also happening in Jeffco, which adopted its first-ever bicycle plan last month.

The bicycle plan, with an accompanying pedestrian plan, was formally adopted on June 13th by the Jefferson County Planning Commission and lays out what currently exists in the bike network and what new lanes and routes are proposed for consideration.

An important caveat: These are proposals, with no associated funding. Rather, it's a road map that bike advocates hope the county will take into consideration when it does have funding, or when it looks to build new roads. Neither county officials nor Jeffco cycling advocates had specific mileage numbers on proposed or existing bike infrastructure, but Dave Evans, chair of advocacy group Bike Jeffco, says he estimates the plan lays out roughly a few hundred miles of new lanes and routes.

You can view the map here and see the existing routes versus proposed ones.

"We see this as a blueprint for the next twenty to 25 years," Evans says. "What we tried to do is come up with a kind of network of major routes to promote bike usages for recreation...and for transportation."

And it's about time, Evans says. "Jeffco is falling behind other counties in the development of bicycle facilities."

Of course, it's quite a different ballgame in Jefferson County, which is much more suburban and sprawling than the urban parts of Denver.

"When Jefferson County was developed...it was developed as a suburb," says Jeanie Rossillon, director of development and transportation for the county. "And retrofitting everything to work for bikes is very difficult. So that's why we need the plan, and that's why I need to tell people it's not going to change overnight."

Still, the new map provides a strong foundation for future planning, she says.

Page down to read more about Jeffco's plan and see a full version of the map.

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