Friday, October 28, 2011

My Take on MTB Access on City of Boulder OS

I give up on mountain bike access from downtown Boulder.  Why?  Because it is too ingrained in Boulder's culture, staff, and elected officials to think that mountain bikes are the enemy.

Recently, Boulder City Council rejected a proposal that would've created a loop trail on Anemone Hill - basically Settlers Park on Mapleton.  Tons of bike supporters called, wrote letters, and showed up for public comment at the city council meeting.  Didn't even make a dent.  What use is public comment at a meeting when city council people had prepared speeches and notes ready. Were they even prepared to hear what folks had to say?  No.  Like BMAs president Jason Vogel said, 99% of the people in that room had minds made up before they even got there.  It's time to move on and give up on access west of Boulder.  The time may come, but not until elected officials are voted out of office and city staffers move on.  This cultural shift won't happen  anytime soon.

In a recent Boulder Daily Camera Article read, "She [Boulder Mayor Susan Osborne] went on to say that she's "certainly sorry about the rancor" that the issue has caused, but she doesn't think the correct response is for the cycling community to leave the table. "We make tough decisions all the time, and it's really rare that the person or group on the losing side does a, 'I'm going to take my marbles home and I'm not going to play anymore,'" she said. "We have another vote on a mountain biking trail that at least to some people seems like another pretty good option. I don't get the strategy where you basically take no prisoners."

Really?  What does she want us to do, come back for another pounding after receiving continual poundings since being banned on city Open Space since 1984?  It think 27 years of being shot down warrants either not playing their game anymore, or a DRASTIC shift in how we, mountain bikers, policiticize.  

The more we beat our heads against the wall where policy makers obviously don't want us, the more we're going to hurt our chances when it comes to a place where they might actually give us some leeway, like Beech and N Boulder Valley Ranch.

I think it's time to take a step back take a look at what's actually been accomplished. the High Plains and Springbrook area TSAs had great outcomes, but the West TSA was set up for failure from the get go. City Council and OS Staff reconfigured the public process to achieve a desired outcome. Was anyone surprised when the bike ban in the west was upheld? In the ashes of West TSA, council threw it back to staff and said "explore Anenome Hill" in an attempt to immediately appease bike peeps. It wasn't to appease us long term with real access. This last meeting wasn't entirely about access on Anemone, it was about a specific loop trail on Anenome - something BMA asked for but OS staff was against.

Open Space Board of Trustees will convene on 11/2 to discuss a connector over Anenome to 4 mile. Even if Council approves that, once again, they are setting mountain bikers up for a predetermined outcome. An out and back trail in an already crowded area will do nothing but further anti mtb sentiment. Head on traffic, user conflict and too many users on one trail will be the result.

Focusing on mtb access out of Boulder is great, but I think it's unrealistic to see access out of downtown anytime soon, especially given current leadership. Let's focus more on southern and northern access on city property. There is a LOT of potential in Boulder County OS. Walker, Hall, and Rabbit Mt management plans will be up for discussion soon. Let's start refocusing on attainable goals.

Want more and better access from downtown? Call for Mike Patton's resignation and vote those idiots on Boulder city council out of office.

Rant off.  It's time to ride.  Somewhere that's not governed by Boulder City.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Occupy Open Space!