Parks and Recreation Director Patrick Hammer announced to the Erie Board of Trustees on Tuesday that his staff has achieved the goals specified by the Town Board in the 2020 Work Plan to enhance recreational biking opportunities throughout the town.
This was done through capital project planning, enhanced maintenance, regional and local partnerships and community programming, according to Hammer’s presentation.
“What we’re really focusing on is four major projects this year to increase biking,” said Hammer. “One will be the installation of an asphalt pump track … we think it’s going to be a great amenity and really round out that northern end of the park.”
Designs for the pump track have been explained as a looped system of rolling hills and banked turns that allow riders to improve core balance, riding skills and endurance. The track should be finished in about a year at the Erie Community Park, according to Hammer. Wayfinding signage will also be installed before the end of the year along the Coal Creek Trail near the new disc golf course and along the single track trails to communicate appropriate trails for new bike riders.
Additional capital projects included a Unified Development Code (UDC) language update that reinforces code requirements within the existing UDC for developers to build spine trails. Spine trails are wide concrete trails and, whenever possible, are the primary off-road connection between neighborhoods, major activities and regional trails.
The final project presented was the installation of a trail segment over a waterline from the Compass neighborhood to N. 119th St.
“Other things that we’re looking at are things like adding potential striping on the side of the road or doing temporary delineators until more formal trail connections can be built,” said Hammer. “When we look at our overall spine trail network, having a connection through there to get residents around is absolutely a priority.”
After a safety assessment by a hired consultant and walking through the trail system, the department realigned several trail segments, added signage and decommissioned unsafe trail areas to ensure the park worked for beginning and advanced bike riders. Hammer also discussed how they created standard maintenance procedures and recently formed a singletrack working group with the community and Open Space and Trails Advisory Board (OSTAB).
As part of their regional and local partnerships, the department will be evaluating preferred trail alignment with Boulder County for segment 4 of the RTD Regional Trail project. Segment 4 runs from Highway 287 to County Line Road in Erie. Hammer believes this project will allow connectivity between Erie and other communities.
Hammer concluded his presentation discussing recreation programming such as Little Bella’s Mountain Bike Program, that helps young women realize their potential through cycling using Leigh Park, Erie Singletrack and local trails, and Strider Bike Derby, hosted by Parks and Recreation staff for ages 2-5 to promote bicycling and engage youth in an activity they can enjoy throughout their lifetime.
Hammer explained that despite challenges created by COVID-19, they did want to make an effort to improve recreational programming.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am about this,” said Mayor Pro Tem Adam Haid in response to Hammer’s presentation. “This is one of my own passions and I’m completely ecstatic about the direction the town’s going.”