2023 city elections
Bike Fort Collins sent all candidates in the 2023 City Election a short questionnaire to allow them to introduce themselves and provide their positions on proximate bicycle and active transportation-related issues. While BFC cannot endorse or support a specific candidate, we are happy to share their responses to foster more informed voting decisions this year.
Melanie Potyondy – CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT 4
Question: Do you regularly ride a bicycle? If so, what kind of riding do you do?
Answer: I am the proud owner of an Electra Amsterdam, which I ride around Spring Canyon park with my 4 and 9-year-old boys, to neighborhood get-togethers, and to local businesses–shout out to Intersect Brewing for being a bike-friendly destination in southwest Fort Collins! My family also invested in a Rad Wagon e-bike about 2 years ago, which I use to commute to work most days and also to haul my children and various gear around on outings and errands. Between my husband and me, we have almost made it to 2,000 miles on our e-bike since we purchased it.
My family is lucky to live on a street connected to the Spring Canyon Trail, so biking is a way of life for all of us. My husband commutes in all weather to his office downtown and mountain bikes on the weekends, my oldest child bikes with his buddies to school, and my littlest is perhaps a bit too brave at the nearby pump track. We are all proud to live in such a bike-friendly City.
Question: Given Fort Collins’s bicycle friendliness, what City bike amenity (i.e. what bike trail, or bikeway, maintenance stations, etc.), element of bicycle infrastructure, or bicycle program is your favorite, or (if you ride) that you use most regularly?
Answer: The Spring Creek Trail is, hands down, the bike resource I use most frequently. I live in southwest Fort Collins and enjoy a short bike commute to my job at Rocky Mountain High School. The SCT is also my family’s route to our neighborhood schools, the nearest neighborhood pool, the Senior Center for swimming lessons and meetings, and events at the Gardens on Spring Creek and CSU. As I mentioned earlier, my 7-year-old is also a frequent visitor to the pump track at Spring Canyon Park.
ACTIVE MODES PLAN
The City’s most current Active Modes Plan combines and updates the City’s 2011 Pedestrian Plan and 2014 Bicycle Plan as well as incorporating micromobility devices such as scooters and skateboards.
Question: What should be the City’s role in supporting (including funding) active modes of transportation as a safe, affordable, efficient and convenient travel option for people of all ethnicities, ages and abilities?
Answer: I believe the City should continue to expand the urban trail system, invest in infrastructure that mitigates issues at problem intersections, and explore and/or invest in expanded mountain biking routes that minimize hiker/biker conflicts. They should also continue to champion e-bikes, to extend bicycling opportunities to individuals with long commutes, physical limitations, or other obstacles that inhibit a traditional bicycle meeting their needs. Finally, the City should explore and/or expand media and incentive programs that encourage bike commuting to work and school, as well as funding for individuals who experience challenges to purchasing or maintaining a bike.
Question: What role do you see active transportation playing in City’ ability to achieve its goal and reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 (vs. 2005 levels), on its way to carbon neutrality by 2050?
Answer: Reducing travel by car, especially single-occupant vehicles, is critical to the city reaching its ambitious climate goals. The more individuals we can get into the habit of using active alternatives to cars for leisure and transportation, the closer we will get to carbon neutrality. I support programming, infrastructure, and equipment subsidies that enhance residents’ ability to navigate our city car-free; bikes, scooters, skateboards, traditional bikes, and e-bikes, paired with low-emission buses and ride shares, are all key components of our city’s climate action plan.
Significant areas of our local community have gaps or intersections and areas that need improvement as it relates to safe bicycling and walking infrastructure. In addition to being a safety hazard, they discourage residents from these activities, as a recently completed Multi-modal Index also highlights. Bike Fort Collins has begun to feature some of these ‘opportunities’ on our website as Intersection/Facility Focuses, as well as made presentations to the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and Transportation Board.
Question: How would you approach these opportunities and other infrastructure gaps relative to bicycle safety?
Answer: I think it is imperative that the City continually identify and monitor intersections that have proven inefficient and/or unsafe, including review of data collected by outside agencies, like Bike Fort Collins. Underpasses and overpasses are ideal solutions in some settings and, in cases where these are inappropriate or prohibitively expensive solutions, improved crosswalks (i.e., clearly marked, flashing lights, immediate stop) might be a good alternative. Protected bike lanes on main thoroughfares (e.g., recent improvements on Mulberry) could significantly improve riders’ sense of safety and willingness to expand their bike routes. Finally, improvements to the stormwater system to decrease biking issues related to gutter/street flooding and/or ice accumulation would improve rideability.
FORT COLLINS BIKE PARK
Bike Fort Collins is a partner in an initiative started by our peer organization, Overland Mountain Bike Association, to bring a Bike Park to the City of Fort Collins. While Fort Collins is the progressive and bicycle friendly city that it is, many residents have to travel to places like Boulder (see Valmont Bike Park) to access such an amenity. In surveying the community for input during the 2020 Parks & Rec 10-Year Master Planning process, if ‘Mountain Bike Courses’ hadn’t been listed separately from ‘Bike Park’ (as they are contained within Bike Parks), the combined category would have been among the top-four identified/desired amenities by the community. See survey results.
Question: Do you support the planning and construction of a Bike Park for the Fort Collins community? Why or why not?
Answer: Our city prides itself on being healthy, active, and bicycle-friendly and I think a bike park fits right in with those values. An easily accessible bike terrain park would provide Fort Collins residents with ample opportunities for recreation and social connection, fitness, and enjoyment of nature, all while enhancing our climate future by minimizing miles driven to access bike parks in surrounding communities. Having spoken with many neighbors in District 4 while campaigning, a local bike park appears to be a high priority for a wide variety of residents.
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