Lauren Nagle & The Hex Wenches: An International Women’s Day Highlight

In honor of International Women’s Day, Bike Fort Collins would like to highlight Lauren Nagle and the work she has done with the Hex Wenches to help women become more knowledgeable, capable, and empowered when it comes to understanding their bike, how it works, and how to fix it. 


Like many, when I moved to Fort Collins I had my first experience with Tour de Fat, where I saw someone trade the keys to their car for a bike. My mind was blown and I was so intrigued by the idea. I started thinking about what it would be like to not have a car. I would later become friends with that someone over a decade later, not knowing it was her who inspired me until we were a few months into our friendship and we were sitting in her bus talking about why I ride a bike everywhere (thanks, NBB and Mana!) But that’s a different story for a different time. 

Where was I? Oh yeah. I started thinking about it more and more, and I eventually decided I didn’t need a festival and a stage to make such a dramatic life change, so I sold my car and started walking and carpooling everywhere. One day a friend gave me a bike so I could speed up my commute. It was a spray painted rust-a-thon, seemingly an ancient relic of the bike days of yore, and not the cool kind. Nothing fit right, and I don’t even know how I rode it around. I had no clue what I was doing, and one day I snapped the rusted chain crossing at College and Prospect in busy traffic. One bloody shin later, I became a walker again. A few months later a different friend gave me a much nicer and fully tuned bike because she upgraded hers. This bike, my first true love, is named Big Red. She is a 90s era Cannondale M300 in catchup and mustard colors. I commuted everywhere so fast and zippy compared to walking. I didn’t have a helmet or lights, but that didn’t stop me from riding at night because I didn’t know better (it’s the law to have a white front light, some side reflection, and at a minimum a rear red reflector, so don’t be like me. Obey the law and be safer for it.) Now that I had this serious machine I started riding with a friend for exercise, not just commuting. He had a vintage Tomasini road bike with an all original Campagnolo gruppo, and I had Big Red outfitted with the finest used parts. I felt this whole new world opened up to me that involved pushing myself, seeing so many beautiful places in nature, and freedom. I rode the dams, that Tomasini the carrot to my Big Red donkey. I hammered my heart out,  and my chest filled with the bright dreams of adventure and fun. And then my shifting cable snapped. 

At a loss for what to do, I asked my road bike laden friend how to fix the bike myself. We got a new cable and some housing and he set out explaining how to go about the repair. I was so lost and didn’t even know what the parts of a bike were called. I tried my hardest, but he still got frustrated and angrily pushed me out of the way and just did the repair himself. I thought to myself No. Effing. Way. I vowed to never be put into the position of being mansplained to again, to be cast aside due to my own ignorance, to be made to feel like the thing I just fell in love with was my enemy because I didn’t understand it. This was cemented by the fact that he cut both the cable and the housing with a saw at the end of the repair. This really couldn’t be how people fixed bikes, could it? 

A few days later I saw a listing for a women’s wrenching night at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op, cleared my schedule, and showed up ready to learn. At the class I was both intimidated and appreciative of everyone’s effortless confidence and knowledge. I wanted what they already had. I wanted it so bad that I put everything I had into learning about what made my Big Red tick. You can fast forward to today, and I head up the Hex Wenches at the Bike Co-op, the current iteration of that women’s class that is aimed at trans, femme, non-binary, and also women. I am a recipient of the QBP Mechanics Scholarship and have recieved a formal education in bicycle mechanics from UBI. I am an avid gravel racer with a penchant for riding a bike with tires that are way too wide, and I hope I inspire people like those women inspired me at my first class. 

I recently have finally accepted that sometimes it is worth taking your bike to a shop, and I let a mechanic work on one of my bikes for the first time (shout out to Chris at proVelo!) I know when I drop my bike off I can communicate clearly what I want done, I know how long and what it takes for the job to be done, and for it to be done correctly. The confidence in learning that I have about bicycle mechanics came from the seed planted by those women at that first class. Yes, it was bolstered by my UBI education, but it didn’t come solely from there. I try to instill the same confidence in learning in every student that comes to the Hex Wenches because when you plant the seeds of capability, the places it can take you are endless. Well, so far not to space, but here’s to futures! 
 
-Lauren Nagle
 
About Lauren: You can usually find Lauren (@casuallydrowned) at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op teaching with the Hex Wenches, working for the City of Fort Collins in the FC Moves Department, or on the enigmatic and sweet #karenthefatbike, getting into all sorts of adventures. An avid gravel racer and bikepacker, who has been mostly car free for over a decade (there was a stint once with a pickup truck that lasted a few months), Lauren enjoys riding and racing with the Fort Follies and First City Cycling Team. Lauren is also a prolific high fiver, so get that hand ready. 
 
Photo Credit: Gritchelle Fallesgon (@gritchelle)

Funding the Future of Mountain Biking in Colorado

With continued population growth in the state of Colorado, our trail systems have experienced an exponential degree of stress and strain. As more and more people are drawn to this mountain biking mecca we call home, environmental and economic sustainability issues begin to emerge. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources (CDNR) recognizes this issue and has begun exploring trail development and maintenance funding options… which leads us to the “mildly” contentious issue of trail user fees. Currently on the table is a bill proposed by CDNR to require a $25 annual registration fee to ride many of the trails in the state of Colorado.

CDNR originally presented the trail user fee in 2017 at a Colorado Mountain Bike Summit hosted by the Overland Mountain Bike Association (OMBA). From these discussions OMBA, Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (Aspen) and the Colorado Mountain Bike Association (Denver) combined efforts to bring all major Colorado mountain bike groups together for a weekend of meetings in Crested Butte. Ultimately, the bill did not receive a majority of support from those in attendance. Objection to the bill was mostly in response to the financial burden placed on mountain bikers specifically and the 20% allocation to administrative overhead.

The collective position of these mountain bike groups was expressed through a formal letter submitted by Pete Piccolo, executive director of Bicycle Colorado. With only 40% support from the mountain bike organizations involved in these discussions, a recent Bicycle Colorado post indicates that the bill is unlikely to pass in 2020. Similar efforts failed in Wyoming under HB0272 requiring car decals at $15/year. Innaction is not an option; however, and further work is needed to craft a bill that will garner the support of the Colorado mountain bike community.

OMBA executive director, Kenny Bearden, intends to continue his direct involvement in exploring funding sources for new and existing trails. According to Bearden, there are currently well over 40 trail projects throughout the state of Colorado in need of funding at a cost of over $25M. This estimate does not include the ongoing issue of maintenance and rerouting of existing trails. From Bearden’s perspective, harnessing the support of stakeholders is all about framing the issue in a positive context. Threatening user fees on the outset tends to aggravate and deter even the most avid of riders. Instead, Bearden would like to initiate the stakeholder discussion by posing a more positive, proactive question around the development of a funding program that supports MTB-optimized trails statewide. 

We live in a unique mountain biking town that offers easy access to an extensive network of trails and even provides protected bike lanes to help get you there safely. The continued support and growth of this incredible resource is an important part of getting more people on bikes and therefore supports the mission of Bike Fort Collins.

BFC looks forward to staying on top of this issue in 2020 and will be sure to keep our readers informed as more details are available.

And in the meantime, consider joining Overland Mountain Bike Association!

Bike to Work Day and Bike From Work Bash 2019

With temperatures hovering in the mid to high teens, it was a chilly start to Winter Bike to Work Day 2019 (the coldest since 2016). Nevertheless, roughly 1,700 bike commuters (unofficial count) visited the 42 breakfast stations represented by over 100 local businesses. Bike Fort Collins found its home at breakfast station #32 located at the intersection of Mason and Spring Creek Trail. Other organizations at station #32 included the U.S. Forest Service, Whole Foods, the Human Bean, Consuelo’s, Great Harvest Bread Company, and Drake Cycles. We are most grateful for Roy Mita of the U.S. Forest Service and his efforts in organizational coordination. No easy task!
 
The BFC team enjoyed engaging participants with the “Legal or Not” quiz, giving out BFC bells, and sending folks on their way with a handy bike route map. Visitors to breakfast station #32 also enjoyed breakfast burritos, warm bread, coffee, homemade cider and simple bicycle repairs/mechanical assistance. Despite frigid temperatures, our station engaged with no less than 306 Winter Bike to Work Day participants. BFC looks forward to returning to station #32 for Bike to Work Day 2020 in June!
 
You can find great photos from the day at the Coloradoan, BFC’s own FB page, and the shared google pics folder.
 
The day’s events wrapped up with the 6th Annual Winter Bike From Work Day Bash, graciously held at Odell Brewing. Everyone (of age) who showed up on a bike received a free (FREE!) beer and an entry to win a wide array of awesome giveaways provided by Brave New Wheel, Otter Box, VeloFix, Fort Collins TREK (south), Niner Bikes, Marriott Fort Collins, and Odell Brewing. The festivities were made merrier with live music by Harmony and Brad and the grand finale bike giveaway furnished by Brave New Wheel. We are so very grateful for their support and the support of all the amazing Fort Collins businesses that made the bash a huge success.
 
Many thanks to Bill Alexander, Clint Knapp and Steve Archambault for volunteering their time to the day’s events!

2019 Candidate Questionnaire: Wade Troxell, Mayor

As a heads up, this election will be mail only. By March 18 all registered voters will be mailed their ballots and will need to be returned to the City Clerk by 7 p.m. on April 2. 

All voters will be electing a new mayor, and voters in Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be electing representatives. In addition to those elections, voters will be presented with ballot and financial issues, or initiated, referred ordinances and/or resolutions. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years candidates. The questions and responses are below are from Wade Troxell, Mayor.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

QUESTIONS IN BOLD AND ANSWERS IN REGULAR TEXT:

Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

Yes and I would like to ride my bike for recreation and sometime on my daily business routine. I would like to ride my bicycle more.

If so, where is your favorite place to ride?

Long View trail is my new favorite! Mason Trail is my regular favorite.

What do you feel are the top two barriers to bicycling in Fort Collins?

Seamless integration of multimodal transportation systems with safe routes to everywhere with a goal of zero fatalities.

What should be the City’s role in supporting transit as a safe, affordable, efficient and convenient travel option for people of all ages and abilities?

City planning and its role in transportation system integration is critical for safe, affordable, efficient and convenient travel for all ages and abilities.

Do you support paid public parking? Please explain your reasoning.

Yes, we need revenue to support the City’s multimodal transportation systems.

Vision Zero

The Transportation systems section of our new City Plan draft refers to developing a safety enhancement action plan for all modes based on the City’s commitment to Vision Zero. Denver has adopted a Vision Zero action plan including mandatory progress reporting.

Should the City of Fort Collins have a formal role supporting, implementing, and reporting on Vision Zero?

Transportation systems are undergoing systemic changes. During these changes, I would like to see the City adopt Vision Zero.

If so, what should that role be?

It should begin discussions to have it be a component of the City’s Master Transportation Plan.

Distracted Driving

What is your opinion of the Distracted Driving Bill (SB 19-012), currently under consideration in the State legislature?

I need to learn more about this legislation and request an evaluation to establish a policy position by the City Council’s Legislative Policy Review Committee.

Infrastructure

Significant areas of our local community have gaps in local bicycling and walking infrastructure. In addition to the safety hazard they discourage residents from these activities.

How would you approach filling in those infrastructure gaps?

City Council has aggressively been addressing and currently funding these gaps including meeting the our Congressional Delegation and US DOT. I am interested in Vision Zero and the implication that more needs to be done and when.

2019 Candidate Questionnaire: Lori Brunswig, Councilmember District 6

As a heads up, this election will be mail only. By March 18 all registered voters will be mailed their ballots and will need to be returned to the City Clerk by 7 p.m. on April 2. 

All voters will be electing a new mayor, and voters in Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be electing representatives. In addition to those elections, voters will be presented with ballot and financial issues, or initiated, referred ordinances and/or resolutions. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years candidates. The questions and responses are below are from Lori Brunswig, Councilmember District 6.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

QUESTIONS IN BOLD AND ANSWERS IN REGULAR TEXT:

Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

No, I don’t bike regularly anymore. I biked everywhere and have all
my life until about eight years ago. My kids and I biked together in the
neighborhood and Rolland Moore Park and then following Spring
Creek to the Poudre River Trail when they were young. Since then, I
have tried riding north on my bike from my house (Ridgewood and
Stuart) which requires riding on Shields St. or on Taft Hill Road.
Both routes are very busy and I felt very unsafe. I also don’t like
breathing the car emissions.

If so, where is your favorite place to ride?

I loved the bike trails in Rolland Moore Park. My kids and I would
ride through the park and then east to Dairy Queen and back. As
the kids got older, we would ride down the Poudre River Trail and
back.

What do you feel are the top two barriers to bicycling in Fort Collins?

One barrier for me is my concerns about riding in a small bike lane
along a busy street. The other barrier is the lack of ways to bike
north and south that don’t require being on a busy street and
breathing vehicle emissions.

What should be the City’s role in supporting transit as a safe,
affordable, efficient and convenient travel option for people of all
ages and abilities?

It is critical that the City is involved in providing a way that people
of any ability have transit options available to them. We need to
step up as a City and fund these options from better bike lanes to additional buses. We need to reduce the number of cars on the roads to reduce accidents and protect our air quality.

Do you support paid public parking? Please explain your reasoning.

Yes, we need public parking but we would not need as much if the
City provided better ways for citizens to get around in Fort Collins
other than driving a vehicle everywhere.

Vision Zero

The Transportation systems section of our new City Plan draft refers
to developing a safety enhancement action plan for all modes based
on the City’s commitment to Vision Zero. Denver has adopted a
Vision Zero action plan including mandatory progress reporting.

Should the City of Fort Collins have a formal role supporting,
implementing, and reporting on Vision Zero?

Yes

If so, what should that role be?

If the City doesn’t take a formal role supporting, implementing, and
reporting on Vision Zero then who would this be? The City needs to
back this idea and be willing to implement the plan and track and
report its progress. Safer streets benefit everyone.

Distracted Driving

What is your opinion of the Distracted Driving Bill (SB 19-012),
currently under consideration in the State legislature?

I support this bill. I am continually seeing vehicles where the driver
is texting. Many times, these people are young but over the age of
18 so to just restrict drivers using cell phones under 18, is not very
helpful. This bill will save the lives of other drivers but especially
protect pedestrians and bikers from injuries.

Infrastructure

Significant areas of our local community have gaps in local bicycling
and walking infrastructure. In addition to the safety hazard they
discourage residents from these activities.

How would you approach filling in those infrastructure gaps?

Yes, there are some extremely dangerous roadways in town where
riding a bike or walking is not safe. And, these areas are in places
where you would likely see a high use of bikes, such as near CSU.
For instance, along Shields, north of Prospect and Taft Hill, north of
Prospect are very dangerous roadways for bikes and pedestrians.
I’m not an expert on transportation but more funds need to be used
in these areas to create safer lanes for bikes and walkers. It needs
to have a higher priority for funding and I will push for this, if
elected.

2019 Candidate Questionnaire: Glenn E. Haas, Councilmember District 1.

As a heads up, this election will be mail only. By March 18 all registered voters will be mailed their ballots and will need to be returned to the City Clerk by 7 p.m. on April 2. 

All voters will be electing a new mayor, and voters in Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be electing representatives. In addition to those elections, voters will be presented with ballot and financial issues, or initiated, referred ordinances and/or resolutions. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years candidates. The questions and responses are below are from Glenn E. Haas, Councilmember District 1.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

QUESTIONS IN BOLD AND ANSWERS IN REGULAR TEXT:

Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

No, not regularly

What do you feel are the top two barriers to bicycling in Fort Collins?

No bikes lanes or trails in NE District 1, we are disconnected from the City system and it is dangerous to ride on the streets in this area.

What should be the City’s role in supporting transit as a safe, affordable, efficient and convenient travel option for people of all ages and abilities?

Builders should be responsible for providing trails and bikes lanes in their development. The City should be a principle provider of transit.

Do you support paid public parking? Please explain your reasoning.

Yes, users should pay a fee for the service and privilege.

Vision Zero

The Transportation systems section of our new City Plan draft refers to developing a safety enhancement action plan for all modes based on the City’s commitment to Vision Zero. Denver has adopted a Vision Zero action plan including mandatory progress reporting.

Should the City of Fort Collins have a formal role supporting, implementing, and reporting on Vision Zero?

I need to become informed on this topic. Sorry but I cannot provide a well informed response.

Distracted Driving

What is your opinion of the Distracted Driving Bill (SB 19-012), currently under consideration in the State legislature?

I need to become informed on this topic. Sorry but I cannot provide a well informed response.

Infrastructure

Significant areas of our local community have gaps in local bicycling and walking infrastructure. In addition to the safety hazard they discourage residents from these activities.

How would you approach filling in those infrastructure gaps?

Builders should be held responsible for new subdivisions and then City Streets plan must include and address as the budget is available.

2019 Candidate Questionnaire: Kristin Stephens, Councilmember District 4

As a heads up, this election will be mail only. By March 18 all registered voters will be mailed their ballots and will need to be returned to the City Clerk by 7 p.m. on April 2. 

All voters will be electing a new mayor, and voters in Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be electing representatives. In addition to those elections, voters will be presented with ballot and financial issues, or initiated, referred ordinances and/or resolutions. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years candidates. The questions and responses are below are from Kristin Stephens, Councilmember District 4.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

QUESTIONS IN BOLD AND ANSWERS IN REGULAR TEXT:

Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

I did until my bike was stolen.

If so, where is your favorite place to ride?

Spring Creek Trail, and around the neighborhood with my kids.

What do you feel are the top two barriers to bicycling in Fort Collins?

  1. Lack of bike infrastructure, and low stress routes
  2. People being uncomfortable with biking, e.g. don’t understand traffic rules, don’t have the right equipment, or don’t know how to access trails

I know you only asked for 2, but I think affordability is also an issue. Bikes, and helmets can be expensive for working families.

What should be the City’s role in supporting transit as a safe, affordable, efficient and convenient travel option for people of all ages and abilities?

I believe providing transit opportunities and safe routes across our city is a core function of city government.

Do you support paid public parking? Please explain your reasoning.  

I think we should investigate more paid public parking. We don’t want to inhibit economic health, but we should recoup some of our costs.

Vision Zero

The Transportation systems section of our new City Plan draft refers to developing a safety enhancement action plan for all modes based on the City’s commitment to Vision Zero. Denver has adopted a Vision Zero action plan including mandatory progress reporting.  

Should the City of Fort Collins have a formal role supporting, implementing, and reporting on Vision Zero?

I think this would be a great plan to pursue, and I would support this.

If so, what should that role be?

I think the city would need many partners to achieve Vision Zero. So the city would need to be a convener and collaborator. Ultimately, the city would be responsible for creating the infrastructure to support this vision, and the city would like be reporting progress to the public on a city website.

Distracted Driving

What is your opinion of the Distracted Driving Bill (SB 19-012), currently under consideration in the State legislature?

I am in favor of this bill, and believe people should not use handheld phones while driving; it is just too dangerous.

Infrastructure

Significant areas of our local community have gaps in local bicycling and walking infrastructure. In addition to the safety hazard they discourage residents from these activities.

How would you approach filling in those infrastructure gaps?

I believe we have identified some of these gaps, and we need to prioritize them. We need to make sure we have safe routes to schools, and we also need to make sure that we are adding this infrastructure in an equitable way across the city.

2019 Candidate Questionnaire: Fred Kirsch, Councilmember District 6

As a heads up, this election will be mail only. By March 18 all registered voters will be mailed their ballots and will need to be returned to the City Clerk by 7 p.m. on April 2. 

All voters will be electing a new mayor, and voters in Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be electing representatives. In addition to those elections, voters will be presented with ballot and financial issues, or initiated, referred ordinances and/or resolutions. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years candidates. The questions and responses are below are from Fred Kirsch, candidate for Councilmember of District 6.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

QUESTIONS IN BOLD AND ANSWERS IN REGULAR TEXT:

Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

Yes. I’m more of a walker though.

If so, where is your favorite place to ride?

I ride around Old Town mostly, as a commuter.

What do you feel are the top two barriers to bicycling in Fort Collins?

I don’t really know. Maybe connections in the southeast? Knowledge of the best routes through town? I know that bike theft sucks! I look forward to working with Bike Fort Collins and others to improve biking and walking in town.

What should be the City’s role in supporting transit as a safe, affordable, efficient and convenient travel option for people of all ages and abilities?

Transfort should strive for the goal of “getting people where they want to be, when they want to be there.” Transfort should be built out as a grid system with simple and easy routes: The Prospect route, the Mulberry route, the Shields route, etc. You shouldn’t have to go through CSU to take a straight road across town. Transfort should have shorter head times and longer hours. The busses should be electric. Maybe ride-share can be incorporated to address the first/last mile challenge. The fare should be a dollar or free. Free on any “BRT” routes. There are reduced price passes for income qualified folks right?

I’ve heard of problems with dial-a-ride and para-transit. I need to work with those constituents to discover their needs and wants and work towards solutions.

How are we gonna pay for this? Maybe we should create a Northern Colorado RTD funded through property tax.  

Do you support paid public parking? Please explain your reasoning.  

Sure, as long it is a net revenue gain for the City. I don’t think it will reduce driving or change any behavior.

Vision Zero

The Transportation systems section of our new City Plan draft refers to developing a safety enhancement action plan for all modes based on the City’s commitment to Vision Zero. Denver has adopted a Vision Zero action plan including mandatory progress reporting.  

Should the City of Fort Collins have a formal role supporting, implementing, and reporting on Vision Zero?

I thought we were doing this is conjunction with CDOT. We should be doing it.

If so, what should that role be?

The role laid out in the annual traffic safety report makes sense to me, but I am always open to learn more about it and explore opportunities for improvement.

Distracted Driving

What is your opinion of the Distracted Driving Bill (SB 19-012), currently under consideration in the State legislature?

The bill makes sense to me.

Infrastructure

Significant areas of our local community have gaps in local bicycling and walking infrastructure. In addition to the safety hazard they discourage residents from these activities. How would you approach filling in those infrastructure gaps?

If we are not doing this already, I would first want to survey the area residents to see if this is a priority in the local infrastructure and I want data about the gap area of concern. Is it a highly used and dangerous corridor? Is it never used because there is a better walking/biking route? After collecting data we can prioritize projects for completion. One thing that always bugged me is the disappearing bike lanes right when you need them the most, at dangerous intersections. How many bike/car accidents have occurred at Prospect and Shields? I’d rather not have a bike lane on a busy road then have one that just vanishes at the intersections.

2019 Candidate Questionnaire: Michael Pruznick, Mayor

As a heads up, this election will be mail only. By March 18 all registered voters will be mailed their ballots and will need to be returned to the City Clerk by 7 p.m. on April 2. 

All voters will be electing a new mayor, and voters in Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be electing representatives. In addition to those elections, voters will be presented with ballot and financial issues, or initiated, referred ordinances and/or resolutions. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years candidates. The questions and responses are below are from mayoral candidate Michael Pruznick.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

Questions in bold and answers in regular text:

Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

Not any more, too unsafe, too much congestion.

If so, where is your favorite place to ride?

Pruznick lives along the Remington Low Stress Bikeway. Pruznick used to ride the loop from his home to the Fossil Creek Trail to the Mason Trail to the Spring Creak Trail to the Power Trail and back home.

What do you feel are the top two barriers to bicycling in Fort Collins?

Weather and safety.

What should be the City’s role in supporting transit as a safe, affordable, efficient and convenient travel option for people of all ages and abilities?

Pruznick’s philosophy is that government exists to protect and promote the general welfare by honoring human and environmental rights. Pruznick strongly believes in transportation options and is a long-time supporter of bikes, e-bikes, 4-wheel e-bikes, Segways, street legal solar powered electric golf carts, and more.

Pruznick believes all forms of travel should be safe and efficient, and that infrastructure should be designed to minimize conflicts between different travel types.

Do you support paid public parking? Please explain your reasoning.

Pruznick supports a mix of parking options, including paid and free. Pruznick believes in each rate class paying its fair share. Pruznick doesn’t support taxpayer funded free parking for downtown business when other businesses are required to provide privately funded parking for their customers. On the other hand, parking for government public engagement events should be free.

Vision Zero

The Transportation systems section of our new City Plan draft refers to developing a safety enhancement action plan for all modes based on the City’s commitment to Vision Zero. Denver has adopted a Vision Zero action plan including mandatory progress reporting.

Should the City of Fort Collins have a formal role supporting, implementing, and reporting on Vision Zero?

Yes.

If so, what should that role be?

A commitment to update street and development standards so that the new growth coming to north east Fort Collins meets Vision Zero design standard.

Distracted Driving

What is your opinion of the ,Distracted Driving Bill (SB 19-012) currently under consideration in the State legislature?

Data shows clearly that multi-tasking, not the hand held device, is the problem. Pruznick supports a two fold solution. 1) Priority based drivers’ education. Think about this quote from the movie Sully, “No matter what happens never stop flying the airplane.” Teaching people to drive first, talk second will provide a better solution. This approach addresses all distractions, not just the hand held device distraction. 2) Stiffer penalties for at fault accidents. Probation and apology videos for vehicular manslaughter is unacceptable. As long as there is no meaning penalty for killing with a car, the killing will continue.

Infrastructure

Significant areas of our local community have gaps in local bicycling and walking infrastructure. In addition to the safety hazard they discourage residents from these activities. How would you approach filling in those infrastructure gaps?

Pruznick would look for the Transportation Board and Bicycle sub-committee to work with staff to develop needed updates to development codes to ensure that these concerns are eliminated from new development and a prioritized list of issues to address within existing infrastructure. It would then be council’s job to update codes as soon as possible and to fund improvement projects. Pruznick recognizes alternative transportation as an equal with traditional transportation and would ensure equal support in the budgeting process.

Bike Fort Collins Announces Interim Executive Director

 
Bike Fort Collins (BFC) continues to evolve as an organization. This past year we’ve increased our efforts supporting transportation equity; continued to educate Poudre School District students; promoted bike share use for adults of all income-levels; and encouraged local business support for their employee and customers’ bicycling efforts.
 
When our previous Executive Director left at the end of 2017, BFC felt we could not financially afford a replacement at that time. In January of last year, Bruce Henderson volunteered to step down as Board President and become Operations Manager, focusing on the key management tasks. 
 
Upon evaluating this change one year later, Bruce’s role has continued to evolve. While overall BFC management is more controlled, the focus on leadership was unfortunately not given the time it needed. Less time was devoted to driving the organizational vision and direction; on strong strategic communication; cultivating strategic partnerships; and developing that strong recognizable organizational image.
 
Hiring a full time dedicated Executive Director, who can provide an important leadership focus, is in the best interest of BFC. 
 
Unfortunately, BFC is still not in a position of being able to afford a full-time dedicated Executive Director. Our best estimate is having the funds available  in two to three years. Recognizing a greater leadership focus is essential in the interim, and so the BFC Board has approved changing Bruce’s title from Operations Manager to Executive Director.
 
Bruce will focus more time on leadership, and less on management. As a result of this change,  you, the community, should see more local visibility from BFC,  more accessibility, and more public opinions on important local issues. 
 
As needed, BFC may optionally decide to supplement some of our management operations with contract help. 
 
As noted, we expect to hire a full-time Executive Director within two to three years. At that time, Bruce will switch back to a more operational role.
 
Questions, comments or interested in getting involved in some way? Feel free to email BFC at info@bikefortcollins.org, or contact Bruce directly at bruce.henderson@bikefortcollins.org
 

2018 Election: County Commissioners and State Transportation Propositions

This Year Election Day is Tuesday November 6!

County clerk’s throughout the state have already begun mailing out ballots. While Coloradans can register and vote through Election Day, October 29 is the last day to register and receive a mail-in ballot. 

As your local bicycling nonprofit, Bike Fort Collins feels informed voters are an important mechanism to support safe enjoyable roads for ALL cyclists in our community. Each election year there are candidates for both local offices and local ballot measures that could have some impact upon our bicycling environment. With the objective of educating voters on local candidates views towards bicycling, we’ve sent a short questionnaire to this years County Commissioner candidates. The questions and responses are below.

Bike Fort Collins cannot take any official position endorsing candidates, this is information for you to potentially consider when making your own decisions.

County Commissioner Candidate Questionaries 

Candidate: John Kefalas

Where is your favorite place to ride your bicycle?

I mostly ride my bicycle for commuting purposes such as when I need to be on the CSU campus. That said, I enjoy riding and running along the Poudre Trail – starting in Martinez Park and heading mostly west and sometimes east.

Recently a Fort Collins cyclist, Gary Moody, died in a tragic accident in the Berthoud area. What could be done to make our roads safer for all modes of transportation?  

Yes, the death of cyclist Gary Moody is a tragedy, and accidents between cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles happen all too often. Generally speaking, I would work to expand commuter and recreational bicycle ridership through public awareness and safety campaigns and improvements to our transportation infrastructure. In 2010, I sponsored HB-1147, the Bike Education and Safety Act (CRS 43-1-120), which provided safety curriculum for the schools and codified CDOT’s directive regarding bicycle and pedestrian safety, and I would follow up with CDOT’s pedestrian/bicycle safety coordinator to assess how we’ve implemented this law and where there are existing gaps. I would work closely with schools and safe routes to school programs, Bike FC and other stakeholders to assess specific problem areas where safety is an issue as a way to prioritize our responses. I would have the county participate in public awareness education campaign for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists – use of helmets, following the rules of the road, distracted driving, 3-foot passing law. These are some ideas.

Do you support adoption of a local Vision Zero policy for the county, and why or why not?

Yes, I support adoption of a local Vision Zero policy for the county and the region to achieve zero traffic fatalities and severe injuries for all road users – bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers and transit users; seems to me we should include animals.

There are many bicycling infrastructure gaps between cities and unincorporated areas of Larimer County. How would you collaborate with cities to bridge those gaps? 

There are serious problems with traffic congestion and public safety on our roadways. We need to continue improving and maintaining our local and state roads and bridges, continue the progress on I-25 lane expansion and Hwy 34 repair work through the Big Thompson Canyon so people can get to work and school on time.  Nevertheless, as we grow, we can’t just pave our way out of congestion and accidents. I would use the Larimer County Transportation Master Plan as a guiding document and work with all the public and private-sector stakeholders including NFMPO, local jurisdictions, educational systems, businesses, law enforcement and community groups to ensure that our regional efforts are aligned, complementary and comprehensive. A perfect example of such collaboration is the Long View Trail – Fort Collins, Larimer County and Loveland.  I am interested in developing multi-modal transportation systems that serve everyone, including people who can’t or don’t drive, to connect our cities, towns and counties efficiently and conveniently.  I am interested in supporting state efforts to establish a phased-in front range commuter/passenger rail system. I’m interested in revisiting the pros/cons of establishing a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) that could include a regional light-rail system and other effective mass transit options while advancing smart/sustainable growth best practices such as Transit Oriented Development (TOD) that includes affordable housing.  I am interested in work with local public and private-sector transportation and health care providers to consider service delivery systems that improve our para-transit, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT), and Non-Medical Transportation (NMT) services for aging adults and persons with chronic medical conditions.  As mentioned, I wish to expand commuter and recreational bicycle ridership.

Bike Fort Collins supports all forms of alternative transportation. What do you feel is the importance of regional transit in Northern Colorado? 

I believe I have answered this question in #4, and I would add that we need to collaboratively develop a regional and statewide multi-modal transportation system for many reasons including: air quality and public health, public safety and traffic congestion; provision of transportation choices especially with changing demographics – aging in place, reducing energy use in the transportation sector, etc.

Candidate: Sean Dougherty

Where is your favorite place to ride your bicycle?

I really like the Long View Trail.  It allows scenery and a leisurely pace, which is good for both avid cyclists and weekenders out for a couple of miles.

Recently a Fort Collins cyclist, Gary Moody, died in a tragic accident in the Berthoud area. What could be done to make our roads safer for all modes of transportation? 

I think bicycle/vehicle safety is more than just roads. It’s also awareness.  All parties need to be aware of what’s around them, at all times.  I ride a motorcycle, and have found that I, too, need to be hyper aware, due to autos not noticing me on the roadways.  On the County side of things, I was recently involved in revising the Transportation Master Plan, and this Plan calls for widening arterial roadways throughout the County, when road projects are being completed. Please see this link for more information.

Do you support adoption of a local Vision Zero policy for the county, and why or why not?

I think that Vision Zero is an aspirational goal, but could be considered unrealistic due to costs and physical limitations, especially in the mountainous areas of Larimer County. I would be happy to work with County Staff and residents to investigate further.

There are many bicycling infrastructure gaps between cities and unincorporated areas of Larimer County. How would you collaborate with cities to bridge those gaps? 

Larimer County needs to be the convener between all municipalities in the County, for many reasons, including infrastructure.  Some of the more noticeable gaps in bicycle infrastructure occur in the Growth Management Areas, which are unincorporated parts of the County, but are dedicated to Municipal expansion.  This leaves the question of who will take on the expense and construction of these improvements.  Sometimes it will takes development to improve the roadways, in other circumstances, the County and the Municipality will need to work together.

Bike Fort Collins supports all forms of alternative transportation. What do you feel is the importance of regional transit in Northern Colorado?

Regional Transit can mean many different things.  Inside Municipal limits, it could mean a public transportation service.  In the County, it could mean car-pooling or vehicle sharing.  It can also mean rail or air passenger service.  One option for the County to prepare for the residents needs is to work with the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (NFRMPO) towards seeing what is feasible and wanted in the region.  This could include dedicated parking and pickup/drop-off service for Bustang, possible future rail service, or more viable arterial roadways that can accommodate different types of transportation (bicycle, auto, bus, etc.)  We have a ways to go, but the County has a seat at the table with the NFRMPO and all of the municipalities in Northern Colorado, and these conversations are occurring monthly. I encourage anyone who wants to attend these meetings to please do so, and get involved with what the future will look like in our region!

Ballot Propositions

There are two statewide ballot propositions dealing with transportation this year. Both of them deserve your scrutiny; they have very different approaches to funding.

Proposition 110 or “Let’s Go Colorado”  

Proposition 110, also known as “Let’s Go, Colorado,” focuses on raising revenue allocated for the state highway fund (45%), for statewide multimodal transportation options (15%), and for local transportation priorities decided by cities (20%) and counties (20%). Funding would come from a state sales tax increase of 0.62 percent, or about 6 cents for every 10 dollars spent in Colorado. Such a tax increase is expected to generate $767 million in the first year; with 15% specifically for multimodal transportation options such as bicycling, transit and walking, and the additional potential for funding from cities and counties based on their priorities.

Bicycle Colorado has stated they believe Proposition 110 has the potential to improve everyday life for Coloradans by creating healthier communities.

Proposition 109, or “Fix Our Damn Roads”

This Proposition proposes borrowing up to $3.5 billion from the state treasury for road and bridge expansion, construction and maintenance. Fix Our Damn Roads aims to widen roads, and specifically states that the money may not be used for transit projects. That would include no bicycling projects. Because this proposition supports motor vehicles only, it address only 1 of the 3 triple bottom line sustainability items.

Bicycle Colorado has stated they do not support Proposition 109 since it would not contribute towards providing healthier communities.