Walkable RidgeGate left out bike lanes

City says plans could change as community expands

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RidgeGate prides itself on its walkability. It offers the soft-surface trails of Bluffs Regional Park; wide, concrete sidewalks linking neighborhoods and parks; and a tunnel under RidgeGate Parkway whose archway bears the carved words “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”

But the streets of Lone Tree’s still-developing “new urbanism” community have no bike lanes, an absence city officials say could be filled as RidgeGate’s larger, east side begins to take shape.

“I think we’re going have some more discussion about what’s going to happen on the east side,” Lone Tree Public Works Director John Cotten said. “That’s kind of a clean slate right now. A new set of street standards will need to be approved.”

RidgeGate’s west side, south of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, rapidly is approaching build-out, but the bulk of the 6-square-mile new-urban-style community will be east of Interstate 25.

On the west side, RidgeGate’s developers chose a “share-the-road” approach instead of creating bike lanes.

Development manager Darryl Jones sat on a city-created transportation committee several years ago, and said he learned through information presented there that bike lanes don’t offer cyclists any guarantees.

“There’s a perception if you’re in a bike lane you’re protected,” he said. “That’s not necessarily the case. These lanes typically are against the curb and don’t get swept. Bicyclists can hit those and fall. Secondly, what happens at an intersection? There’s a lack of clarity (between drivers and cyclists),” Jones said. “Because of those intrinsic safety issues, the approach was one that is used in most cities, and that is a share-the-road approach.

“Subsequently, we never striped any of our streets to provide a dedicated bike lane.”

Jones noted RidgeGate invested heavily to build trails and tunnels under some of RidgeGate’s streets to separate pedestrians and bicycles from vehicles.

“If you’re a road biker, you may not like that trail,” he said. “We can’t provide a separate system for off-road and road bikers.”

Jones said there are multiple factors to consider before adding bicycle lanes into its future street designs.

“Building wider roads, obviously, would take up more land,” he said. “Even if (cycling) is a growing trend, what is that trend and demand in relation to the greater population?”