Bike lanes to be removed in downtown Pueblo; cyclists upset

Published: Sep. 13, 2016 at 7:11 PM MDT
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Some cyclists might have to find a new route soon.

City council just decided to remove a whole stretch of bike lanes on 5th Street in downtown Pueblo.

The same path that council member Lori Winner describes as "disastrous," bicyclist Katy Johnson says keeps her and her fellow bikers safe.

"This particular design is just a disaster waiting to happen," said Winner.

Johnson is part of the iShare The Roads campaign which promotes awareness between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. She is also part a "cruisers" group that gets together for weekly bike rides.

"People in Pueblo rode 60,000 miles just this summer. So you can't really say that they're disastrous because there's so many of us using them on a daily basis," Johnson told 11 News.

These particular bike lanes on 5th Street were put in over a year ago as a test run design. They are funded through a $100,000 grant from the Health Care Company Kaiser Permanente.

With over 2,300 bike trails and lanes in Pueblo, Winner refers to the city as "a bike friendly community."

"This is not anti-bike lane issues, this is about one particular bike lane that was poorly designed. That's all. We're all about bike lanes, but not this one," she said.

In the less than an hour 11 News was on the corner of 5th Street and Grand Avenue filming, we saw three cars drive on the wrong side of the yellow poles directly onto the bike path. If a cyclist was there, they could have been hit.

"It's confusing ... but the main concern is for the safety of the cyclists on this strip," said Winner.

But Johnson says the bicyclists are being penalized for bad drivers.

"I don't know how they would get confused because there's still the lanes, the regular lanes that cars drive on; it's a one way street. I'm not sure how you would get confused," she told 11 News.

The bike lanes will be removed by mid-November. City council says the street will go back to the way it was before, with parallel parking next to the sidewalk instead of in the middle of the street.

Johnson says she can't believe the bike lanes will be gone in two months but plans to take action against city council with the support of the biking community.

"It's just a shock and I'm hoping we can all rally together ... let's be proactive instead of taking a giant step backwards, and let's create a community that's healthy and safe and active," Johnson said.