Thursday, June 12, 2014

Letter to Monitor Reporter: Please Don't Sell a Bandelier Multiuse Path With False Assertions of Danger

After reading last night's Monitor, I sent Arin McKenna this letter, which I also sent to LAB Director Andy Clarke, the BCNM Board, and County Council.

Arin McKenna, Los Alamos Monitor

Dear Arin

Once again, as you report extensively in the Monitor, the National
Park Service is selling its multiuse path in significant part as a
safety feature, saying, in essence, one of its major purposes is to
get existing cyclist users of these roads onto a path. This assertion
of danger is wholly unsubstantiated for all but small portions of
this route (i.e., NM4 between White Rock and E. Jemez Road comes to
mind) and certainly an assertion of danger should not be made without
challenge. Furthermore, a multiuse path will probably not serve the
needs of the cyclists in question and indeed, may create serious
hazards where none now exist.

The roads in question have been used by scores of local riders and
cyclists from as far away as Santa Fe for decades. These roads are
the home of two triathlons and the oldest road race in the Southwest,
the Tour of Los Alamos. The cyclists in question are fast
recreational, fitness, and race riders who would not be served by a
path shared with casual users and pedestrians and whose design could
seriously impede shared use.

Further, these roads are specifically mentioned as regional cycling
resources in the 2005 Los Alamos County bike plan, which I wrote much
of and which was adopted by council. Multiuse paths do not take the
place of road resources for the kind of cyclist who rides this route.

A "grand path" is certainly an exciting idea and may well attract
other constituents, both resident and visitor, and benefit both the
park and the county as well as the health and well being of those who
do not currently hike or bicycle. I've actually supported this for a
long time, and brought it up a few years ago when I was Chair of the
Transportation Board and when there was an RFP for such a
collaboration between national parks and nearby communities. That is good.

I have repeatedly made these points as have others and they seem to
have largely fallen on deaf ears. I would suggest you (and others
getting this email) read the following two blog posts and comments
following for more information. I also suggest other riders contact
you directly via the above address.

thanks, and glad to discuss this further,

Khal Spencer

Khalil J Spencer
League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor 1173
1799 Camino Uva, Los Alamos, NM 87544

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