Aug. 10 Colorado Classic: bicycling thrill or local-traffic chill?
ORIGINAL ARTICLE, July 28: The first-time Colorado Classic bike race is exciting local cycling fans, but the day-long impact on traffic flow Thursday, Aug. 10 will be significant.
Colorado Springs will host Stage 1 of the four-stage competition, which, between the morning women's and the afternoon men's races, will traverse a 15.58-mile circuit eight times, using mostly Westside streets (see map).
The women's race is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and end around 11:30 a.m. The men's race is to start at 1:10 p.m. and end around 4:45 p.m. The start and finish for both will be downtown.
CLOSURES: Advance traffic information shows that all the streets into and out of the Garden of the Gods city park will be closed from midnight until 5 p.m. (except for Garden Drive from Black Canyon Road to Garden Lane).
The following streets will be closed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
- Colorado Avenue from Tejon Street to 30th Street.
- 30th St from Colorado to Fontanero Street.
- Pikes Peak Avenue from 29th Street to Ridge Road.
- 30th Street from Gateway Road to Mesa Road.
- Mesa Road from 30th to Fontmore Road.
- Fontmore from Mesa to N. 30th.
- 29th from Pikes Peak to Colorado.
CROSSING POINTS: Six crossing points have been designated, where people will be allowed to cross when there are significant gaps between riders. These are:
- 30th and Glen Eyrie Circle (near King Street).
- 30th and Bijou.
- Pikes Peak at 31st.
- 34th Street at Pikes Peak Avenue.
According to Doug Martin, whose local Colorado Sports Corp is coordinating Stage 1, the Classic is “essentially a reincarnation of the USA Pro Challenge,” which attracted internationally known riders/teams, lasted from 2011 to 2014 and included stages in the Springs three of those years.
Many riders from that talent level are expected to be among the roughly 160 competitors (about 90 men and 70 women) in this year's event, which is owned by the Denver-area RPM Events Group.
The difference in the Classic is that, instead of riders pedaling from town to town for a stage, they will repeat circuits in one location. This costs less money for traffic control and focuses the cyclists where the most fans are, Martin explained. “It's a lot better from a spectator standpoint.”
The second stage of the Classic will be in Breckenridge, the last two in Denver.
Martin said that event organizers are trying to spread the word, so locals will be aware of the race. “We've started the process of notifying community neighborhood organizers along the route,” he said.
Welling Clark, former president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) and founder of the Alliance of the Historic Westside, believes that more could be done - for this race and any in the future.
“Local stakeholders that will be directly and negatively affected must have a seat at the table prior to the final decision on closures and routes,” he said. Otherwise, a large-scale street bike event “results in angering the resident/business community at the bicycle enthusiasts (rightly or wrongly so) for forcing these types of events down their throats.”
Clark himself recently met with police, obtained additional traffic information and made it publicly available, as follows:
· Highway 24 intersections at 8th, 14th, 21st, and 26th will remain open to support local neighborhood access south of Colorado Avenue.
· Use Highway 24 to access south of Colorado Avenue.
· Use Uintah Avenue to access Pleasant Valley and north of Colorado Avenue.
· Traffic lights will be timed to expedite traffic through closing locations.
- No parking will be allowed along the race route, with any parked vehicles being towed starting Aug. 10 at 5 a.m.
In race-related news, RPM recently announced the Colorado Classic team rosters. A press release states that there will be 13 teams in all, including Rigoberto Uran, who finished second in the Tour de France; and, on the women's side, 2016 Olympic Games medalists Kelly Caitlin and Jenn Valente.
Martin also noted that volunteer marshals are needed for the Classic. For more information, the e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. The corporation's event website is coloradoclassic-cos.org.
Westside Pioneer article