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2022-2024 Emails to Boulder County




This is a follow up on the sign additions and their impact for the 2023 riding season. This is also reflects the thoughts of boulder heights residents.

1) As previously discussed, Lee Hill Road has become one of the main roads for bike riders to use in boulder due to it’s location being close to boulder. The increase in residential density with the new units on lee hill and broadway have only increased the amount of bike and vehicle traffic on lee hill making making everything I have presented even more critical and time sensitive. The addition of the green bike crossing notice att lee hill and wagonwheel gap road is a good addition and should have been done years ago, maybe the facility at that location could have been avoided had boulder county cared enough to start the process to make lee hill safe for bikes and vehicles.

2) I personally have experienced vehicles going around bikes on blind uphill turns into the opposing lane. September I saw the bikes just emerging on the westbound lane so I slowed down in case there was a vehicle, I then had to stop completely due to a vehicle a couple seconds later when a vehicle came around the corner into my eastbound lane. I I had not stopped I would have collided with the vehicle that went around the bikes and back into the eastbound lane while giving me a peace sign.  Variations of this happen often up here to all residents, bikes and vehicle traffic.

3) The recent addition of another single file sign to the “Bike may use full lane” westbound sign is a joke. What actually happens up here is a combination of bikes two + shoulder wide in the middle of the road, multiple bikes single file but in the middle of the road or single/ multiple bikes hugging the painted white line trying not to get hit by a vehicle. The be blunt, what’s the point of single file at this stage single that is usually applied for bikes to be single file on the right sight of the road NOT single file in the MIDDLE of the road.

I will state this again and am asking a question that needs to be answered: What’s the point of single file at this stage single that is usually applied for bikes to be single file on the right sight of the road NOT single file in the MIDDLE of the road?

PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION

4) Multiple bikes still use this road early dawn and dusk. Limited use of a headlight and/or taillight makes bikes almost invisible until you are close to them in a vehicle. Bikers use of earbuds for music mean they can’t hear the vehicles coming up on them so their spacial awareness is further reduced.

5) Latest personal experience on 4/4/24 at 5:35 PM. I was driving eastbound and came upon a family of two with a small child ) est 2 years old) on the man’s back in a backpack with a red santa hat on. They were on electric bikes and while they had all their lights they were invisible until I came around the eastbound right turn before the meadow. They were riding shoulder to shoulder and did not go single file and really had not safe place to go since the rods up here are narrow ( I call this road single track for cars). They stayed in the middle of the road until the passing lane further down where I could safely pass them due to additional turns, and westbound traffic. While this is legal, although doing 6-7 MPH by my speedometer’s estimate 

This is the time when it really starts to go dark and is even more extreme due to the curved blind turns and amount of trees that make it even darker on lee hill compared to a clear line of site road such as broadway. This is just one dangerous situation and just illustrates bad judgement on the part of the family and could have been really bad in a different section or with another vehicle that isn’t looking for bikes the way some of us up here do. Being aware of bikes on a road is the vehicles responsibility and we are constantly reminded of the fact that this is a bike heavy road due to the 18+ signs on the road. While this is helpful especially for vehicles that don’t live off Lee Hill the signs do not make this road safe. 

Conclusion, There are still going to be dangerous situations unfolding here every day due to bad judgement, ignorance, aggression or just completely ignoring everyone (bike or vehicle) and just blocking out everything and biking/driving as if nothing else exists because they feel that it is there right to use the road however they please. 18+ Signs have not changed this reality enough to no warrant physical changes to the road. This will mostly be solved with a dedicated bike lane. By your lack of addressing the problem with real solutions you continue to put everyone (bikes and vehicles) in danger of losing their life, home and the potential for being seriously injured. Again, signs will not fix the real problem and the recent addition of a another single file sign just shows a random out of control process Boulder County has applied to the problem. Please reference the email chain below since the points made are still relevant. 

Please fix this road now so no additional lives are lost.




On Aug 5, 2023, at 11:24 AM

All, please see below I continue to talk to neighbors about how dangerous this road is for everyone using it. Adding even more signs, though legal per Mike Thomas’ email from 8/31/22 (see below) this does not mean that how and where the law is applied will result in uniform outcomes, this isn’t logical or realistic. I am asking once again for a timeline and commitment from the county to add a bike lane for the safety of everyone on this road. As the population increases and more bikers use this road it get’s more dangerous by the day.


Email from Mike Thomas 8/31/22:


The signing and pavement markings have been applied per the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. We are working on a future project to increase width in key location for bicycle usage on Lee Hill Drive. The intent is to alert motorists and bicycles of the shared use of the road which is per state statute.



Here’s points of view from myself and talking to neighbors and bikers that use this road, please excuse typos and grammatical mistakes:

  1. I have monitored the road after the 18+ signs were installed my personal observations and actual experience conclude that no measurable results of this being a safer road as a result of these updates. While I applaud and agree with having additional signage on this dangerous road, what this really illustrates is how dangerous this road was prior to and currently with the addition of the signs showing the County’s own response to this dangerous road. 

  2. No other road that I have been on in Boulder County has this concentration and variety of signage, which also shows how dangerous this road really is and that it needs a bike lane immediately to address this serious situation no excessive and confusing signage that doesn’t make much sense in reality (single file in curves when another sign says Bikes may use full lane for example). 

  3. The county’s decision to “fix” the road by adding what appears every relevant sign on this road isn’t a logical approach to the problem. It would be like a zoo that’s filled with dangerous carnivorous animals that has flimsy chicken wire and wooden stakes to contain them in their cages that’s visited by people of all ages dawn to dusk. The zoo knows about the animals and what would happen if they came in contact with the people yet, instead of building the proper fencing, moats etc. they chose to put up a bunch of signs that simply warned everyone that there are animals in there that will eat them and to watch out because the flimsy fence and wooden stakes aren’t enough to safely contain them.

  4. The two recent accidents on the diagonal and left hand Canyon just illustrates how dangerous it is when motorized vehicles and bikes share the same road and no amount of signage is going to change this fact. This road needs actual changes to the road to make it safer for both to safely use the road together.

  5. With the recent addition of having a “bike may use full lane” sign added to the westbound Lee Hill Road, what I have observed is multiple bikes in the center of the road in dangerous situations, such as the blind, right uphill turns. If the county’s point in doing this is to help slow down the motorized vehicles by using a bike that does 3 to 5 miles an hour going uphill to limit their speed combined with 18+ signs letting everyone know that this road is dangerous then there is some success in this strategy but I doubt this is the intent. The solution is to create a bike lane, this is a horrible decision to allow bikes in the center of the lane in the first place and only compounds the dangerous reality of this road being narrow, with blind turns and no bike lane.

  6. These roads were designed for primarily motorized vehicle use while also having laws in place to allow bicycles to also enjoy the road in the area.This dangerous road needs additional work to make it a safe environment for these two modes of transportation to safely exist on the road. Personally I would describe this road as single track for cars with bikes also using the road. No amount of bike awareness signage and giving full use of the road will change this fact.

  7. Just last week I was taking my wife and her sister to the Ceran Saint Vrain trail head passed Jamestown the narrowest part of the hill is the lower section coming up to Lefthand Canyon, we know this is the most dangerous section because it is blind and very narrow and has a huge concentration of bikes coming off of left hand to head eastbound on the hill on purpose. We slow down to 5 miles an hour, anticipating cars being in the our lane coming at us head-on This once again happened with two vehicles going around bikes that were in the middle of the road westbound they were than going around. Had we not slowed down to this speed we would’ve had a head on collision. This is not the first time this is happened to us and I doubt for other people that live or visit this area as well. 

  8. The legal 3 foot space to give bikes when passing is a good law. I am a bike rider myself and feel a little safer knowing this is the law. The problem is these roads are so narrow and the bad judgment of vehicle operators means that they go into the opposing lane without seeing if vehicles are coming from the opposite direction this road needs its own dedicated bike lane to deal with this reality. A dedicated bike lane would solve this dangerous situation.

  9. Both of the recent accidents, or the fault of cars hitting bicycles this happen on roads with bike lanes. Lee hill on the other hand is narrower with more tight turns and blind turns in an area with tree density that doesn’t allow for clear line of sight for both vehicles and bikes. With a high percent of bicycles at all hours of the day, mostly with no headlights or tail lights, somebody will die on this road either due to bad judgment on both sides or for the simple fact that vehicles and bikes just can’t see each other until it’s too late. This keeps my self and many people that live up here on edge every single time we get on the road. Just because there aren’t as many accidents as highly populated roads doesn’t mean this road is safer because this numbers don’t show the accident/fatalities that a road such as Hwy 36 to Lyons represents.





On Aug 30, 2022, at 5:28 PM, :

All,

This is a continuation of the previous email (see below). Why did Boulder county place three green bike decals in the center of Lee Hill road other than to alert the cars to a dangerous situation that BOulder COunty created in the first place by posting a “Bike may use full lane” sign nearby? As referenced in my prior email, you have not addressed the actual dangers for both bikes and cars on this road, signs may give someone pause while driving but having bikes going UPHILL at 2-5 MPH in the middle of this steep road is not making this safer for anyone. Bikes need a proper bike lane so they are safe and the car drivers are also safer because they wouldn’t come up on bikes at 20-30 MPH (posted) or faster (reality for some). Many bikes come downhill at 30-50+ MPH with not lights, no reflective gear all the time, there is one east bound passing lane but no visibility on such a dangerous road is yet another reason for a bike lane.

You have signs coming up Lee Hill Drive for bikes to be single file on both Lee Hill and Olde Stage road. This sign is also going eastbound on Lee Hill drive yet you also state that they can use the full lane on Lee Hill Drive westbound. Why do you not have a “Bikes may use full lane” sign on Olde Stage road once the bike lane disappears? I was told that the sign was placed on Lee Hill because the bike lane disappears but this is also the case for Olde Stage road since many of the same bike riders continue on that road on the same bike lane.

With the new development at the base of Broadway and Lee Hill and the increasing popularity of this road for bikes and population growth in Boulder this situation will only get more dangerous. Cheap decals and a couple signs may slow down a few people but they will not make this road safer only a proper bike lane AND proper signage will begin to materially minimize the dan gets on this road.

These are really people with names and families, I am appealing to everyone on this email thread to fix this road to save lives and to help us all avoid accidents that would ruin us financially, spiritually and emotionally.


  

April 30th 2022

All,

I have spoken to both Josh Trickey and Alexandra Philips about this sign and confirmed that the only current response from the county to making this road safer is to place a “Bike may use full lane sign” on Lee Hill road. This is after someone died on this road and the fact that everyone at the county is fully aware of the reality that this is a dangerous road for both bikes and vehicles due to the lack of a shoulder and the multiple blind right turns that boulder county acknowledged after we met over two years ago. As I have pointed out many times, placing a sign on the road does not make a road safe for bikes, you have now created an even more dangerous road for everyone. Once the new housing development fully opens at the base of Lee Hill and Broadway we will have 100’s of additional bicyclist accessing this road. 

The road work on North Broadway has one of these signs, it makes total sense since it is temporary and tells the vehicles that they need to respect the bikes during construction and be safe. The situation on Lee Hill Drive isn’t the same scenario since it’s a tight, narrow mountain road that needs to be corrected so bikes can be safe on this road. Again, the blind right turns are the most dangerous part of this road since you have a car going 20-30 MPH coming up on a bike do 2-5 MPH. Remember, there are no street lights on this road this happens from dawn to dusk (most bikes) but also when there is no sun and it is pitch black. If you haven’t been to the website that I created it shows an unbiased perspective from people both on bikes and in vehicles. the website is: www.BikesBeSafe.com 

I was told that this sign was placed here because there is a bike lane that terminates right after Lee Hill and Olde Stage road about 100 yards up Lee Hill Drive and have some questions and clarifications that I want the county to answer so I can share with the community.

Questions:

1) You also have a bike lane on Lee Hill Drive that terminates prior to Olde Stage road, why isn’t there a “Bike may use full lane” sign on that location? 

2) Do all roads in the county have this same sign that have the same level Bicycle Level of Stress? Please review the Bicycle Level of Stress map below for reference. Is this standard practice for the county so we can give a proper public notice to all cyclists, neighbors and visitors?

3) There is also all the roads bikes ride throughout the neighborhood such as Deer Trail, does this also apply to those roads? 

4) Bikes going eastbound on Lee Hill will most likely think they can use the full lane, is this true?

5) You have single file signs posted for Lee Hill Drive and Olde Stage road, do you mean that multiple bikes can all be single file in the middle of the road for the entire road?

6) Going eastbound on Lee Hill Drive you have a single file bike sign for all of Lee Hill Drive, why is it any different from a bike’s perspective since they ride in both directions. This is confusing and creates an even more dangerous situation

Referenced below are two studies by the county further showing the reality of how dangerous this road (and many others) are for bikes

I look forward to learning ore about the county’s approach to truly making this road safer for both bikes and vehicles.  Please respond to this entire email chain so everyone can discuss this with full transparency.



EMAIL CHAIN LIST:


Michael Dougherty <mdougherty@bouldercounty.org>, "matt@c4community.org" <mattc4community@gmail.com>, Alexandra Phillips <aphillips@bouldercounty.org>, "Hyde-Wright, Alexander" <ahyde-wright@bouldercounty.org>, Andrew Barth mthomas@bouldercounty.org, abarth@bouldercounty.org>, Josh Trickey <jtrickey@bouldercounty.org>, "Kiepe, Bob" <bkiepe@bouldercounty.org>, Matt Muir <matt@c4community.org>, "commissioners@bouldercounty.org" <commissioners@bouldercounty.org>, "Lattes, Conrad" <clattes@bouldercounty.org>, "Maxwell, Jeffery" <jmaxwell@bouldercounty.org>, "Bracke, Kathleen" <kbracke@bouldercounty.org>, "Case, Dale" <dcase@bouldercounty.org>, "Swope, Tim" <tswope@bouldercounty.org>, Jennifer Churchill <jchurchill@bouldercounty.org>, "Leak, Clay" <cleak@bouldercounty.org>, "Wilber, Randy" <rwilber@bouldercounty.org>, Benjamin Wright <bwright@bouldercounty.org>



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Email chain to/from the county

Thank you for your additional thoughts on this issue. We recognize your concerns as legitimate and worth consideration. Lee Hill Road is a narrow mountain road and, like so many others, carries a sign

Email to Boulder County 8/17/2020

I am reaching out since I left you a message on Friday and this morning to discuss the Lee Hill Drive and the unsafe conditions that exist on the road due to it’s extremely narrow lanes, to bike lanes

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