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 significant number of bicycles for both recreational and commuting purposes.
As I mentioned previously, we will evaluate additional signing in this location and elsewhere along Lee Hill Road that will assist drivers and bicyclists in navigating the road safely and cooperatively. We will also be forwarding your concerns (anonymously) to the Cycling For Colorado (C4C) bicycling advocacy group who can alert bicyclists of the issues we hear about from folks such as yourself.
We have also discussed the concerns you have in light of our current project needs. While there are some significant issues pointed out, widening of Lee Hill to accommodate a bike lane is not in our 5-year Capital Improvements Program and is not likely to take priority over other documented safety projects at this time. The scope of work you propose would require extensive rock removal and property acquisition, which would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We will never argue against being proactive, but it is hard to justify an expensive project at this location when there are other areas with higher documented crash histories that should rank higher in terms of our priorities.
We will bring your concerns to other internal resources for further consideration as we do for any resident-proposed projects. But again, all projects must be looked at comprehensively and balanced against other higher priorities.
Thank you for your continued interest in the subject. I will call you soon to discuss further.
Mike Thomas, PE, County Engineer
Boulder County Public Works
2525 13th St., Suite #203, Boulder, CO 80304
Mailing address: PO Box 471 Boulder CO 80306
Hours: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2020 10:53 AM To: Thomas, Mike <email@example.com> Cc: Barth, Andrew <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Swope, Tim <email@example.com>; Kiepe, Bob <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Maxwell, Jeffery <email@example.com>; Trickey, Josh <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Continuing dangerous bike issues on lee hill drive, Additional email and response for reference.
Good morning Mike,
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 and series of blind right hand turns. I must politely disagree with your suggestion that "Lee Hill Drive is a safe road if everyone follows the law and the posted speed limit” since it cannot cover the various real world scenarios that occur on this road.
Simple signage that currently exist has already proven itself to be insufficient in fixing this problem. The road is too narrow for bikes and cars to co-exist safely together, I would personally describe the road as being a single track trail for cars.
I had previously suggested that the uphill sharp right hand turns and a couple downhill right turns be expanded so the bikes have a safe bike lane similar to the wonderful bike lane created on Lee Hill that feeds into Old Stage and Lee Hill. With the forethought to consider the dangerous situation on this road why did Boulder County go through the effort of laying down a bike lane only to discontinue it o the most dangerous sections? The traffic flow is the same with approx 75% continuing on Lee Hill after the Old Stage road junction.
I also suggested that there be multiple signs reminding bikes of the dangerous blind right turns and necessity to maintain a single file formation since cars cannot see them until its too late. When I am driving on the road I am aware of these blind areas but am still faced with the reality that a bike will be on this section. With cars coming down Lee Hill road cars going up can’t simply give 3’ since the narrow road places cars into oncoming traffic when bikes are 2-3’ into the road from the edge which is something that commonly occurs.
Here are a couple emails I sent Andrew illustrating a few scenarios. I understand that I may be one of the few neighbors that continue to contact you but I guarantee that most every boulder heights neighbor has their own stories. I am suggesting that Boulder county email and mail all neighbors that Dirve Lee Hill and Old Stage to solicit feedback so the county can justify next steps instead of just relying on my situations. Due to Covid-19 maybe a virtual Zoom Conference that is setup via a mailing to the neighbors?
Emails to Andrew:
Hello Andrew, I left you a message today to discuss the addition of an uphill bike lane and possibly in a couple dangerous downhill sections. I have lived up here since 1997 and have seen the bike traffic grow through the years. This is a narrow road that wasn’t designed for bikes yet the traffic for both bike’s and cars has grown. Since there are many sharp blind turns with no space for a bike and car and the simple example that these tight turns showing the paint strip faded from normal car driving this needs to be acknowledged and fixed for the safety of all.
Hey Andrew, I spoke to you late late year around October about an incident I had coming down the mountain on my motorcycle. I was approaching the first major blind right turn (on my left headed down the mountain) when a car came about 50% into my lane to avoid a bicycle that was about 1/3 into the road coming up the mountain around the blind turn. Had I not been on my motorcycle and experienced I would have hit the car head on instead of going to the extreme right to the edge of the gravel to avoid the car as I went around it. When we spoke about this you said you would document this incident and send me a follow up email which I have never received. Since bikes are coming up the mountain again I have seen what everyone else see, bikes coming up and down the mountain not staying to the far right and multiple bikes doing the same thing (you have a sign coming up from left hand canyon stating that lee hill is a single file road). I am asking once again that specifically the blind uphill right turns have an expanding bike lane so both bikes and cars are safe. You told me it wasn’t in the budget and my response is what is the cost of a human life? Newly paved roads are nice but SAFE newly paved roads that are used by both bikes an cars is even more of a necessity. Please email me back a confirmation regarding this email and your thoughts on the widened blind right bike lanes. Thanks,
Hello Again. I wanted to state that what this situation has created for everyone is a constantly dangerous situation for both bikes and cars. The laws and signs saying “Single file on Lee Hill” and the requirement for cars to give 3” when passing is nice but the reality is that this road is dangerous begin with. It’s narrow, full of wildlife and trees and has many section that are next to very steep cliffs. Boulder county has continued to ignore these facts. When I am in my car or on my motorcycle (this goes for everyone up here) we should have to be worried about hitting someone on a bicycle because the county states laws that were never designed for a road such as lee hill. For people on bikes they are in the same situation only their lives are even more threatened. Both sides are counting on Boulder county to address the reality of our mountain based bike loving community (I also ride bikes extensively in town on the paths). New pavement is nice but making this road safe for both bikes and cars is a serious issue that deserves more attention than smooth roads.
Andrew, I just left you a voicemail describing the first incident of the year for me going eastbound on the hill just past the meadow a bike was half in the east bound lane to give space for a bike on a blind curve turn as I was coming over the hill slammed on brakes and took my car as far right as possible to avoid both the car and give the car space since they were in my lane and not to have them hit the bike. I apologize if this email doesn’t sound proper I am dictating on the side of the road to save time on my side. Will you please respond and let me know what Boulder County is going to do about the situation since is it is ongoing and it is a danger to both bicycles and cars. Let me know Lloyd
Andrew, I just drove down the hill with my girlfriend Jill and came up to a bicycle deer Trail and Lee Hill headed east bound. The bicycle rider put his bike in the middle of the lane instead of pulling over to the far right all the way down until we reached a horse Meadow impeding traffic and continually looking over his shoulder. I don’t understand how this is legal since he is not going to speed limit and has no brake lights this is one of many instances that we continually deal with up here making it dangerous for both cars and bikes. Please respond and tell me how this is legal per traffic code (Please cite the code) And why boulder county continues to put us in this situation on a dangerous road that is hard enough to drive with a car much less multiple bicycles and cars at the same time. You have driven this road with this extreme right blind turns it is the equivalent of a single track bicycle course with very little margin for error. My phone number is 303-517-7330. On Aug 13, 2020, at 10:57 PM, Lloyd Meador <email@example.com> wrote: Hello Mike, I have recently posted these updates to the Boulder Heights forum that I invited Andrew to a couple years ago. Your conclusion that Lee Hill Drive is safe as long as “everyone follows the law and the posted speed limit” is insufficient in it’s conclusion in my opinion. Here’s what I wrote to initiate the google boulder heights forum thread 8/2018 for you to read prior to our discussion. If Boulder county can prove that myself and the neighbors do not have valid concerns please present counterpoints for the forum to open this discussion between the county and the neighbors so we can continue this for the benefit of both bikes and cars. As a side note, I ride my bike using the bike paths around town 6-8 months a year regularly. I would love to ride to my house in Boulder heights but it is too dangerous based on living here for over 23 years. THREAD FOR REFERENCE: I wanted to start a chat and ask everyone to contact Andrew Barth the Transporation Communications Director for the Boulder County Transportation Dept. to ask him to look at our road seriously during the improvement stage. I will provide his information after a few points to consider when talking to him. He's a really nice guy and wants to hear form everyone regarding the improvements. In short, I spoke to him and he said funding was not enough to do what is really needed on the road to accommodate both bikes and cars in the next few years. My suggestion was the uphill sharp blind right turns and the sharp downhill sections like the long right coming to the horse pasture should be widened with an official bike lane. The laws for bikes and cars on the same road don't really mountain roads like Lee Hill in my opinion since A) hundreds of bikes ride it weekly and B) hundreds of cars also use the road which was never designed for the amount of traffic from either 50+ years after it was paved. This isn't about cars against bikes but rather trying to offer a real solution since it has become a dangerous, litigious situation for both with the county relying on simple signs that say "single file in curves" and "single file on lee hill" (going eastbound) thinking this will solve the dangerous situation. How much is a human life worth, more than what it takes to fix this road for everyone. For the record, I am a bike rider in town only (too dangerous up lee hill or any other busy mountain road that looks like this) but have also dealt with many situations that I wanted to illustrate. Here's a few to review and add to: What I see people on bikes do: 1) They do not stay on the line during blind corner but are sometimes 3+ feet in the road doing around 5 MPH 2) 2+ wide on corners and straights 3) dim or no lights at dawn and dusk 4) same lights or no lights coming down the mountain at dusk. I have been in the passing lane going up the mountain only to see a bikes doing 40+ MPH coming down the mountain being almost invisible. 5) bikers have their headphones on and don't hear cars approaching them at all while being in the middle of the road 6) 2+ bikers going down the mountain 40+ MPH racing each other then reaching the pasture and staying across the entire road racing and playing with each other blocking traffic that they know are behind them when they start climbing at 10-15 MPH 7) being yelled at at the stop light for going around them when there is clear line of sight 8) bikes stopped on the road with people chatting and hanging out forcing cars to go around them 9) people of all ages coming up on bikes that really have no idea about bike safety or even how to ride a bike on this type of road, they climb in the easier gear and can't keep the bike straight but move into the center of the lane then back out since they have no energy. 10) the pelotons of bikes 10+ coming up after meeting at Amante that creates a density of bikes spread out up Lee Hill that makes it impossible to safely pass at all What I see people in cars do: 1) driving too close to the bake of bikes like 5-10 feet 2) passing bikes in blind turn with on coming traffic being forced to slam on the brakes and swerve to miss the car 3) pass the bikes with maybe a foot between them and the biker 4) over all road rage erratic driving being frustrated with a slow bike ahead 5) literally today (8/7/2018) on Old Stage road the road crew had a section reduced to one lane with guys holding the stop signs and walkie talkies. I was at the front going south and some cars pass then one car almost hit the road worker and me since I was the first car passing the biker and coming into the lane that just opened up with the cones. I want everyone to be safe. driving up the new Lefthand canyon road rebuilt after the flood is a dream. Plenty of space for both bikes and cars, This is the same for a small section of lee hill leaving broadway. Does the county think the cars and bikes are safe after the bikes are forced to ride on a white line through blind turns with dirt on their right? This needs to be fixed to save lives, reduce stress and to bring the roads up to a standard that is fitting of one of the greatest bike communities on the planet! Link to the forum: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/bh-community-forum/TN0NXQ9UQJk