Cyclists push toward Taos bike map

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 2/28/20

Taos community members are striving to create a network of bicycle routes to share with the public to make cycling easier and safer within the town.

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Cyclists push toward Taos bike map

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Taos community members are striving to create a network of bicycle routes to share with the public to make cycling easier and safer within the town.

After a Wednesday (Feb. 19) meeting of cyclists, the future of a comprehensive bike plan for Taos inched closer to the finish line. Several years of public input have culminated in the creation of a bike map that will eventually be used to showcase the bike-friendly roads as well as amenities in town, such as bike racks cyclists can make use of while out on a two-wheeled jaunt.

“It started off very strong,” said bike committee member Matthew Foster. “It evolved from a number of years ago.”

A dozen cyclists and community members joined in on the meeting, which discussed a number of needs and recommendations for cycling in Taos. The group is looking to gather as much information as possible to build a comprehensive bicycle master plan for the future of the downtown area.

At least five meetings have been organized by the committee and the group has been slowly building what they would like to see in a master map of bike trails for the downtown area in Taos. Other local organizations, notably Enchanted Circle Trails Association, have been heavily involved in the project.

Taking up after community projects like Strong at Heart, organizers hope to have their plan ready for public presentation by the end of April.

“The intent was to reconcile the recommendations of the plans [like Strong at Heart],” Foster said.

In the current map, cyclists have identified roads that would be ideal for new bike lanes and possible locations for new bike racks to be placed. Roads have been rated from easy to difficult concerning the possibility of adding bike lanes. In addition, the group has discussed signage and roadway paint that would be needed to make biking safer in Taos for both drivers and cyclists.

The group meets at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps offices, 1203 King Drive. Cyclists are welcome to provide their feedback as the committee begins to finalize the plan.

Once the map is finished, Foster said he plans to move it to the Taos MainStreet organization, which is tasked with implementing various projects around the downtown area.

“Our role so far has just been facilitation,” said MainStreet director Charles Whitman. “We’re trying to get people together and create some objectives and plans on what [the cyclists] are trying to achieve.”

Taos MainStreet was recently awarded full status. Whitman and his team have been looking into projects designed to revitalize the area surrounding Taos Plaza.

Foster felt MainStreet was the best avenue to start building on some of the goals of the bike map committee.

“We want to put signs on the street, paint on the ground, trails that connect and over time create a network of bike facilities to make it safe for people to ride their bikes,” Foster said.

Taos is following the footsteps of Santa Fe cyclists, who have already gone through the process of putting together a bike trails map for the city.

Erik Aune of the Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization said over 18,000 of their bike maps have already been passed out around the area.

“It’s been a remarkable thing,” Aune said. “The maps are sought after by the bicycling community, which is really nice.”

Aune said he had been working on the project for six years with various bicycle groups around the city. The groups met to discuss safe biking routes for cyclists and to develop the trail map.

Over the years the Santa Fe groups worked to finalize the 2018 map and helped the city implement new signage for the community. New bike signs and education on cycling can now be seen throughout the city due to the efforts of all the groups who helped Aune with the project.

“The more vague, the less likely the project was to get funded,” Aune said, offering some advice to proponents of the similar project proposed in Taos.

Foster said he hopes to hand the plan off to MainStreet and dissolve the committee once all the work is finalized. 

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