Trail to monument a grand possibility

Anyone who has driven Monument Road from Grand Junction to Colorado National Monument on a pleasant morning knows there is little room to pass bicyclists when oncoming traffic is in the other lane.

Bicyclists who frequent the road are even more keenly aware of the limited room and the dangers from passing vehicles.

So, the proposal by Mesa Land Trust to investigate the possibility of creating a bike path that would run roughly three miles from downtown Grand Junction to the eastern border of the monument makes a great deal of sense from a safety standpoint alone.

But it also has tourism and economic implications. As Mesa Land Trust Executive Director Rob Bleiberg noted,“There are few places where downtown businesses are so close to beautiful recreational resources like the Colorado National Monument and the Tabeguache Trail area.”

Instead of people from out of town coming to ride the monument, then packing their bikes up and heading home, more riders might begin and end in the heart of the city — and enjoy some of what local businesses have to offer — if they had a better route along Monument Road.

Locals bikers might pedal to downtown businesses more frequently, as well.

Additionally, a bike path along Monument Road could attract less ambitious bikers who simply want to ride to the base of the monument or visit the Three Sisters area or the Lunch Loop trail system at the Tabeguache trailhead.

Furthermore, these additional bicyclists wouldn’t be clogging the road or backing up traffic if they were riding on a safely separated bike trail.

None of this means the bike trail is a done deal, however. The project, if it is to be completed, will require the cooperative efforts of the city of Grand Junction, Mesa County, the National Park Service and the Land Trust.

Additionally, no one is going to run roughshod over property owners along the route. Where the trail might require crossing private property, landowners would have to agree to providing easements or selling portions of their property to accommodate the bike trail.

Local input about the potential trail is also critical, which is why people interested in it should take the time to attend one of the three public sessions — or “vision meetings,”’ as the Land Trust calls them — which will be held today and tomorrow at the following times and locations:

✔ Today, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Redlands Middle School.

✔ Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Museum of Western Colorado’s Whitman Building at the corner of Fourth Street and Ute Avenue.

✔ Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Redlands Middle School.


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