Getting around town on foot or by bike is going to be easier in 2021 as a community-wide project to install signage along bike routes is taking shape.
Grand Junction Public Works Director Trent Prall said, with help from the Urban Trails Committee, they have installed signage on six routes designed to help cyclist find their way through town and to trail systems like the Riverfront Trail.
“This project is really to implement the first iteration of a comprehensive wayfinding system for Grand Junction,” Prall said. “We’re doing that in cooperation with our Grand Valley jurisdictions like Palisade and Mesa County and Fruita as well.”
Grand Junction received a $50,000 grant through Colorado Department of Transportation’s Revitalizing Main Street Grant program. The total cost of the project is around $65,000, Prall said. The idea is to get bikers on the safest routes, connecting off street paths, on street bike lanes and low traffic roads.
“The key idea is to provide cyclists a less-stress route through the community,” Prall said. “It’s not without stress, but a less-stress route.”
One route will direct cyclists from the airport to the Riverfront Trail near Las Colonias Park, another will follow First Street, while others will provide direction through Orchard Mesa and the Redlands. Prall said they expected to have all the signage installed sometime this month.
Fruita also received a $50,000 Revitalizing Main Street Grant to install signage along four loops within the community. Fruita Parks and Recreation Director Ture Nycum said they are still proofing the routes and hope to have their wayfinding system installed by late spring or early summer.
“We identified four loops within the Fruita community that we’re going to sign that will allow people to orient themselves and get to and from various places within the Fruita community,” Nycum said. “They all kind of get you in and around the business areas to downtown and things like that.”
The Town of Palisade and Mesa County are looking into providing more signage as well. Palisade is planning to add signs to help direct people from the Interstate 70 exit onto Eberta Avenue to downtown and to direct bicyclists from the Rim Trail and Palisade Plunge area to downtown, Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson said.
Mesa County is looking at how it can support connectivity between the communities with signage on county roads. Mesa County Traffic Division Manager Sean Yeates said there is likely room in the county budget and using county crews going forward to install signs themselves.
Part of the project is ensuring signage is consistent across the valley.
“We chose to take the longer view and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we get together next year at the beginning of the year and talk about where some of these signs need to go,’ ” Yeates said. “As a matter of fact we may be able to fund some of this out of our CIP (Capital Improvement Project) budget over the next few years based on what the costs are going to be.”
Yeates said Mesa County Trails Coordinator Ross Mittelman and Transportation Engineer Dean Bressler were both working on the project. He said Mesa County is always looking for ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety on its roads. He said increasing connectivity through projects like the Riverfront Trail and this effort also help with economic development.
“That certainly is the crown jewel of the valley, the Riverfront Trail,” Yeates said. “Then of course as we do CIP projects, as we go in and do a little bit of widening on a road we look for opportunities to put a little bit wider of a shoulder so we can accommodate bicycles and pedestrians.”
Before this effort there was little signage for wayfinding across the Grand Valley. Tycum said he hoped it would help people find more efficient ways to get around the community and travel between sections of the Riverfront Trail.
He said he hoped it would also help people find lesser known trails like the Lower Little Salt Wash Trail, which connects the north and south sides of Fruita.
“By putting this wayfinding system together and getting the information out there I think it’s really going to help not only our tourists coming in and staying at the hotels on the south side of Fruita get to the north side of Fruita, but will also really educate our local community on how to get around a lot better,” Nycum said.
Nycum said through their Parks, Health, Recreation, Open Space, and Trails (PHROST) Master Plan process trails were identified as the number one priority for their residents. He said while this project doesn’t add to the trail system, he hoped it would lead to more usage of it and more physical activity for the community.
“We’re just happy that we’re able to get more information out there so we can continue working on our walkable community and getting people to use their own personal being to transport themselves versus getting in a car,” Tycum said. “Whether they’re walking, hiking or riding a bike I think it’s going to be good for our community.”