Sunday, August 27, 2017

Longmont Flood Remnants: Four Years Later MUPs Still Under Repair

Recently, I set out on a short ride to do some investigating around our local greenway/multi-use path. Amazingly, almost four years after local flooding, there are still repairs being made. I don't know why this shocks me as I realize most things government-related don't proceed with lightning quick speed, but I made an assumption that by now all paths would long have been repaired. That is not the case.

 To be fair, the city has accomplished a great deal, particularly when considering how much damage was done to certain areas. I think the hold up with some of the projects has been due to an attempt to re-imagine some of the areas and thus created an extended timeline, and as the video from the city (shown above) indicates, the timeline is projected to be up to 10 years for completion of all the projects. The unfortunate piece of this is that a major component of the connection of the multi-use paths remains under construction which prevents cyclists and pedestrians from crossing to and through to the east side of Main Street.

There are detours in place that take individuals across city roads, but I think for many of the paths users, the point is to have separation from motorized traffic.
That red line just below "Longmont" is where I was headed. The paths are truly not as disjointed as they appear here on the map as sidewalks often make up where trail portions leave off.
As is indicated on the city website, repairs are still being made to several areas, but for some reason, it hadn't occurred to me before starting out to take a look at the interactive map that would've told me exactly what I found when I arrived: This portion of the trail/path is still closed.
The entrance to the paved trail has been barricaded here, but there is a massive amount of construction taking place to make a new area just north as well as east of this photo.
Originally, I thought if I headed out a little farther east that I'd be able to connect with the trail and ride it out toward Sandstone, but I had no such luck as I was met by a barricaded entrance. Bummer.
Main Street can be seen in the distance just below the line of trees to the left of the photo. Rocks/boulders have been added and paths are being formed with tractors to create a huge area for the future.
I used to travel this road frequently, but don't have as many reasons since our move a couple of years ago, so I was surprised at the extent of work that is being and has already been done.
I'm supposing the time of year is the reason for the reduced water.  This Dickens Farm Nature Preserve will hopefully be a wonderful addition when it is finished.
A park-ish area used to exist in this area and the path traveled through and around it. I don't know if this area was completely destroyed in the flooding and had to be rebuilt, or if it was simply a decision made to expand the area, and thus what is now in progress.

I also am not currently aware of what took place with the prairie dogs that were living here. I'm hoping they were re-homed somewhere safe, or that workers are not disturbing them. I know that other locations in the city have had talks about re-homing prairie dogs (though I'm not in love with the idea of moving them to a former nuclear weapons production site known to have leaked massive amounts of contaminants).
On the other side of the Martin Street bridge there is more construction taking place.  I didn't get any great photos as I didn't want to attempt darting in front of motorized traffic, but there is definitely repacking of dirt and path making taking place.

I get excited to see all of this happening though, and hope that it will only improve local transportation and recreation options. I know there are some knowledgeable locals that occasionally read here, so if you have any additional information on this project, I would love to know more.

If you aren't local, what sort of multi-use projects have happened where you live? Was the completion quick, or do you expect the timeline for completion to be faster? Any advice for those living under construction of trails for the time being? Feel free to share your thoughts.


  1. This post is rather timely. Here in Burlington, VT we love our 7-mile waterfront path. Last year saw a multi-month reconstruction of two miles between Sept-Dec. This year 2 miles is closed from June to October, for further reconstruction of another segment, which rankles a lot of path users. Signs detour people onto busy North Avenue to ride a contentious bike lane demo project that was only voted as permanent in June - right before path closure! To be fair, this is a major project: widening path, building drainage, putting in pause places. Since staying at our family's camp I detour this segment on my daily commute, but I've come up with a neighborhood work around that works better for me. From the city and engineers stand point, I know this process takes time. There are environmental permits, cataloging of native tree and plant species, even special accommodation for protected bat habitat, but as riders we all don't understand why the path section is closed, this year, for the entire summer!

    1. Having waterfront paths is such a nice feature in any city, I think. I believe it helps get more people to use them as well since it's a pleasant sight to look at as we walk, run or ride.

      I think sometimes as path users we can get impatient with MUP projects and forget that it's something that takes a good deal of resources and time. Being able to complete a project in a few months is likely quite quick, but when it eats up the warmer months to get the project(s) done, it can be frustrating on the user end of things. I do appreciate that the city has taken the time to put out path detour signs though. Even though I can figure out an alternate route where paths end, it's nice to know that someone who doesn't regularly ride or walk these routes can go with confidence, knowing that they will be directed to a point of re-entry.

  2. We've had a crazy amount of path development over the past ten years. A now 11-mile greenway connects midtown with the suburbs to the east. The Big River Crossing allows cyclists and pedestrians to cross the Mississippi into Arkansas. And there is a movement on a plan to connect that path to the first greenway I mentioned, which will eventually give us something like a 30 or 40 mile long path (I haven't actually added up all the miles once the connections are made) with no interaction with traffic at all. I think we have another seven or eight years to completion, but it is definitely on the move.

    1. I think several cities across the US have been adding to paths, which is so great! A 30-40 mile stretch with no motorized traffic is pretty impressive, I must say.

      I'm always impatient with the rate of path implementation, but once it's done, it is really a great thing to have.


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