Mysterious green ‘bike circle’ is no cause for alarm

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Is the round green marking a new traffic-control device to complement “bike boxes” or is it Durango’s equivalent of an alien “crop circle?” Inquiring minds want to know.

What’s up with the bright-green manhole cover on 8th Street between Main and East Second avenues? It’s the same color as those “bike boxes.” So, is this some sort of new “bike circle?” And if it’s a “bike circle,” what are drivers supposed to do when we approach a “bike circle?” – Circular Reasoning

Durango was certainly taken aback when square green “bike boxes” sprang up at various intersections downtown.

And now, there’s a new, green street marking – this one circular.

But it’s not the latest traffic innovation from the Colorado Department of Transportation or the city’s Multi-Modal unit.

So that leaves only one logical explanation: Durango’s “bike circle” is of alien origin. It’s the local version of a “crop circle.”

There are too many coincidences: The “bike circle” appeared suddenly overnight, just like “crop circles”; the “bike circle” was discovered in late summer, when “crop circles” start showing up.

The list goes on.

But what makes the “bike circle” even more suspicious: The decorative painting on city property happened without the involvement of the Durango Public Art Commission.

And that brings up a really good point.

Given the kerfuffle over the “Arc of History” sculpture at the U.S. Highway 550/160 intersection, some have suggested that the Public Art Commission is actually an extraterrestrial group, and the sculpture is from another planet.

But that’s another story – and none of it has to do with a big emerald dot in the middle of the street.

Sadly, the green “bike circle” is neither an intergalactic interloper nor a paranormal phenomenon.

Rather than consult with psychic astrologers or UFO researchers, Action Line placed a call to a down-to-earth guy who knows everything about Durango streets.

We’re referring to our good friend Levi Lloyd, the city’s streets superintendent.

The mysterious green “bike circle” is just a plain old workaday utility location marker, he said.

When crews need to dig a hole or trench, they are required to call for a utility locator. A person comes to the site and marks the infrastructure in different colors.

Red is electric, orange is communications and blue is potable water. Green happens to be the color for sewer infrastructure.

Not that there was any question. Stamped on the large iron disc is the word “SEWER.” It’s about a foot in length and in all capital letters.

One can’t be too careful these days.

The fact that green is also the color of men from Mars is pure coincidence.

durango colorado

This week’s Mea Culpa Mailbag contains the final three interpretations for the “Arc of History” sculpture. (And rest assured, Action Line will stop writing about the sculpture after this week.)

Loyal readers Gwyneth and Sam Stites visually combine Durango newest legal activity with its latest public art.

“It’s a portal,” the couple writes. “It’s the ‘Home of the Stoned Joint,’ as in ‘Welcome to Durango, Colorado, and a Rocky Mountain High.’”

Meanwhile, our good friend Daryl Tomberlin and his cohorts call the statue the “whale tail.”

And finally, an anonymous reader suggested the thing be taken down and replaced by a giant orange cone: “Since CDOT was driving the process, the most realistic symbol should be the one we all know and recognize.”

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you can explain why we call it “Back to School” if education is about looking ahead to the future.

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