Durango-area residents may be interested to know that discussions are currently underway to remove the existing ban on ebikes in order to allow them access to the Animas River Trail. These discussions are expected to culminate with a recommendation in support of ebikes for a City Council vote sometime this spring.
To date, the city has not yet done its homework regarding the need for and impact of ebikes on the trail or to consider the opinion of current trail users. A recent Herald poll asked if ebikes should be allowed, with 2,100 responses: 57 percent said “no,” 24 percent “yes” and 19 percent said “yes with a speed limit.”
The fact is, there is no practical way to enforce a speed limit on the trail or control thrill-seekers who will push the ebike to its 28 mph threshold. Since 2001, the trail has been “an integral part of the Animas River Greenway” with a “network of on-street bike routes and safe intersections ... to de-emphasize the ART as a through-commuter ... corridor.” In other words, the River Trail was always a source of passive recreation for families with strollers, walking the dog, jogging, ambling leisurely, all to enjoy the scenic setting along the Animas River in peace and quiet. For those who wish to commute downtown on a bike, the city has a draft multi-modal plan that will apparently limit automobile lanes in favor of adding bike lanes.
The city formed a subcommittee to specifically address ebikes on all city trails, hard and soft. That subcommittee has been meeting without minutes available for public inspection in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act and is not listed on the city’s website as a functioning subcommittee.
That subcommittee will next meet at 4 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Rec Center to continue its ebike discussions. If you agree the trail needs to be permanently off-limits from additional traffic, congestion and encroachment created by ebikes, please make your voice heard and join the effort to Save the Animas River Trail – an irreplaceable community treasure.