Electronic bikes on the city’s paved trails have been allowed for 10 months under a pilot program, and soon the city will look to hear from the public about how things are going.
City of Durango Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz told Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board members they should be looking at dates to take public comments on residents’ impressions on how the trial for e-bikes has gone and whether the city should change its ordinance, which currently prohibits bicycles with motors on city trails.
Metz said most complaints about e-bikes on the trails have come from people who do not want them on the trail and some complaints have been registered about speed, but she has not heard about any accidents involving e-bikes.
“This hasn’t been a big deal?” asked board member Mark Smith.
Metz said if things were going poorly on the trails, she would have come back to the board to modify the trial program before it expired in a year.
Electronic bicycles are not allowed on Forest Service trails or Bureau of Land Management trails in La Plata County, and Metz said a survey of other counties in Colorado showed many, like the city of Durango, are in a period of study about how to handle e-bikes.
Many counties are limiting e-bikes to paved trails, Metz said, although Jefferson County on the Front Range is allowing Class I e-bikes, which are pedal-assisted e-bicycles, on nonpaved trails under that county’s one-year trial program.
They city surveyed counties, not cities, on their policies regarding e-bikes because few cities in Colorado can match the amount of trails within Durango city limits.
Lake NighthorseIn addition, Metz updated the board on early lessons learned from the opening of Lake Nighthorse.
Metz did not yet have figures from the entrance fees to the lake. However, she said the amount raised is coming in below projections.
Some of the underperformance, she said, can be attributed to the nine days the lake was closed because of fire restrictions and the limited number of people who used the lake on other days when smoke from the 416 Fire was particularly bad.
Also, a parking lot near the boat ramp was closed for a month for repairs, and that too may have depressed visitation, Metz said.
A daily vehicle pass to Lake Nighthorse is $8. An annual vehicle pass is $70, with a $10 discount offered for seniors.
“I’m feeling really good about people’s experience when they are at the lake,” she said. “But I think our cost recovery is going to be terrible this year.”