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By Murat Oztaskin | June 8, 2017 | Lifestyle
With a $100 million statewide cycling investment, Governor John Hickenlooper speaks to building the "best state for biking."
No end of the road: “There’s a greater vision,” says Governor John Hickenlooper of the state’s $100 million investment in bicycling, which integrates the efforts of grass-roots community organizations and statewide agencies like the Colorado Department of Transportation.
What does the “best state for biking” look like? “There are so many benefits—reducing traffic, having healthier citizens, building community—to this kind of infrastructure, which includes more trails and better street infrastructure. But we want to be very clear that safety is also a high focus.”
Two years into a four-year investment, what’s been accomplished thus far? “It hasn’t all been spent yet, but we’ve awarded $75 million since September 2015. This is the first time Colorado has really integrated all of its spending— municipal, county, state, nonprofits, money from the lottery.”
What are key projects for the Roaring Fork Valley? “In conjunction with our ‘16 in 2016’ program [which highlighted 16 state projects last year], we’re planning a connector trail between Carbondale and Crested Butte, going up over the Maroon Bells. On the Crested Butte side, you have some of the most amazing mountain bike trails on earth.”
What was the catalyst for this initiative? “My ‘bike czar,’ Ken Gart [principal of Denver’s The Gart Companies], who has helped knit together all these different agencies and groups, as well as [Western Land Group founder] Tom Glass. He and Ken had this vision of someone being able to fly into Denver International Airport and then ride a bicycle all the way to Vail, or even Aspen, without ever having to ride on the shoulder of a road.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SETH K. HUGHES/GETTY IMAGES (LANDSCAPE); JASON BAHR/GETTY IMAGES FOR SERIESFEST (HICKENLOOPER)