Imagine swapping morning traffic for a trail, whipping past trees and quiet open space, enjoying sounds of rotating bike tires instead of the radio. For the numerous Boulder County residents who drive between Longmont and Niwot each morning and afternoon, this commute is about to become a reality as the first phase of the Longmont-to-Boulder bike trail is finally complete.
On July 14, the public is invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the LoBo trail’s northern segment, a connector between Longmont and Niwot. The three-mile trail will stretch from Lefthand Creek Trail in Longmont to Lefthand Valley Grange Trailhead.
Organizers of the county’s regional trail program will eventually build a 12-mile, entirely off-road connector to extend through Gunbarrel. Using funds from a sales tax and a transportation grant, contributions also came from the involved cities. County communications specialist Dan Rowland said officials hope the trail creates unity.
“The idea is that we’re going to connect the larger community within the county,” Rowland said. “What we do is we work with other communities like the city of Boulder and the city of Longmont and often times they’ll all pitch in money also because they want to see these connections built.”
Designed to encourage alternative transportation, the trail will pass through open space areas and features a renovated pedestrian bridge underpass near Oxford Road. Boulder County capital projects coordinator Tim Swope said the bike trail is ideal for both commuters and recreation riders.
“The beauty of this trail is that it’s both recreational and for transportation needs,” Swope said. “It is great as a recreational trail, but it also provides a soft dirt service trail so that people can ride their bikes to work.”
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Community Cycles from Boulder and Bicycle Longmont will host group bike rides to christen the trail. Rowland said both groups were active in supporting the project.
“It’s kind of fun to have a group ride, a great way to celebrate the opening of a new trail,” Rowland said. “And it’ll be nice for us because we want to recognize (these groups) for all their efforts and for making this trail a reality.”
In 2012, the next phase will include a trail between Cottontail Trail and the Boulder Reservoir—but it will still lack a connection to the Lefthand Valley Grange Trailhead. Rowland said officials have not yet settled on a timeline.
“It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date on it right now,” Rowland said. “The vision for the complete build out of the trail is there and it’s in the planning phases now.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on July 14 at 4:30pm at the Lefthand Valley Grange Trailhead near the corner of 83rd Street and Niwot Road. Visit Community Cycles at communitycycles.org and Bicycle Longmont at bicyclelongmont.org for information regarding group rides.