By Alex Zorn, the Citizen-Telegram, July 8, 2017
John Stroud / Post Independent | Post Independent
Photo: Glenwood Springs Police Officer Levi Blount tries out one of the police department's new electric-assist bicycles that will be used heavily during the upcoming Grand Avenue bridge detour.
Glenwood Springs CO -- As Glenwood Springs gets ready for the bridge closure next month, anybody who works or lives within city limits must make plans for mobility during the scheduled 95-day detour. For the Glenwood Springs Police Department, Chief of Police Terry Wilson sees bike officers as a potential solution for when the bridge finally closes.
"There have been times over the years that we have had no opportunity to use bikes, but after the bridge closes, the use of bikes will have to be part of our daily routine," he said. "It turns into something that we will likely need to rely on quite a bit."
Wilson indicated that the department will likely have to do a bit of trial and error to figure out what works and doesn't work beginning Aug. 14, when the existing Grand Avenue bridge closes. The department currently has four electric bikes and four pedal bikes, and Wilson hopes to have two officers assigned to bikes as well as being ready to use them for emergency response.
"During the morning and evening rush, around City Hall, bikes will probably be the fastest way to get around town," he said.
He hopes to have at least two uniform officers on bikes at all times during the closure.
With the expected increased traffic on the bike paths, Wilson added that several restrictions and exemptions will be in place to ensure that the paths are as safe and efficient as possible.
E-bikes will be allowed on hard-surface trails during the detour, and bikers are encouraged to ride at slower speeds.
A strict prohibition will be in place on any loose dogs on or around the bike paths. Leashes can be a maximum of 6 feet long.
Wilson said a combination of uniform officers and traffic personnel will be on hand at specific choke points in the city, where bike traffic and intersections are expected to be the most congested during the detour.
He added that as much as police can prepare and put restrictions in place, much of the plan may change as the closure begins and that department better understands what works and what doesn't.