A Snyderville Basin development that maintains a rare policy allowing bicyclists onto its private roads will stop doing so next week, indicating that there are increased safety concerns as construction continues.
In a prepared statement issued on Monday, The Preserve developer said there are "growing concerns of safety due to an increase in home construction" in the three phases of the project.
The ban is scheduled to start on May 28, the day after Memorial Day. The statement indicated gates will be closed at the two access points on Bitner Ranch Road. A sign posted at a gate at The Preserve cited both safety and privacy concerns as reasons for the ban.
"While many of The Preserve's homeowners are road bikers themselves, they feel it is important to restrict the private road access at this time to ensure their safety and that of fellow road bikers," the developer, Kirk MacDonald, said in the statement. "We hope the local biking community understands this decision and has had the opportunity to enjoy the great access we offered during the past decade."
The Preserve is situated nearby the better-known Glenwild development north of Interstate 80. Bitner Ranch Road is the artery street leading to the site.
The statement said The Preserve had been the only one of five communities off Bitner Ranch Road that allowed bicyclists on private roads. Developments in the area with private roads typically do not allow bicyclists onto them.
MacDonald said in an interview approximately 10 miles of roads will be affected by the ban. He acknowledged the roads are a "fabulous place to ride" bicycles. Bicyclists sometimes reach speeds faster than 30 mph on downhill stretches of road, he said.
"It's the danger of an accident, really, more than anything else," he said, noting that construction trucks and heavy machinery will be operating within the project.
Up to eight homes will be under construction during the summer, MacDonald said.
The ban does not involve the 12 miles of trails that are within The Preserve. Bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders frequently use the trails, MacDonald said.
The prepared statement indicated the public will still have trailhead access to the Cobblestone Loop, Flying Dog and Preserve Connector trails. The public will "continue to enjoy uninterrupted use of these trails," the statement said. The trailhead access points are not within the development itself.
The ban on cycling on the roads in The Preserve will be a loss to the Park City area's robust road-cycling community. There are few places in Park City or the Snyderville Basin that offer long stretches of road with little traffic like those in The Preserve.
"It's a fabulous place to bike. I know that," MacDonald said.
Mountain Trails Foundation, a not-for-profit advocacy group, was aware of the decision by The Preserve. Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of the group, said he hopes the roads in the development can someday be reopened to bicyclists.
"We should be thankful for the number of years we had to ride up there," Sturgis said, calling The Preserve an "attractive place to ride."
He said bicycling at The Preserve is a nice experience for riders, describing riding routes that include uphill and downhill segments. He also noted the low volume of traffic.
"A large majority of the road riders in town probably used that area," Sturgis said.