Power of the peloton: Basin development will not ban bicyclists
A development in the Snyderville Basin, faced with mounting opposition to plans to ban bicyclists on private roads within the project, said on Sunday it had decided against taking that action.
The area’s road cyclists hailed the decision by The Preserve, a project situated close to Glenwild north of Interstate 80. Kirk MacDonald, The Preserve developer, announced the decision during an appearance at Kimball Junction in front of a crowd of upward of 40 bicyclists and others interested in the possibility of a ban.
The bicyclists had gathered outside the Park City Coffee Roaster location on Ute Boulevard as a starting point for a ride to The Preserve. The ride had been organized after the developer indicated the ban on bicyclists would go into effect on Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day.
MacDonald told the bicyclists he had received 85 e-mails, each of them written in a polite and courteous tone, addressing a ban. He said he learned that elite athletes were riding on roads in The Preserve and the ban would have impacted thousands of people in the Park City area.
He said, though, discussions are needed between the development and the bicyclists to consider ways to regulate the bicycle traffic.
"I need your support to convince my owners to let you in," MacDonald said, indicating the homeowners will be patient for a while.
The Preserve early last week issued a statement indicating the ban would be put in place as a precaution as construction continues within the development. The statement said gates would be closed at two access points on Bitner Ranch Road, the street that leads to the project. Signs were also posted. The ban would have affected approximately 10 miles of roads. It would not have involved the 12 miles of trails at The Preserve.
The Preserve maintains a rare policy of allowing bicyclists on private roads, something that developers with private roads in the area typically prohibit. The bicyclists say The Preserve is an ideal place for them because there is little traffic and the roads offer a range of uphill and downhill stretches.
Outside the coffee shop, the bicyclists also listened to remarks from Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of the advocacy group Mountain Trails Foundation, and others. Sturgis was especially animated as he spoke, at one point giving two thumbs up while he talked about The Preserve’s decision.
Sturgis urged the group of bicyclists to obey the rules of the road and adhere to the principles of sharing the road with others. The crowd yelled "You bet" as Sturgis paused between sentences.
"This is a good opportunity to maybe reaffirm that the recreational community can be a good guest on private land," Sturgis said in an interview.
The bicyclists left the parking lot outside the coffee shop and headed eastbound toward The Preserve paralleling Interstate 80 along the route. They arrived at the road leading to The Preserve a short time later and headed uphill against a backdrop of the Park City mountains.
Bill Demong, a Spring Creek resident who was one of the organizers of the Sunday event, said on Monday he was encouraged with what he had heard from MacDonald.
"A week ago yesterday I don’t think anybody thought that anything but the gate closure would happen," Demong said.
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