Updated: May 23
Pueblo is planning to change Union Avenue to make it more pedestrian-friendly and neighborhood-like. The planned changes will make Union Avenue less accessible to the community at large. While the plan is still conceptual, engineering will start this summer with construction possibly starting in 2023.
We are still at a stage where we can comment on what's best for Pueblo. Do we want a Union Avenue for all of us or just a few of us? Sign the petition and add a comment why bike lanes matter.
A consulting firm was hired to host public meetings and develop the master plan in 2020. Remember the year of social distancing and limits on gatherings? The master plan Zoom meetings were not well attended and many community members felt their voices were not being heard. What resulted is a Master Plan that will:
Remove the turn lanes and bike lanes on Union Avenue from B Street to Alan Hamel.
Provide only one travel lane in each direction right next to an 8-foot-wide parallel parking area with no buffer area.
Force cyclists to ride in the center of the lane with cars on Union. Or avoid Union to ride on a proposed four block stretch of bike lanes on Main Street after a travel lane is removed there. While the plan also calls for dramatic slowing on Union to force more motor vehicles to Main Street.
Widen sidewalks on four blocks of Union to 20 feet minimum, about midway through existing bike lane, and 28 feet at intersections and anywhere there is no parallel parking spot.
Pueblo Active Community Environments (PACE) is a 14-year-old local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization that hosts this website and spoke up against removing the bike lanes at the Zoom Master Plan meetings.
Advocates have been more vocal and concerned since the city built an unnecessary concrete barrier in the bike lane at Alan Hamel and Union earlier this year (see photo).
PACE supports slowing traffic, improved sidewalks and a connected bicycle network across Pueblo County. So PACE fully expected improvements, not a huge step backward with this master plan.
PACE has proposed a slight modification for a more multi-modal, healthy and vibrant Union Avenue for all, not just a few.
Keep 5-foot bike lane for bicycles to ride and not impede motor vehicles. If right of way space exists, roadways should be designed to provide designated space for motor vehicles, for bicycles/scooters and for pedestrians.
The bike lane also provides a comfortable buffer zone for people parking to get in and out of their car.
Widen sidewalks to 15 feet minimum and up to 23-feet wide at intersections or in places without a parallel parking spot. Currently sidewalks on Union are 16-feet wide at crosswalks and the outdoor dining parklets.
Install uniform, level sidewalks using colored concrete instead of bricks and curbing with raised areas that limit the utility of the sidewalk area and become a tripping hazard. This allows maximum pedestrian, planters and café options. Avoid the new design at Union and Alan Hamel with curbing minimizing sidewalk width and creating useless concrete islands.
Construct smarter bump outs to accommodate crowded sidewalks and all users. The new curb ramps at Santa Fe and City Center are more like other cities providing wide-open sloped and rounded curbing, which is more crowd and bicycle friendly.
Avoid the dramatic narrowing of Union Avenue that would impact the city’s ability to host large events like the Chile Festival, Hot Rods and Pueblo Classic Cycling race in the future.
Recognize Union Avenue is already a destination and magnet for people to walk and bicycle. Union is a major part of Pueblo’s on-street bike network with easy access from the Mesa Junction area and lower downtown. The 2010 and 2020 Bicycle Master Plan bicycle route designations were ignored in the 2021 Master Plan for Main St and Union Ave.
Community members were able to meet with the Mayor and Public Works Director during an April public meeting to voice their concerns. However, a couple property owners, seem to have a lot more sway in the development of this project. City officials need to hear from the public on building a true community asset and avoid an $8 million traffic jam.
Remaking Union is designed to draw more people in, not push people away using healthy, non-polluting transportation. Bicycle infrastructure is proven to bring more business to small retail areas and restaurants like Union businesses. Bikes mean business!
While cities across America are adding bike lanes, why would Pueblo want to remove safe bicycle access to an area cyclists have enjoyed cycling to for over 20 years?
Keep Bike Lanes on Union is a community awareness campaign to highlight a tremendous asset Pueblo might lose if people don’t speak up. The campaign encourages community members to sign a petition, email officials, and get out and enjoy Union Avenue businesses this summer on a bicycle or scooter.
Click here to sign the “Keep Bike Lanes on Union” petition. You may opt to join an email list for updates, who to email directly and fun activities, such as a Photovoice competition on Union planned during the month of June.