(UPDATE July 2, 2021: I and other City Councilors have requested that Golden and JCOS hold a public tour and discussion to help everyone understand the changes and decision process. Stay Tuned…)
Residents of Golden have recently noticed an electronic signboard along Clear Creek near the 6th Avenue bridge (west side of Golden as it goes into the canyon). It states the Grant Terry Trail will be closed for about a month for a paving project.
This is a Jefferson County Open Space project (not a City of Golden project).
This will result in the loss of about 1/3 of a mile of the Grant Terry Trail as soft surface only, but trail users are gaining 1.5 miles of soft-surface only Flume Trail, and Welch Ditch trail (where bikes will be prohibited).
The Peaks 2 Plains project has been under construction for a couple of years. The final part apparently includes an ADA-accessible paved surface from the edge of Golden to the pedestrian bridge across the creek west of Golden as well as to the new “Gateway of Clear Creek Canyon Park” trailhead / parking lot up on 6th as it enters the canyon.
The original Project Map (above left button) shows the north side of Grant Terry Trail as “existing” (small black hash lines) and does not indicate it is part of the project’s construction scope. The Project Map was updated on 6/23/21 to clarify the alignment changes…
Grant Terry Trail portions in gray to be paved with an adjacent soft-surface trail. Portions in red will remain as the existing soft surface trail with no paving.
I asked City Staff if they would provide additional information related to questions from residents about this project, and need for paving. Here are the responses.
Q: When was this discussed and how?
A: As part of the Peak to Plains project Jefferson County conducted public outreach and it went before the Golden PRAM board (Parks, Recreation & Museums) at both the May and June PRAM meetings during the director’s report. There were not many questions, and no concerns. PRAM gave positive feedback to it and agreed that it was appropriate to move forward. There was support voiced for soft surface trails adjacent to the paved path which is an included element in the project. The typical practice is if there are concerns it would go on the next agenda and because there were not any it did not move forward to that stage. See below for the minutes from the May conversation:
Peaks to Plains – The City owns 2000’ of trail on the west side of 6th Ave. Jeffco is putting in concrete for Peaks to Plains. We did not schedule concrete on the 2000’because of the hydrology in the area; the lines pop up. There is debate about putting a concrete trail on top to see if it would hold it down. Public Works and Utilities have been reluctant to put concrete on the trail. Jeffco and Golden had a meeting to discuss the possibility of putting concrete on that portion of the trail. Jeffco is willing to create an IGA together to pay for it and mitigate/fix issues if they arise. They would also include a soft surface trail alongside if it fits. Craig thinks it makes sense for continuity. Rod explained the concrete will provide continuity as well as making it multi-mobile.
Q: What is the happening with the Grant Terry Trail?
A: The portion of the GTT that connects the Clear Creek Trail and the US6 Regional Trail to the Peaks to Plains (P2P) trail is being improved. A 10’ trail and 5’ soft surface path will be constructed to connect the Clear Creek Trail and US 6 Regional Trail to the P2P trail. The trail width will remain the same, no additional disturbance to the area will occur during construction or afterward. A portion of the existing trail will remain natural surface for runners and those with orthopedic issues or who prefer that type of surface. The natural surface trail width will vary, and the concrete trail will be 10 feet wide. The new concrete trail will also be stained for a more natural appearance and to match the P2P Trail.
Q: Why does the trail need to change?
A: The expected use of the trail will change it drastically and if left in its current state will be an issue to maintain with the large increase in traffic and uses and ability to provide accommodation. With the construction of the P2P gateway section, the Grant Terry Trail is no longer a dead end trail connecting to a handful of recreational trails on Lookout Mountain. It is now connecting the Clear Creek Trail and US 6 Regional Trail to the Peaks to Plains trail.
Q: What are the benefits of a concrete path?
A: With this new connection and consultation with our ADA consultants, there are new standards for the section of the trail between US 6 and the Jefferson County pedestrian bridge. Once this happens, we either need to upgrade the section to meet the standards or add that trail to our ADA Transition Plan and commit to the upgrades in the future. The concrete surface will endure the increased use that will occur as more segments of the P2P Trail are completed. This durable, year-round surface will help address seasonal flooding and muddy conditions, as well as help stabilize the City of Golden main water line below the trail surface.
Q: Will the entire trail be paved?
A: No. Only the section between the US 6 Bridge and the Jeffco pedestrian bridge will be improved. The section between the pedestrian bridge and the Church Ditch headgate will remain a soft surface as will the Church Ditch Trail.
Q: What are the advantages of doing it now?
A: JCOS has enough contingency left in the P2P gateway section that they have offered to make the needed improvements to the entire section at no cost to the city. If we wait, the cost of the improvements could fall to the city and have to be budgeted in the Capital Improvement Program. The current cost of these improvements is $250-300,000.
Q: Why weren’t these improvement included in the original P2P plan?
A: There are a couple reasons. Golden had raised concerns about increased maintenance costs for the raw water line that runs under GTT. Since the original plan included a paved path that ran parallel to US6 west of the bridge up to the parking area, JCOS did not include improvements to the GTT. This does not change that it is now a multi-use path that will eventually need to be improved. The path parallel to US6 is no longer being constructed making the need to improve GTT more apparent. As mentioned above, JCOS has adequate budget to complete these improvements and has offered to make them as part of the P2P project.
Q: I hear that the soft path may only be two feet wide. How wide will it be?
A: The goal is a five foot soft path adjacent to the concrete trail. In some areas, large trees limit the space for a soft trail and a decision was made to preserve the trees and the tree canopy and have portions of the soft trail narrower, but always at least two feet. Additionally, there are plans to add an offshoot section of trail that would be entirely soft surface near this area that is approximately the same length.
Construction is slated to start Monday, June 28th. It’s unclear whether this may change. What is clear is that more traffic is coming to the Grant Terry Trail area.
I am encouraging JCOS and the City of Golden staff to provide additional communication regarding the updates to the project’s paved concrete section on the north side of Grant Terry Trail. I think it would also be beneficial to understand how much traffic (pedestrian, cars, bikes, etc.) is forecast to come with completion of this project.
If you would like to reach out to respectfully share your thoughts, and to learn more and have additional questions about the project answered, here are a few resources:
Jefferson County Director of the Parks and Open Space Division
Deputy City Manager, City of Golden
Deputy Director Public Works, City of Golden
City of Golden Mayor & Council Members
And you are always welcome to reach out to me, I represent Golden Ward 4.