For something that raises the ire of most folks in Golden, there wasn’t much interest in hearing what the city hopes to actually do about managing the growing crowds along Clear Creek.
Less than a dozen residents attended the Clear Creek Subcommittee Forum on April 20 at the Golden Community Center to gather community feedback and discuss possible solutions to encourage tourists, tubers, bikers, walkers and businesses to play nicely along the creek corridor.
At one count, there were more city representatives and board members in the room than residents.
Acting City Manager Carly Lorentz and City Councilors Casey Brown and Bill Fisher helped guide public discussion on recommendations from the Parks, Recreation and Museum Advisory Board and the Mobility Transportation Advisory Board.
According to Craig Middleton, PRAM board member, the subcommittee was charged with two tasks; the first being trail usage around the creek, the second being mitigating damage caused by creek users.
Middleton continued, “to make the trail more enjoyable and equitable for walking, using a wheelchair, running and cycling and implement rules that, if followed properly, would allow multiple uses.”
Trail congestion is a top concern.
Anyone who’s been to Golden in the summer knows creek users carrying tubes, kayaks, paddleboards and other flotation devices back to the launch points can contribute to bottlenecks along the trail.
While infrastructure modifications are not out of the question, PRAM board member Cynthia Szymanski emphasized the recommendations presented were “low hanging fruit” and actions that could be implemented quickly.
One idea trying to make its way upstream is to divide the traffic into two distinct groups. The first group, comprised of those with tubes, large floatation devices, and other slower-moving traffic, would be asked to use the north side of the creek, while faster walkers, runners and those with bikes would use the south side.
Additional signage could encourage creek users to be courteous and follow the suggested guidelines to keep foot and bike traffic flowing and remind them not to congregate in the plaza areas.
It was suggested the city’s park rangers and four new code enforcement officers might help maintain smooth transitions along the corridor.
Specialized landscaping at high-traffic entry and exit points that would move creek users along a specified path was offered as a way to prevent damage along the trails.
Clear Creek Subcommittee was formed to offer high-level guidance for the city’s efforts to manage the issues created by overcrowding on Clear Creek during the busy summer months.