It has been a cold and wet winter. One result of this is that I haven't been riding as much because the roads have been so icy. But another result of this is that is I have acquired a mountain bike! (Or "rescued" one, as they say.) So I don't have to be quite as skiddish on the ice as I am on the skinny little tires of my zippy little road bike.
One stretch of bike route that has made skiddish is the portion of D14 that runs east/west along 1st Avenue, north of the Denver Country Club.
This is also part of the Cherry Creek Trail, where it briefly comes above ground.
First of all, this is one of the more sketchy "Use the sidewalk" portions of bike route that I have seen in Denver. The sidewalk feels narrow. There's enough room for opposing foot/bike traffic to pass each other, but there have been several instances where I decided to stop and wait for the oncoming joggers or bikers to pass before continuing. Especially when portions of the sidewalk are lost to ice mounds.
Further more, this narrow little sidewalk is woefully unprotected from the 1st Avenue traffic. Here's what a well protected sidewalk looks like.
This sidewalk, an example from completestreets.org, protects users from street traffic with grass, trees, and a shoulder on the road. Actually, it looks a lot like the the west side of the same country club:
Compare the above sidewalks to the one in question, along 1st Avenue:
This sidewalk in no way protects its users from street traffic, which you can see is considerable.
Imagine once more that the sidewalk—as is often the case—is covered in ice. On this sidewalk, a slip or a spill could mean instantly entering the flow of traffic if you're not riding close to the hedge.
The hedge, incidentally, which is just tall enough to prevent any sunlight from hitting the sidewalk, leaving it caked in ice long after it has melted off elsewhere.
And so, although I might brave it now that I have this new mountain bike, I've taken to abjuring this little stretch of D14/Cherry Creek Trail/1st Avenue. I've marked it as a seasonal trail hazard on my map. And I'm going to call up the country club and suggest they raise their dues if they can't spare twenty dollars to outsource the shoveling of their sidewalks to a twelve year old from the neighborhood.