“RidgeGate Up Close” is our series of interviews with people who make RidgeGate a more vibrant place. Read the unexpected stories of residents, workers and local leaders who live and work here. Know someone who has a unique perspective or life in RidgeGate? Contact us at email@example.com.
A big thank you to Sarah Neumann Photography for conducting and photographing our RidgeGate Up Close interviews! This month: David Lawful, RidgeGate resident and Lone Tree Citizens’ Recreation Advisory Committee member
After a 38 year long career as a system engineer and program manager in the aerospace and defense industry, David Lawful decided to combine a passion for outdoor sports with community service. He was appointed to a two year term on the Citizens’ Recreation Advisory Committee where he reviews plans for parks and trails and provides feedback to the Council on other ways for people to enjoy the Lone Tree landscape. He is also leading the
effort to improve Lone Tree’s involvement in Bike to Work Day. Here, he shares tips on local cycling routes, commuting by bike to work and much more…
#1. How long have you lived in RidgeGate and what attracted you to the community?
Dave: “We have lived in the Denver Metro area since 1992. My wife Helene and I moved to ParkSide at RidgeGate in March of 2013. Our move to RidgeGate was a downsize, to a new, higher-efficiency, lower-maintenance home. The location is ideal for us with great access to public transportation, recreation, shopping and I-25. Walking access to the Rec Center, the Bluffs, the Lone Tree Arts Center, and the new library.”
#2. You’re an avid cyclist. What is your favorite local route?
Dave: “From RidgeGate there is great access to routes that take you to Hess Road; for nearby views and good road riding, this is my favorite. There are a couple of decent grades to climb too. Also, the Bluffs are a lot of fun on a mountain bike, there is some climbing but the trail is not technical. Ultimately, the East-West trail will connect all the way to Parker. Try the less traveled East-West route from Cabela Drive!”
#3. Is biking ever part of your commute to or from work?
Dave: “Absolutely! Lone Tree is improving the access to the C-470 trail and once you can get there you can get anywhere. It is also fairly easy to get to the roads behind Centennial Airport which can connect to Cherry Creek State Park and hence the Cherry Creek Trail once you cross Arapahoe Road.”
#4. When did you become serious about biking and why?
Dave: “I have been riding a bike since I was six. Bicycles were my main means of transportation while I was in college. I started bicycling in events in the mid 80s and really renewed my interest in cycling long distances after we moved to Colorado. Our state is a great place to ride most days of the year.”
#5. What tips do you have for people who might want to make biking part of their daily commute, rather than pure recreation?
“In the Summer, leave early and you will still have plenty of light but the traffic will be lighter. Check out your route on a weekend so you are familiar with it in advance. You may find that a slightly different route home is better because it feels safer. Take into account morning sun angles that will limit your visibility and that of drivers. The City of Lone Tree participates in Denver Bike To Work Day each June, which is a great day to get started because there will be additional support for bike commuters.”
#6. Lone Tree is one of ten city governments that received a “Walk and Wheel” grant from Kaiser Permanente, and you served on the citizen advisory committee that informed this process. Can you tell us why receiving this recognition and funding was important for Lone Tree?
Dave: “Lone Tree is serious about improving our cycling and walking infrastructure. The ‘Walk and Wheel’ study was important because it enabled our public works engineers to put a plan in place that will build out our complete streets infrastructure going forward. Also, because the study really sought and received citizen input, the plan reflects what the people of Lone Tree feel is most important. Some of the changes identified during the study are very cost effective to implement quickly. For example, the addition of bike lanes to Yosemite did not require significant costs but will ultimately provide better access to the C470 trail. Re-striping Park Meadows should be coming. The changes made on RidgeGate Parkway are significant for pedestrians and cyclists and a number of citizens were vocal about the need here. Now as our city grows East of I-25 there is a standard in place for our roads to be complete streets.”
#7. Why do you think multi-modal transportation planning is important for a community?
Dave: “If there is insufficient infrastructure, our citizens will not be likely to get out and ride, so people not using alternative transportation becomes self-fulfilling. It unnecessarily increases congestion and pressure on our environment and degrades our quality of life. On the other hand, when people feel safe because there are marked lanes and multi-use trails that really go where they need to go, leaving the car at home in favor of their bikes or taking a walk becomes a healthy, less stressful alternative. Not only that, commuting by bike can be a better use of your time than driving to the gym for a workout before or after work. Pity the people stuck in traffic trying to get to spin class! One bike commuter on the road is one less car during rush hour. Now, because we have a comprehensive plan in place it enables our city to effectively compete for implementation funds that become available from local, state, and federal transportation agencies.”
#8. Finish this sentence: “Happiness is _____.”
Dave: “….clear skies, a warm day, a safe road, and a bicycle.”