Thoughts on proposed Clovis Trail Bridge

I was not able to attend the meeting last week, but I did get a hold of the presentation. As a reminder:

The City is interested in hearing from residents, business owners, special interest groups, and any other parties on the draft plan. The proposed project is intended to focus on the need, feasibility, and future development of a Class I trail/pedestrian bridge along the Enterprise Canal, extending south of Owens Mountain Parkway, and over State Route 168, which will serve to link the commercial, residential, Clovis Community Medical Center Complex, and business campuses in the immediate area.

Before we look at the details, something important to note: Don’t expect this any time soon.
Most likely, they will apply for funding under the Active Transportation Program.

The Cycle 4 Call for Projects is expected to include about $440M in ATP funding made up of Federal funding and State SB1 and SHA funding.  The funding/programming years are expected to include 19/20, 20/21, 21/22 and 22/23 funding years.

You can see projects recently funded by Cap and Trade money on this page.

If I had to bet, I’s estimate this will happen around 2022. That being said, the time to make your voice heard is now. If you wait, “the design is finalized”.

Anyway, the presentation shows 3 options.

Alternative 3 is what I expected. It essentially follows the canal, which is what the trail itself follows.

Alternative 2 is similar, but places the trail on the other side of the canal from the existing trail. That would require a small bridge over the canal to connect them.

Finally, Alternative 1 is similar to 2. So what’s with the weird loop? From what I understand, Alternatives 2 and 3 will elevate the trail over the highway by creating a sort of tower with a ramp around it. Alternative 1 achieves the same vertical lift over a long space.

So a shorter route might actually look like this at the ends of the bridge:


The meeting apparently was very conceptual. They showed some models of what the bridge could look like. I guess the idea is what it would be a gateway into Clovis.



Personally, I don’t care what it looks like. But I do think the following things are important:

1. The grade change must be as natural as possible.

A steep ramp is a no-go, as nobody would want to use it. However, both a winding tower and a long u-turn loop are also pretty bad options. The solution is to have a gradual rise over as long a distance as possible – including redoing areas where the trail currently exists.

2. The bridge should be as wide as possible.

Nobody likes bicycling or walking in a narrow space. Especially when the closest exit is far away. The path should be a minimum of 12-feet wide.

3. Maximize space by pushing the handrails out.

Look at this picture:


Note the bicyclist on the left. He has to position himself close to the center of the track because of the space needed for pedaling and the handlebars. Essentially, if you measure 10 feet of asphalt, you get like 5 feet of usable space. Note how the bicyclist on the right is closer to the wall, because he has more space higher up.

This bridge in Portland is a good example of the railing on the left extending out, to maximize space.
My first walk across Tilikum Bridge-16


It’s ugly. It’s claustrophobic.

chain link bridge

If a barrier is needed, it should be plexiglass. This material is transparent like glass, but much harder to break. It also blocks the noise and exhaust from the highway.


5. It needs to be open 24/7.

It will be an important transportation link and should be treated as such.

Did I miss anything? What does Clovis need to take into account when planning this bridge?

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