A reader contacted us last month about the removal of automobile lanes on Chelton Road, and the subsequent addition of bike lanes. He also shared photos with us, including signs that credited 2C with the changes. We wrote this little blog about the removal of Chelton Road traffic lanes from Airport to Mallard.
Chelton Road was yet another Colorado Springs “road diet.” Road diet is a term that keeps popping up in our expanding, traffic-congested city. Do Colorado roads need to go on a diet? Our own Laura Carno explains here what a road diet is.
The City of Colorado Springs staff touts road diets as a way to “calm” traffic. Traffic calming includes the modification of a roadway through the removal of traffic lanes. And it’s not without its problems.
On Chelton Road, when the traffic lanes were removed, bike lanes conveniently went in to replace the traffic lanes. Since the sign indicated 2C tax dollars were at work, we suspected that 2C road repairs were being used to mask the City’s bike lane infrastructure push.
An additional concern on the Chelton Road changes was about whether the public process was thorough enough. Were residents in the area given an opportunity for input?
We requested documents through a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request. We received over 252 pages of documents from this CORA. One of the documents recorded that 14 people attended the August 22, 2019 neighborhood meeting prior to the removal of the traffic lanes. Only 14 people. Did the neighbors in the area know what was headed their way? We doubt it. And further, why should citizens have to spend their precious free time attending meetings to stop City-proposed projects that they didn’t want in the first place?
Our CORA returned even more crucially important information. Some was a little shocking.
Our suspicion was right. City staffers are taking advantage of 2C road improvements to push bike lane infrastructure, and are also spending Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) funds in the process. Cycling advocates continue to have outsized influence over Colorado Springs roadways. And maybe most important of all, the City is far from done with its road dieting of your streets.
Take a look at some of the emails between the Senior Bicycle Planner, the Principal Transportation Planner, a Senior Program Manager, and a Senior Operations Assistant —all about bike lanes.
A few things stood out to us. First, the list of potential future roads to be dieted is preceded by this sentence:
“Here are the 2C projects for 2020 that we want to consider for roadway diets…both for bikes and operation/safety.”
Although some in City administration say that bike lanes are not part of 2C, this is more evidence that City officials are using 2C as cover for bike lane projects.
Next, the emails detail the “Upcoming Road Diets,” as well as an attached detailed “internal list” of road diets. If you are in the affected areas, be sure to click on the link to see the City’s rationale for dieting that particular area.
- Astrozon Blvd., from Hancock to Jet Wing
- Chelton Rd., from Mallard to Hancock Expressway
- Jet Wing Dr., from Hancock Expressway to Academy
- Centennial Blvd., from Allegheny to Flying W Ranch Rd.
- Cascade Ave S., from Colorado Ave. to Rio Grande St.
When returning the CORA to us, the City cautioned that this was a preliminary list, and was not final. We assume that means they would add more streets to the list, not remove potential projects.
It’s clear the City is not done with Cascade or Chelton, and they are coming for other roads, too.
According to the City’s own math, only 53% of the original 2C money went to potholes and paving. Are they are so flush with our cash that they are dreaming of ways to spend it on “improvements” that the majority of us don’t want?
Bike advocates passed along their wish lists to City staff —see a recent exchange here. We have not yet seen that City staff invited anyone to a meeting who has been opposed to the expansion of bike lanes. If we find that such meetings occurred, we will provide that updated information.
That the Colorado Springs City Council passed the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan, and that the City continues to cater to the 2% of the population who are bike commuters, has us baffled. Most Colorado Springs residents just want the potholes repaired.
Our CORA information also showed the PPRTA-funded bike improvements had a hefty budget of over $1,200,000 for 2019. There seems to be more in the CORA about PPRTA involvement in bike lanes. We will provide additional information as we read through it.
The information above represents a fraction of what we received in the 252-page CORA. We will keep sifting through the rest of it, and let you know what we find.
We need to put the brakes on catering to a small fraction of our population, while reducing the drivability of Colorado Springs for the rest of the residents. This bike infrastructure agenda should be put to a vote, instead of holding all of the roads hostage. Road repairs should be the priority, not road dieting or bike lanes. Let’s reel in the City of Colorado Springs on spending, and vote NO on 2C on November 5th.