Updated 2/4/2020 with the following statement from area resident Lisa Gerleman:
“It was good to see almost unanimous neighborhood opposition to the closure of Mayhurst Avenue at the January 16 meeting.
After Mr. Skorman and the City traffic department witnessed the huge outcry from Cheyenne Canon residents and the Broadmoor Fire Chief‘s disapproval of the closure, the City wisely backed down and took this ill thought out proposal off the table.”
At SpringsTaxpayers.com, we were contacted by multiple readers concerning a proposed road closure happening in the Broadmoor area. On December 20th, Colorado Springs City Engineer Erin Purcell announced on Nextdoor that a Broadmoor-area street, Mayhurst Avenue, would be gated off and closed to through traffic.
There is a lot that happened behind the scenes in the months prior to the City’s announcement about the road closure. Except almost none of us had any idea. The events in the Mayhurst neighborhood are another example of the stunning lack of the transparency we have come to expect from City government. A small handful of people were calling the shots, quietly working behind the scenes on a decision that would have impacted thousands of unaware residents.
Mayhurst Avenue is a small, curvy street near the Broadmoor Hotel that has a 20-mph speed limit. A small handful of Mayhurst Avenue residents complained of speeding and heavy traffic on their street. There were 2 City meetings limited to Mayhurst Avenue residents to discuss solutions for the road. During those meetings, road closure initially appeared to be the favored option by most in attendance. Later, after other less extreme traffic calming measures such as “No Through Traffic” signs were implemented, many Mayhurst residents changed their minds, and did not feel road closure was necessary.
For six months, the traffic department responded to a steady pour of emails from a few concerned parties who wanted one end of the road gated off. It was even discussed in one email to City staff that property values on a cul-de-sac road are higher as compared to a through-street. What does that matter if the argument to close the road was really about safety? Also, in one email a Mayhurst resident emailed City staff to mention a personal connection to City Council President Richard Skorman. Was that move used to gain leverage in turning a through-street into a cul-de-sac? Did that email make City staff “snap to it” and move toward a road closure? Here are all of those emails, you can decide.
We’ve put the emails in chronological order to give you a picture of what’s going on with those citizens, the Public Works Department, and City Council President Richard Skorman. We’ve removed the names of private citizens, even though we’d be allowed to share them, as they are a matter of public record. They have the right to complain, but there is no need to drag them through the mud. Our public officials are at fault. We hold them accountable. For future issues, we’ll continue doing just that.
In early January, we requested traffic studies to determine what impact the potential closure of Mayhurst would have on the neighboring streets. The City was unable to provide us with traffic studies for the surrounding streets and stated, “Data is in the process of collecting on Evans Ave. and Cresta Ave. and therefore the City has no responsive records relating to them at this time.”
Think about it: The City made a decision to close Mayhurst and didn’t even do a traffic study of the surrounding streets to figure out what the impact would be!
A 24-hour June 24th Mayhurst Avenue traffic study indicated that 634 vehicles drove on the street with an average travel speed of 27 mph. A June 25th study indicated 465 vehicles drove on Mayhurst Avenue with an average travel speed of 25 mph. An August 22nd study indicated 420 vehicles drove on Mayhurst Avenue with an average travel speed of 22 mph. By August 27th, as school traffic should have impacted numbers, the number of cars actually dropped to only 378 vehicles over a 24-hour period with average speed of 23 mph.
Along with the rest of you, we admit to occasionally being what Mayor Suthers refers to as “would-be-traffic-engineers”, but those don’t sound like terrible numbers for a road adjacent to the Broadmoor during the summer months.
Here are the complete traffic studies for Mayhurst Avenue. Feel free to peruse them if traffic studies don’t put you to sleep!
While we know changes will come to neighborhoods, the issue that is most problematic in this situation is the lack of public process. The City made the decision to close Mayhurst without any meetings for residents who live on adjacent streets. Also, emails indicate the City did not communicate with the local fire department prior to making the decision to close the road. We think it should be a critical step, as fire and flooding are real threats in that area, and exit roads out of the neighborhood are limited.
Let’s consider this another Public Works experiment gone awry. It’s a common theme for that department and even though we aren’t traffic engineers, public servants should always remember that taxpayers pay their wages and that they are accountable to all of us —not just a few squeaky wheels. Since a City meeting last week, all signs are pointing to a good conclusion and that is good for those residents. The City of Colorado Springs Public Works Department has announced that they are looking for other solutions for Mayhurst Avenue.