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Colorado Springs to reduce speed limits, add bike lanes and more in the Old North End

January 30, 2018 Updated: January 31, 2018 at 6:45 am
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photo - Reduced speed limits, more bike lanes and fewer traffic lanes and crosswalks are coming to the Old North End. (Gazette file photo)
Reduced speed limits, more bike lanes and fewer traffic lanes and crosswalks are coming to the Old North End. (Gazette file photo) 

Reduced speed limits, more bike lanes and fewer traffic lanes and crosswalks are coming to the Old North End.

The changes, intended to increase safety, will see speed limits dropped from 35 to 30 mph on Nevada, Wahsatch, and Cascade avenues and Weber, Uintah and Fontanero streets through the historic neighborhood, the city announced.

Speed limits on Tejon Street and Wood Avenue will drop from 30 to 25 mph in the area.

Work begins this spring to narrow Cascade Avenue from two lanes to one in each direction between Boulder and Jackson streets, said city spokeswoman Kim Melchor.

That will allow a bike lane and parking to be added in both directions.

This change likely will reduce traffic south of Corpus Christi Catholic School, 2410 N. Cascade Ave., said Principal John Kraus.

"It'll take people some time to get used to one traffic lane, but as long as the city is putting safety first, then we're stepping in the right direction," Kraus said.

Colorado College will reduce its four crosswalks with flashing lights along Cascade to two standard crosswalks, starting this spring.

But the two crosswalks will be safer because students will cross one lane of traffic instead of two, said Kathleen Krager, senior city traffic engineer.

Weber Street will shrink to one lane in each direction from Jackson Street south to Colorado Avenue, Melchor said.

A center left turn lane, bike lanes and parking will be installed along that stretch, but the work hasn't been scheduled yet, she said.

Similarly, Fontanero Street will be narrowed to one lane in each direction between Wood Avenue east to El Paso Street, so a center turn lane and bike lanes can be added in 2019.

The inside, westbound lane of Uintah Street, between Corona and Weber streets, will be converted into a center turn lane to give motorists better access to Corona Street, Wahsatch and Weber avenues and the mid-block alleyways, Melchor said. This work likely will start this summer.

Some area residents argued against reducing traffic lanes on some streets, Krager said.

But, she said, "This is a case where we really do have excess roadway capacity."

Courtney Stone, of the Community Transit Coalition, said the changes will provide a net benefit for the area.

"In Colorado Springs, a lot of transportation is built around cars and vehicles but not necessarily around other modes," Stone said. "Any time they're improving capacity for people to walk and bike and take public transit safely to work, we're happy."

In an effort to prevent illegal left turns, the city will install vertical delineators in the center of Uintah Street at Wood Avenue, Melchor said.

Other changes are meant to keep heavy traffic out of the neighborhood.

The Citizens Transportation Advisory Board will consider this spring whether to ban delivery trucks from Nevada Avenue or nearby streets in the neighborhood unless a delivery is scheduled specifically for that area, Melchor said.

Much of the proposed work was influenced by transportation study meetings held in the Old North End last August and December and this month, she said.

But more research still is needed. The city's traffic engineers will examine public transportation routes and usage to see whether more changes are needed, she said.

The city also will hold more meetings this year to further discuss concerns about parking, the area's historic medians and pedestrian safety near Steele Elementary School and Corpus Christi Catholic School.

Beginning in February, the city will hold about a meeting a month, Krager said.

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