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Colorado Springs transportation manager Kathleen Krager, center in yellow vest, tells officials Monday about needed repairs on the Circle Drive/Hancock Avenue Bridge. Photo by BOB STEPHENS, THE GAZETTE

Colorado Springs city traffic engineer Kathleen Krager, who has faced criticism for narrowing streets to accommodate bicycle lanes and other traffic changes, will be retiring in less than a month.

Her last day will be Feb. 1, said public works director Travis Easton, who oversees Krager’s department.

Krager did not immediately respond to inquiries seeking additional information, but Jill Gaebler, City Council president pro-tem, said she has been eligible to retire for several years.

Gaebler said the backlash from residents likely contributed to Krager’s decision to leave.

Krager caught flak most recently over reduced speed limits on Nevada, Wahsatch and Cascade avenues, Weber, Uintah and Fontanero streets and installed bike lanes on stretches of Cascade Avenue and Weber and Fontanero streets.

A town hall in the City Auditorium in April turned particularly sour as Krager outlined common concerns and potential solutions for Nevada Avenue. Dozens among the crowd shouted and jeered. Several called for her resignation.

That scenario was a repeat of another town hall the month before in the Patty Jewett Clubhouse where Gaebler also was criticized for the changes.

The criticism was not universal, with other residents in favor or the new traffic patterns and emphasis on encouraging more people to commute by bicycle.

“Those folks have been extremely rude to her,” Gaebler said. “She took all the heat, but that’s probably not fair.”

One group of Old North End residents sued over the re-striping of Cascade Avenue to narrow it from two lanes in each direction to one. A judge halted that work briefly with an injunction, though that order was lifted in July and the work was allowed to continue.

Easton said Krager has worked for the city for about 10 years.

On Tuesday the council approved a comprehensive plan to guide the city’s growth and development over the next two years. One of the next steps is to create a master plan for the city’s traffic growth, Gaebler said.

Easton said Krager’s absence shouldn’t slow that process and he hopes to fill her position within the next several months.

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