RV campers park alongside a road near City Gate in Colorado Springs

RV campers park alongside a road near City-Gate in Colorado Springs in November.

The same whack-a-mole game

Under the guise of protecting public health, the city council is set to pass an ordinance banning RV parking on all public streets.

Unfortunately, the ordinance will not address where people living in RVs can dispose of their wastewater or garbage, so public health concerns are not addressed. Fortunately, CSPD estimates that there are only a couple dozen such RVs in the city, so the council’s public health cry is likely under researched and overstated.

But this ordinance isn’t really about public health. Business owners complain about RVs parked in front of their business and CSPD has no recourse to address their complaints, which is why they brought this request to city council. We don’t fault business owners or CSPD. A dilapidated RV out front can’t be good for business. But the ordinance makes it legal to impound a parked RV. Do we really believe someone should lose the only home they have so that business owners feel more comfortable? Of course not. So, we’re passing the ordinance with the pretext of public health while doing nothing to address public health or poverty.

In the near term, the effect of this ban will be the same whack-a-mole game we’re playing with unauthorized camping: When a complaint is made, someone living in their RV will get a visit from CSPD and be issued a ticket, accompanied by a fine that they can’t afford, and then they’ll move the RV to another site, waiting for the whole mess to start again. All the while CSPD and court resources will be spent and no progress will be made on the underlying problem or suffering. And, although this new ordinance will be used with restraint now, there is nothing stopping authorities in the future from using it to impound someone’s home leaving the owners to live on the streets. If only we could devote ourselves to open up possibilities for those standing on the cliff’s edge of homelessness, rather than threaten to push them off.

Rev. Daniel Smith

Colorado Springs

   

Ask the public what it wants

I agree completely with the Gazette’s editorial of Jan. 12, “Tell the city ‘traffic congestion is not good’”. To quote another Gazette reader, “A single tear of joy … rolled down my cheek” when I read that. However, it occurs to me that telling the city what we want does no good if the city isn’t receptive to hearing it, and won’t use it as part of the decision making process.

It’s clear from various media that a significant number of people are opposed to the bike lanes as implemented. I suspect the opposition is a large majority and I base my actions on that assumption; others call it a vocal minority and base their actions on their different assumption. Neither of us has basis in indisputable facts for our assumptions.

A poll of the citizens on the subject of repurposing motor vehicle lanes as bike lanes has been proposed by a number of parties. The purpose of this poll would be to determine the relative amounts of support and opposition to the bike lanes and road dieting as implemented. This information could then be used to guide informed decision making concerning bike lanes.

A poll is not a vote. It makes no decision about the bike lane issue and does not change the fact that we have a representative democracy. Instead it provides important and relevant information to both city leaders and to the public that should be part of a good decision making process.

Thus far, the city has taken no action concerning such a poll. I don’t see how, given the continuing heated debate about bike lanes, the city can refuse to ask the public what it wants.

It’s time to put this issue to bed.

Charles Rollman

Colorado Springs

   

Get some real data, go forward

I’m writing along with many others to request a poll on the topic of street narrowing. They say, Mr. Mayor, that you are against it (along with Jill Gaebler) which is inconsistent with your past statement that if there was “a lot of opposition”, the bike lanes would be easy to revert.

You, along with Gaebler, and others need to recognize that the citizen/taxpayers are tired of token “citizen feedback” sessions where citizen input is ignored. In addition to Kathleen Krager’s rightsizing sessions, we have the CDOT toll lanes in the “Gap” and most recently, the Colorado College hockey arena with no provision for parking other than our neighborhood streets.

Let’s get some real data and go forward!

Very glad Krager is retiring. Hope her replacement is more responsive to community input.

Jim Larkin

Colorado Springs

   

Driving in the ‘congestion plan’

In response to Traffic Engineer Kathleen Kragar’s comments that “traffic congestion is good,” I totally agree with The Gazette Editorial Board’s rebuttal that “traffic congestion is not good.” Every evening when I drive home in bumper-to-bumper traffic, maybe moving 20 mph on I-25 through town, I think about Kragar’s absurd belief. Now when there is an accident or something that blocks I-25 and an alternate route is advised, Kragar has created more bottle-necks for citizens trying to get through town. Her confusing new designs also discourage me from driving downtown from my north end home to shop, eat, etc.

I have lived in Colorado Springs since 1981. I resent that the streets that I helped pay for are now narrowed to create more congestion by the decision of one person. Unbelievable! As a tax-paying citizen, why was I not given a vote in this? The money wasted on the “congestion plan” would have been better spent on reducing congestion, such as better traffic light timing.

Please restore our streets!

Randy Sollenberger

Colorado Springs

   

Commentary was outstanding

This letter is recognition of the outstanding, if not incredible, scholarly journalism with your commentary published in The Washington Examiner and The Gazette Telegraph. We are very fortunate to have you have continually defending our liberty. Not only are you defending liberty, you are educating in a time where the message of liberty is hidden.

Congratulations on this outstanding work.

Douglas Ross Pedrie

Colorado Springs

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