First meeting with city on Holland Park Boulevard traffic-calming project Jan. 31

       Holland Park has become the third Westside neighborhood in two years to be selected for a “calming” project through the city's Neighborhood Traffic Management Program.
       A kickoff meeting to talk about the project is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Holland Park Christian Center, at the corner of Holland Park Boulevard and Vondelpark Drive.
       The selected segment is Holland Park Boulevard from Vondelpark to Leyden Lane. It was one of just 4 sites selected this year out of 31 applications from neighborhoods around Colorado Springs.
       “Speeds are very high on that part of Holland Park Boulevard,” explained Kristin Bennett, the senior transportation planner who coordinates city traffic-calming efforts. Studies showed that motorists commonly go 39 mph in the 25 mph zone.
       She said the speeding may be encouraged by the width of the street along most of that segment. For reasons she does not know, the street is noticeably broader than the neighborhood's other streets between Vondelpark and Forest Hill Road (a block before Leyden).
       At the meeting, Bennett plans to ask residents for ideas about what might be done to slow vehicles there. She will also explain the kinds of options the city has available for that purpose.
       At a similarly wide residential street - Broadway Street in the Midland neighborhood - the city will be trying traffic circles and sidewalk-corner “bump-outs” this year to put the brakes on speeders.
       Broadway, as well as 17th Street in the older Westside, are the two Westside projects that were selected in 2005. Traffic circles and bump-outs are also part of the solution on 17th.
       The “calming” application had been submitted by the Holland Park Community Association. Roy Ayala, its president, said he was pleased at the selection, but pointed out that residents actually have been more concerned about traffic safety on hilly, curvy Vondelpark Drive between Chestnut Street and Centennial Boulevard. “Vondelpark has all the traffic,” he said, and more is being added by the recent development of the Art Sports facility west of Chestnut - although that impact has been offset by the closure this winter of the Champions Golf attraction, Ayala conceded.
       The association had applied to the city for both street segments. The Vondelpark application was denied despite having 14 accidents (two with injuries) from January 2001 to June 2005.
       “I had a lot of complaints (from Holland Park residents) on Vondelpark and Holland Park, because both are shortcuts from Chestnut to Centennial,” Ayala said.
       City studies showed that the speeds on Vondelpark (a 25 mph zone) were commonly just 29 mph. This, combined with the lack of severity of most of the accidents, kept that segment from being selected, according to Bennett.
       One upgrade Ayala thinks would help would be a stop sign at Holland Park Boulevard's T intersection with Vondelpark.
       The way the calming program works, the city selects its target streets and meets with each of the neighborhoods early in the first year, then works up a specific plan for their problems before unveiling them at follow-up meetings in the fall.

Westside Pioneer article