Speed limits going up on 9 Westside streets
Road past Holmes hiked from 35 to 40
Twenty years ago, neighbors in the Friendship and Crescent Lane neighborhood purchased signs saying “We love our kids
plenty; please drive 20.”
Most of those signs are gone now, according to resident Patti Margrave, which may be just as well, because the city has decided to raise the speed limit on Friendship Lane to 25 mph.
The increase is one of dozens citywide - nine of them on Westside streets - that are being implemented through the speed-setting element of City Traffic Engineering's Citywide 25 program approved by Colorado Springs City Council in 2003. There are also some speed-limit decreases - two on the Westside - and several postings where there had never been signs.
The idea behind the changes, according to David Krauth, the city's principal traffic engineer, is to serve the two-fold purpose of providing valid speed-limit surveys to help city legal staff fend off courtroom speeding-ticket challenges and “to make arterial roads more attractive so people don't cut through neighborhoods.”
In the case of Friendship, there is no cutting, because the street is a long cul-de-sac off Mesa Road. Asked what he thought of the speed increase, Dennis Hendricks, president of the Friendship/ Crescent Neighborhood Association, said he had not been aware of the change, “but I think our folks are going to be interested in this. The concern has always been people exceeding the limit by a considerable bit” (usually because of doubling back after turning down the cul-de-sac in error).
All the Westside increases are 5 mph, except for undefined segments of 26th Street between Lower Gold Camp Road and Highway 24 that are slated to go up from 30 to 40 mph. Anna England, a Midland-area resident who is helping lead a traffic- calming effort for Broadway Street, said she is opposed to such increases. “They are crazy,” she said. “We already have problems with traffic. Sometimes it's like beating your head against a wall with the city. To do that to a residential street, with a park right there and lots of bicyclists going up and down, is ridiculous.”
King Street resident Joan Lambert was not pleased with the plan to up the speed limit along certain parts between 19th and 30th streets. from 30 to 35 mph. “I don't think it needs to be legalized,” she said. “They're already speeding up this hill.” Although Krauth believes most people don't notice speed limit signs, Lambert thinks in-creased speeds on signs invites people to go faster. “They fly by here every day,” she said. “That worries me. We have older people who walk their dogs. Why would the city want to increase it?”
Traffic Engineering did not ask for neighborhood input in its efforts, relying on data collected from on-site speed checks. Such checks took place on hundreds of streets over the past two years, generally during non-peak times of the day because that's when people do not drive as fast, Krauth said. At each street, engineers measured the speeds of the first 100 cars or however many passed during an hour. The new limits were generally set in accordance with the speeds of 85 percent of the drivers on a given road but also took in unique instances regarding the “whole roadway,” he explained.
City Council heard an update from Krauth at its informal meeting last week, but was not asked for further direction, although Mayor Lionel Rivera said the city welcomes “public input” on the changes.
Councilman Tom Gallagher, a Westside resident, offered some criticism during and after the meeting. He said he does not think the increase on Mesa Road is appropriate, because the street is lined with residences and also passes Holmes Middle School. If 85 percent of motorists drive over the speed limit, Gallagher said, “my answer is: Send a cop over there. Why did city staff push for traffic calming and Citywide 25, if this is how they deal with it?”
According to the document Krauth provided City Council, the Citywide 25 program included “provisions for performing speed surveys throughout the city. These surveys were to be done in an effort to verify the appropriateness of the unposted 25 speed limit on those streets with no postings as well as review all locations for accuracy of the posted limit.”
Krauth said the new signs are being installed, with about 30 percent of them in place now.
Westside Pioneer article