EDITORíS DESK: Council: Put away the pom-poms
Sharrows again. I know, the city wants us to call them shared lane markings, but, as the Westside Pioneer proved in its April 28 issue, such lanes are not truly shareable. Under the sharrow placement rules - 4 feet into the traffic lane - a car would have to go out of its lane to pass a bike. This is just one of several
issues related to safety and simple prudence that I keep waiting for an alert City Council to touch on.
Recall that six of these nine people are brand-new, having run for the office with solemn vows to be fiscally responsible and to "ask the hard questions." Yet not one of them has inquired of staff at a meeting what sharrow stampings cost and why they're such a priority now when they aren't even mentioned in this year's city and Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) budgets. If we want cyclists to be safe, why is there no optional plan to finish paving the path parallel to bike-popular 30th Street, so as to get cyclists off that narrow, curving roadway instead of attracting them to it with sharrow markings?
Councilors also seem uninterested in bike/car accident data that could help identify where sharrows might work best. We know that the RTA routinely uses such data to decide where to implement safety projects (such as Highway 24 at 21s Street and at 26th Street in the past year). So why not use similar scrutiny here?
Staffers have said these markings are already used in many other towns. What have those places learned so we don't repeat their mistakes? Councilors don't seem to care about that issue either. Then there's the matter of education, to ensure that motorists and bicyclists fully understand these new symbols. How best to approach that? Zero response from council to this as well.
What we HAVE heard from our new council is a palpable impatience that the markings have been delayed. Tim Leigh said he wants "progress, not process." Well, Tim, and the rest of you, I respect your desire to get the town moving, but your job entails more than cheerleading for causes you like. It's time you started doing your job.