COBWEB CORNERS: City traffic usage, circa 1914

By Mel McFarland

       Even in 1914 they studied traffic! A team was put in downtown Colorado Springs that summer to check the street usage. The status-takers were students from a class at Colorado College. For five days, they counted vehicles between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues on Tejon Street between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The daily averages showed 2,682 vehicles that used motors and 1,684 with horses. There were also 2,878 bicycles.
       The motor vehicles consisted of 522 motorcycles, 428 runabouts (a little two-seater car), 1,397 touring cars (four passengers or more), 27 limousines, 17 large trucks (loaded), 32 large trucks (unloaded), 63 small trucks (loaded), 77 small trucks (unloaded) AND 119 electric cars!
       For horses, there were 243 one-horse freight wagons, 189 two-horse freight wagons, 613 empty freight wagons, 329 one-seat carriages, 281 two-seat carriages, 16 three-seat carriages and 13 horses only.
       Traffic rules were just coming into use in 1914. Towns made their own rules as needed. A uniform set of driving rules was yet to come. Here, the tourists were the center of most complaints. A set of rules was being drawn up and passed to visitors and area drivers to help ease traffic problems in the summer.
       One ruleI like was that tour drivers, what we would call taxis, were not allowed to park at the railroad stations and yell at the passengers getting off the trains the various local attractions they could take them to. They could use printed handouts, but could only give them to customers that wanted them! In addition they were not allowed to block access to the railroad stations. It seems these vehicles would sometimes block the path of regular drivers.
       Many of the local hotels had their own taxis and met every train at the local railroad stations. There were three stations in Manitou, two in Colorado City, at one point four in Colorado Springs, and another six in towns that are now inside the present-day Colorado Springs! I can picture these taxis racing up and down Pikes Peak to get there before another hotel grabbed their passengers!