Old and Near North End Neighborhoods Transportation Study

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About the Study

NEW: Bicycle infrastructure improvements on Weber Street to take place Summer 2020- Click “Traffic Improvements” tab for more information.

The City began a transportation study in August 2017 to address resident concerns that current infrastructure did not provide the pleasant, residential environment they wanted to maintain for their neighborhood.  Residents participated in a series of four public meetings in 2017 and 2018, during which, the City evaluated public feedback and examined the viability of several proposed infrastructure improvements designed to maintain a neighborhood feel while managing current and future traffic demands. Improvements align with the Experience Downtown Master PlanA plan for the development of a portion of the city that contains proposed land uses, a generalized transportation system, and the relationship of the area included in the plan to surrounding property. and address:

  • Neighborhood concerns for maintaining historic look and feel of the neighborhood
  • Limited parking available for students of Colorado College and local residents
  • Safety concerns for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists.
  • Traffic congestion and noise

The study identified transportation recommendations within the boundaries of Wood Avenue to the West, Wahsatch Avenue to the East, Van Buren Street to the North and Platte Avenue Street. The City announced the initial phase of their plan in January 2018 and has implemented several changes in phases as outlined in the “Traffic Improvements” tab.

Traffic Improvements

The following improvements were made to enhance safety for all roadway users (pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists) and were developed using engineering best practices combined with public input. Improvements to Weber Street are scheduled to take place in Summer 2020 in conjunction with repaving efforts.

Current as of May 2020.

Weber Street

New: Weber Street Restriping

In conjunction with repaving in summer 2020, Weber Street between Pikes Peak Avenue and Uintah Street will be converted from four travel-lanes to two travel-lanes, bike lanes and a new center turn lane.  Additionally, in 2021 Weber Street between Uintah and Jackson streets will be converted, in tandem with repaving, from four travel lanes to two travel lanes with bike lanes.

With this improvement the City will make good on its promise during the Old/Near North End Transportation Study to add north/south bicycle infrastructure to connect downtown to neighborhoods to the north. It also helps fulfill efforts to provide more bike connections and close infrastructure gaps identified by the Experience Downtown Master Plan.

As with Cascade Avenue, data and traffic counts for Weber Street show that travel will only experience a minimal delay with the traffic changes and should not cause traffic diversion. However, we will be collecting new traffic volume and speed counts throughout the neighborhood for regular review and analysis.

Bicycle infrastructure on this low-volume roadway will provide: 

Dedicated space for people in cars and people on bikes. This offers: 

  • Better safety outcomes
  • A greater margin for error for all users 
  • Higher comfort for people on bikes 
  • Slower, more neighborly speeds 
  • More predictability/more consistent behavior 
  • Connections to bike lanes or bike routes and several key destinations 
  • A center turn lane south of Uintah, to provide dedicated space for people to turn left outside of an active travel lane. 
  • A dedicated center turn lane serves to improve traffic flow, reduce rear-end collisions and improve safety at intersections by eliminating line of sight restrictions for oncoming traffic.

In an effort to minimize costs and time in the roadway, improvements will take place in conjunction with repaving as the roadway can be restriped to include bicycle infrastructure at no additional cost.

The following outlines roadway improvements along each segment of Weber Street between Colorado Avenue and Uintah Street:

Pikes Peak Ave to Platte Ave:

This segment is adjacent to the heart of Downtown and will be repaved in 2020. Traffic volumes are the highest on this segment, though still well below what would require 4 through lanes (well below volumes on Cascade or Fontanero, both of which function with a 3-lane cross section now). Currently these three blocks provide diagonal on-street metered parking on both sides that has low usage rates. Bike lanes can be placed adjacent to parallel parking, but the City requires additional space between diagonal parking and a bike lane to allow both to operate safely. To provide bike lanes and the center turn lane, and adequate lines of sight to have bike lanes behind diagonal parking, each block will retain one block face of current parking configuration, and one block will be converted to parallel.

Pikes Peak Avenue to Kiowa Street:

From Pikes Peak to Kiowa, diagonal parking will be retained on the west block face, by the City Auditorium. The east block face will be parallel parking.

 

Kiowa Street to Bijou Street:

From Kiowa to Bijou, the east side of the street will have parallel parking. The current configuration will also remain on the west block face in front of the Municipal Court.

 

There is currently no parking in front of the First Presbyterian Church on the north half of the block and that will not change. The east side of the road will change from diagonal to parallel parking.

Bijou Street to Platte Avenue:

Between Bijou and Platte, parking will remain diagonal on the east side, while the west side, adjacent to the YMCA’s parking structure, will become parallel parking.

 

Platte Ave to Uintah:

This segment serves north Downtown, Palmer High School and the east side of Colorado College, and is mostly residential with a few commercial blocks. It will be restriped with one vehicle lane in each direction, a center left-turn lane, bike lanes and parallel parking.

Cascade Avenue

New traffic configuration to improve pedestrian safety, traffic flow and provide bike connection


Cascade Avenue has been restriped with one through lane, a buffered bike lane, and parking in each direction between Boulder and Jackson streets. This design change will improve pedestrian safety and provide an important bike facility that connects with downtown.  

With the changes listed above, Colorado College reduced the number of crosswalks on Cascade from four crosswalks with flashing lights to two standard crosswalks, and implement a pedestrian safety program for students and staff. 

Reducing travel lanes to one in each direction facilitates a safer crossing with less delay for drivers using standard crosswalks as opposed to replacing the flashing automated crosswalks with the pedestrian activated mid-intersection street lights required for streets with four travel lanes (as recently installed on Nevada Avenue south of Uintah).

Cascade Avenue was residents’ preferred choice for bicycle facilities in that it addresses pedestrian safety concerns and provides a connection to existing downtown bike infrastructure. Residents favored removing a travel lane over parking spaces with the installation of a bike lane. 

Nevada Avenue

Remove truck route 

To address concerns about heavy truck traffic and noise on residential streets, traffic engineering removed the designated truck route on Nevada Avenue to prevent them from using this and neighboring streets without a delivery destination in the area. Change of designated truck routes must be presented to the Citizens Transportation Advisory Board (CTAB), Truck Route Committee and to City Council for final approval. Change was approved and implemented in March 2019.

Increase sight distance for turning vehicles

Many residents expressed concern that vehicles have limited sight distance for turning onto Nevada Avenue at intersections between Lilac Street and Cache la Poudre. To respond to this concern, Traffic Engineering reviewed intersections and took action as appropriate, including implementing parking restrictions close to the intersections and landscaping cleanup.

Uintah Street

Uintah Restriping

To improve safety and reduce congestion caused by left-turning vehicles, the inside travel lane of westbound Uintah Street between Corona and Weber streets will be restriped to create a center left-turn lane. The center turn lane will provide safe access to Corona Street, Wahsatch Avenue and Weber Avenue and their mid-block alleyways. Restriping is scheduled to take place mid-September 2018.

To improve safety and reduce congestion caused by left-turning vehicles, the inside travel lane of westbound Uintah Street between Corona and Weber streets was restriped in Fall 2018 to create a center left-turn lane. This provides safer access to Corona Street, Wahsatch Avenue and Weber Avenue and their mid-block alleyways.

Fontanero Street

Fontanero Restriping

Fontanero Street was identified as a street to install bicycle infrastructure during the transportation study meetings and is cited in both the Experience Downtown Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan as key east/west bicycle corridor.

In conjunction with maintenance work Fontanero Street between Cascade Street and El Paso/Paseo Road was restriped in Fall 2018 to provide an east/west bicycle connection and a center turn lane.  This roadway was converted from two travel lanes in each direction to one travel lane in each direction with a center turn lane and bicycle lanes.  The center turn lane provides a separate space for turning vehicles to facilitate through-traffic.

Fontanero Street was identified as a street to install bicycle infrastructure during the transportation study meetings and is cited in both the Experience Downtown Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan as key east/west bicycle corridor.

Neighborhood Wide

Reduce speed limit

To address residents’ concerns about unsafe speeds in residential areas, traffic engineering proposed the following:

  • Speed limits for arterial streets will be reduced from 35 to 30 mph (Nevada, Cascade, Weber, Uintah, Wahsatch and Fontanero)
  • Speed limits for local streets will remain 25 mph (Wood and Tejon)

New speed limit signs were posted. In addition to reducing the speed limits throughout the area, the City will continue to review engineering best practices that can be implemented to redesign the roadways to encourage motorists to drive the new speed limit, thereby increasing safety for all roadway users and better managing traffic flow.

Install Bicycle Infrastructure

The need for north/south and east/west bicycle connections throughout the neighborhood and into downtown was identified through public input and cited in the Experience Downtown Master Plan. At the January pedestrian safety and bicycle infrastructure meeting, residents provided input on options for locations for future bicycle infrastructure in the neighborhoods and modifications to pedestrian crossings on Cascade Avenue.

Public Input

Between August 2017 and January 2018, Traffic Engineering conducted a series of four meetings with residents of the Near and Old North End Neighborhoods to listen to their concerns about traffic and transportation in their neighborhoods, and to develop a coordinated approach to solutions on the four north-south arterials, plus the two north-south residential streets, and the two east-west arterials. Residents were given the opportunity throughout the process to give Traffic Engineering feedback on proposed solutions. A total of 231 residents signed in at the series of meetings.

Transportation Study Meeting #1

On August 14 and 16, 2017, residents of the Old and Near North End neighborhoods and general public attended two identical meetings to provide feedback on challenges and opportunities related to transportation infrastructure for the neighborhood as a whole. Participants had an opportunity to provide input on three of the following corridors included in the study to provide input: Wood, Cascade, Tejon, Nevada, Weber, Wahsatch, Uintah and Fontanero. Input was gathered on pedestrian, bicycle infrastructure, parking, traffic flow, public transportation, speed and noise enforcement, and safety.    

 Summary of public input

Transportation Study Meeting #2

On December 7, 2017, residents of the Old and Near North End neighborhoods and general public met to learn about feedback provided by the community during the initial transportation meeting and were presented information about both immediate actions that could be taken to address neighborhood safety, noise and traffic concerns and next steps for evaluating and addressing citizen input on pedestrian safety, parking and bicycle infrastructure.

Open House #2 Meeting Materials          

Transportation Study Meeting #3

A third meeting held Jan. 18 addressed pedestrian safety and bike routes.  Traffic Engineering presented several options for public input in an effort to enhance pedestrian safety and provide additional bicycle infrastructure for the neighborhood.

Meeting Presentation

Summary of Public Input

Transportation Study Meeting #4

A fourth meeting held April 4, 2018 addressed traffic concerns along Nevada Avenue between Platte Avenue and Van Buren Street.  Traffic Engineering gathered public input and presented several options to address traffic concerns already expressed by residents during the traffic study.

Meeting Presentation

Public Transportation:

In fall 2018, the North Nevada Avenue Transit Corridor Analysis began to identify, among other tasks, the preferred alignment, transit technology alternative, and level of service for the North Nevada Avenue corridor. Also assessed was how transit would transition into the area south of Fillmore Street; existing conditions of transit in the corridor; current and future needs; and recommendations for near-, mid-, and long-term implementation of the preferred alternative

    Frequently Asked Questions

    General Transportation Study Questions

    Q:  Why is the City conducting this transportation study?

    A:  A transportation study was initiated to address traffic safety and transportation concerns in the Near and Old North End neighborhoods that would help maintain the neighborhood feel of this historic area while accommodating for current and future traffic.

    Q:  What changes will be made from the study?

    A:  The City has conducted an extensive public process in the neighborhood to identify challenges and possible solutions to address traffic concerns. Several improvements are taking place this spring, with others slated to take place in conjunction with upcoming roadway projects, such as installing bike lanes on Weber Street with repaving. Click here for more information about project details and timelines.

    Q:  Why are the projects being implemented in phases, not all at once?

    A:  Several of the projects, such as reducing the speed limits, can be done rather quickly and at minimal cost. Projects that involve roadway reconfiguration that only require a change in striping can be implemented in Spring 2018, such as changes to Cascade Avenue and the addition of a center turn lane on a portion of Uintah Street. For the most efficient use of funds, some projects, such as restriping a portion of Weber Street, will be timed with upcoming repaving efforts. More detailed projects that require construction will need to be funded before they commence.

    Q: Will parking in the North End be impacted?

    A:  None of the upcoming projects will impact parking. Parking on Cascade, Uintah, Weber and Fontanero will not be impacted substantially. Parking is a valuable commodity in the neighborhood, which was shown by 90 percent of meeting attendees favoring to remove a travel lane on Cascade Avenue over removing parking.  Upcoming transportation study public meetings will focus on parking concerns, especially near Penrose Hospital, Colorado College and other areas identified through this public meeting process.

    Q:  Were traffic volumes for peak hours considered in the plan?

    A: Yes, as well as traffic delays. Historic counts will be compared to future annual counts to identify changes in travel patterns that may need to be addressed.

    Q: What changes, if any will be made to Mountain Metro Transit routes?

    A: The City Traffic Engineering Division will meet with Mountain Metro Transit in spring 2018 to evaluate current transit routes in the Near/Old North End neighborhoods to see if any changes should be considered.

    Safety Improvements to Cascade Avenue

    Q:  Why is the City reducing the number of travel lanes on Cascade Avenue?

    A:  Safety has long been a concern for the Old/Near North End neighborhoods, not only for the safety of Colorado College students but for everyone. A history of pedestrian accidents on Cascade near Colorado College has brought the issue of safety along this corridor to the City’s attention.

    Two options considered were:

    • Four travel lanes with a pedestrian activated signals
    • Two travel lanes with a standard crosswalk

    Four travel lanes with a pedestrian activated signals

    To address pedestrian safety while maintaining four travel lanes on Cascade would require the installation of pedestrian-activated signals, similar to the one installed on Nevada Avenue just south of Uintah Street. With pedestrian-activated signals, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that the signal stop vehicles in all travel lanes for a length of time that allows a pedestrian to completely clear the intersection walking at a speed of 3.2 mph. Traffic modeling suggests that the time allowed for pedestrian crossings would delay travel on average 85 seconds during non-peak and 101 seconds during peak hours.

    Two travel lanes with a standard crosswalk

    A majority of the pedestrian accidents involved an already stopped vehicle that was blocking the view of a pedestrian entering the crosswalk as a second vehicle approached. Reducing Cascade to one travel lane in each direction would improve pedestrian safety by providing a clear view of crossing pedestrians.

    Reducing Cascade to two travel lanes would allow the City to install a standard crosswalk that would create an estimated average delay of 67 seconds during non-peak, and 81 during peak hours.

    Installing a standard crosswalk, which is appropriate for a two-lane street, would encourage pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists to be more aware of their surroundings and to be on the lookout for other roadway users.

    Cascade was the preferred choice by residents for adding bicycle facilities in that it both addresses pedestrian safety concerns and provides a connection to existing downtown bike infrastructure. Many residents voiced a need for more bicycle connections in their neighborhood (and to downtown) and replacing a travel lane with a bike lane on Cascade will promote greater safety for all users on that corridor. 

    Residents preferred the two-lane option by a margin of 3 to 1.

    Q:  Why are the flashing lights being replaced?

    A:  Colorado College will remove the four flashing crosswalks this spring as they cause unneeded delays for vehicles and encourage pedestrians to cross the street without looking for oncoming traffic.

    Q:  What safety/education measures will be put into place to help pedestrians?

    A:  With the removal of the flashing crosswalks along Cascade between Cache la Poudre and Uintah, Colorado College is implementing a pedestrian safety campaign for students and faculty.

    Over time, the flashing crosswalks have created a false sense of security for pedestrians and increased their dependence on the automatically flashing lights as they enter the crosswalk. Conversely, because the lights flash after the pedestrian has left the intersection, motorists often see an empty crosswalk with flashing lights that diminishes the meaning of those flashing lights.

    Installing standard crosswalks will place the responsibility both back on the motorists to be on the lookout for crossing pedestrians and on the pedestrians to properly use the crosswalks.

    Q:  Why not build an overpass/underpass at Colorado College to keep pedestrians safe?

    A:  A grade-separated crossing will only work if students are prevented from crossing Cascade Avenue.  This would require extensive changes to the Colorado Campus and Cascade medians to make a structured crossing fully used.  It would also require long ramps to make it ADA accessible. These changes would substantially alter the Colorado College campus and Cascade Avenue median.  The result would be an isolated and divided campus with speeding traffic through the North End Neighborhood and low pedestrian usage.

    Q: Will this project increase traffic on other local streets in the North End?

    A:  Current traffic volumes on Cascade Avenue are well within the capacity of a two-lane roadway, serving approximately 11,000 vehicles per day. Traffic studies show that reducing Cascade to two travel lanes will not cause significant traffic delays. Only a 1 second per vehicle increase in travel time is expected at the intersection of Uintah Street and Cascade Avenue.

    Converting Cascade to two travel lanes with bike lanes should encourage motorists to drive the speed limit allowing it to serve as a traditional neighborhood street it is meant to be.

    The City will implement several changes in the North End to enhance traffic operations along Fontanero and Uintah, and will conduct future public meetings to evaluate possible solutions for traffic concerns on Nevada Avenue. Together, these changes should keep traffic from diverting onto other streets.  There will likely be some increased traffic during the transition period, but this should level out as drivers recognize this as a roadway for neighborhood traffic, not commuters. The project will include before and after traffic counts at all north/south streets in the Old/Near North End neighborhoods so any unexpected increases in traffic can be identified and addressed.

    Q:  Will traffic back-up at signalized intersections?

    A:  Traffic Engineering does not anticipate substantial back up at intersections. A small amount of increased delay can be expected at most signalized intersections, (between 1 and 7 seconds per vehicle).  There will be little if any change in the level of service. Although there may be a slight increase in traffic diversion to Nevada and Wahsatch avenues, both streets are well within their capacity. Additionally, a next phase of the transportation study involves working with residents along Nevada to address any traffic and transportation concerns and help facilitate a smooth transition as the roadway modifications are implemented.

    Q: Will reducing Cascade to two travel lanes, increase congestion to accommodate people making left turns?

    No. Only the northbound left turn lane at Uintah Street has a critical length and it can be extending with the new striping plan. Other left turns from Cascade Avenue have adequate left turn boxes to accommodate the number of left-turning vehicles and should not delay through traffic.

    Q: Don’t changes to Cascade Avenue require City Council or Planning Commission approval?

    A: While under the Colorado College Development Master Plan any changes to the cross-section of Cascade Avenue requested by the college must go before City Council, the City does not require such approval as it is not being done as a request to change the master plan, but through a transportation study conducted by City staff that included public involvement.

    Q: How were these meetings publicized?

    A: Public notice for the transportation study meetings is conducted through several means including news releases, Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor.com, direct emails to area HOAs and to past meeting participants, and posting meeting information on www.ColoradoSprings.gov. Anyone interested in being added to the email distribution list for future meeting notifications may send an email with contact information to TraffEng@springsgov.com.

    Bicycle Infrastructure

    Q:  Why is the City installing bike lanes as part of the study?

    A:  The need for north/south and east/west bicycle connections throughout the neighborhood and into downtown was identified both through public input during this study and cited in the Experience Downtown Master Plan. The City is working to provide transportation options for all roadway users and to provide many of the basic infrastructure needs to improve the quality of life for current residents to attract and maintain a vibrant workforce in Colorado Springs.

    The January transportation meeting focused on pedestrian safety and bicycle infrastructure in which residents discussed criteria for pedestrian safety and had an opportunity to provide input on options for locations for north/south and east/west corridors for future bicycle infrastructure in the neighborhoods based on bike infrastructure criteria. Click here for project details.

    Q:  What are the criteria for bike infrastructure in the Near/Old North End?

    A:  When determining the most appropriate streets to install bicycle infrastructure, several issues were considered in an effort to provide safer and more utilized bike infrastructure:

    • Controlled crossing at intersections so people on bikes don’t get stuck at a busy intersection and are unable to cross without the help of a traffic signal.
    • The most direct route feasible that connects to existing infrastructure
    • Both on and off-street bike infrastructure that connects to destinations
    • Both east/west and north/south bike routes that connect to other routes in the neighborhood and to downtown.
    • Streets that provided enough room to accommodate bike infrastructure and met the federal requirements for bike infrastructure.

    Q:  We don’t see many bicyclists on the road now. How many bicyclists will be using these new bike lanes?

    A:  In the development of numerous City plans, such as PlanCOS, Pikes Peak Regional Non-Motorized Transportation Study, Experience Downtown Master Plan and more, residents say they want more bike and improved facilities that would provide safer connections to their destinations. People want choices in how they get around this city. Additionally, Colorado Springs residents who do not or cannot drive, or who lack access to vehicles also deserve safe mobility options.

    The City of Colorado Springs has limited data on bike use overall, with past counts occurring primarily on the trail network.  The City is currently developing a more robust data collection and analysis program, which will include on-street bicycle riders. It can take time for bicyclists to begin using new infrastructure, especially if there are limited connections. The more connected bike infrastructure that can carry a person to their destination, and the safer that people feel on that network, the more the infrastructure will be used.

    Bicycle riders are already using Cascade, as can be seen from this heat map of Strava users.

    Currently, the riders share space with cars, at a slower pace and vehicles must go around them. When people on bicycles are given their own space on the roadway, vehicle users do not need to maneuver around them, making the movements safer and more efficient for everyone.

    Q: Why are bicycles allowed to ride on streets, especially if they don’t obey traffic laws?

    A: All roadway users must obey the traffic laws and bicycles are allowed to use on-street infrastructure under Colorado law. Roads should be designed to accommodate all legal forms of travel. However, data supports that having a separate lane significantly cuts down on the number of cyclist emergency room visits. In fact, protected bike lanes – those with barriers dividing cyclists from vehicles – cut the injury rate significantly. Accidents happen, but research illustrates that city streets with bike lanes reduce the rate of cyclist injury by 50 percent.

    Despite the extensive trail system already developed in Colorado Springs and plans for its expansion, the greatest opportunity for developing a connected network of comfortable bicycle facilities is through on-street facilities. While opportunities to develop and improve trails should continue to be pursued, financial and other constraints point to the importance of existing rights-of-way for the development of a connected, low-stress bicycling network. On-street bicycle networks also provide more direct access to destinations as compared to trails.