City Council puts stop sign on speed limit hikes

       The installation of increased speed limit signs on scores of Colorado Springs streets - including nine on the Westside - has been put on hold.
       City Manager Lorne Kramer made this announcement at the informal City Council meeting Feb. 13 after four council members said they had heard complaints from constituents following the revelation of the speed limit hikes at their Jan. 23 meeting.
       The discussion Feb. 13 started with different council members asking for public hearings on the new speeds that have been set for certain streets. One of these was Jerry Heimlicher for Mesa Road. Based on plans announced by City Traffic Engineering at the January council meeting, the two-lane residential arterial (which goes past Holmes Middle School) would rise from 35 to 40 mph. “That's the one I'm hearing the most on,” said Heimlicher, whose District 3 includes the Westside.
       At-large council member Tom Gallagher, who lives on the Westside, mentioned 30th Street. The allowable speed would jump from 35 to 40 between Gateway Drive and Water Street. Water is less than a block away from Howbert Elementary. “It's real easy to overlook little kids till they go bouncing down the street,” Gallagher said.
       Council members Margaret Radford and Darryl Glenn suggested that instead of having public hearings on a few streets, the city should freeze all hikes “until there has been extensive public process,” as Radford put it.
       No council member objected when Kramer said that “we're not changing any more speed zones until we've gone through this process.”
       Neither he nor council put a time frame on the process period.
       The only discontent about stalling the speed-limit changes was expressed by at-large council member Randy Purvis, also a Westsider. He observed that the methods used by Traffic Engineering to determine the need for increases had been based on how fast people actually drive. “The best citizen input is not what they say, but what they do,” Purvis commented.
       Other streets with scheduled increases on the Westside include 26th Street, King Street, 21st Street, Fillmore Street, Fontmore Road, Friendship Lane and Centennial Boul-evard.
       The limit increases (as well as a few decreases) were part of Colorado Springs' Citywide 25 effort, which followed prior council direction to accurately survey street speeds for the dual purpose of enhancing public safety and enforcing established limits should speeding tickets be challenged in court.
       According to Principal Traffic Engineer David Krauth, about 30 percent of the new speed limit signs have already been installed.

Westside Pioneer article