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A view north on 30th Street includes the historic Husted House (far left) at the Kiowa Street intersection. A long-range proposal in an update that's being drafted for the regional Non-Motorized Transportation Plan would move 31st Street's bike lanes to this part of 30th Street. The idea is also referenced in the two most popular alternatives for Camp Creek flood-control projects. Because about five feet would be needed on either side to make room for bike lanes, it's unknown what would happen to the trees and utility poles currently closer than that to 30th Street's curbs.
Westside Pioneer photo

City, PPACG eye 30th Street for future bike lanes between Colorado and Fontanero

       Both of the public's best-liked alternatives for Camp Creek flood control involve relocating the 31st Street bike lanes that now run through Pleasant Valley.
       They would be moved to the narrower 30th Street between Colorado Avenue and Fontanero (Fontmore) Street, city plans suggest.
       In the summary for each, the study team consisting of City Engineering and hired consultants writes that the relocation is shown “in the PPACG [Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments] Non-Motorized Transportation Plan currently being developed.”
       Asked for details, Brian Shevock, a city employee assigned to the Non-Motorized Plan effort, said that to make the lanes fit on 30th, an additional five feet of pavement would be needed on either side. The street between Colorado and Fontanero is now 38 to 40 feet wide, he added, leaving space only for two traffic lanes, plus parking in some places.
       The segment is mostly residential, with scattered commercial and church uses. Several large trees and utility poles are situated less than five feet from the curb.
       In the blocks closer to Colorado Avenue, the combined distance between the street curb and private property (consisting of the parkway and sidewalk) measures as little as 11 feet. The distance widens, however, as 30th goes north, generally past Uintah Street.
       Shevock cautioned that there is no government urgency. “It's just a planning deal,” he said. To achieve the envisioned width “would be a process and take a lot of money. It's not going to happen in our lifetimes.”
       A timetable does not exist yet either for the Camp Creek project, although a City Engineering official has predicted that it would be a phased-in effort, with some work likely to begin next year.
       It is not known what the city would do about bike lanes should they be removed from 31st without 30th having been widened to make room for them.
       A work in progress, the new Non-Motorized Plan is an update of the version approved by PPACG in 2008. Shevock is writing it in conjunction with staffers from other government entities in the three-county PPACG. A draft should be ready for public review this summer, he said.
       Colorado-to-Fontanero bike lanes on 30th would be new to the Non-Motorized Plan, but bike lanes north of Fontanero to Centennial Boulevard are in it now. That segment even has potential funding, under a B-list item titled “30th Street Corridor Improvements - $8.25 million” in the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) projects for 2015 to 2024. Those plans are discussed in a 2012 Westside Pioneer article, "Saga of an RTA B-list item."
       Under PPRTA rules, B-list items can be funded once the A-list items are done.
       The current Non-Motorized Plan states that “walking and bicycling, as opposed to driving a personal vehicle, promote physical health and lower stress, reduce harmful emissions, and save money and energy. Walking and cycling reduce obesity, and significantly, child obesity, which is targeted by federal transportation program[s]. Non-motorized facilities also provide choice and increase the mobility of people with disabilities, young people not yet old enough to drive, and senior citizens who no longer drive.”
       However, Shevock said the Non-Motorized Plan is not meant to be biased against motorized transportation. “We want it to work for everybody,” he said.
       The Non-Motorized Plan is also federally mandated. A paragraph from the 2008 plan's Executive Summary provides an explanation: “The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Colorado Springs metro area. In this capacity, PPACG must maintain a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to determine investment priorities for billions of dollars in federal, state, and local funds. As part of this planning process, PPACG is charged with the development of a non-motorized transportation plan element consisting of bicycle and pedestrian transportation mobility improvements, which complements automobile and transit modes.”
       The Camp Creek plan with the highest public rating is Alternative 2. One of three proposals at the city's public meeting Feb. 25, Alternative 2 would need a wider ditch through Pleasant Valley (Chambers Way to Platte Avenue) for flood-control purposes, leaving no room for bike lanes, according to the city summary. A multiuse trail would be built along the side of the ditch.
       Alternative 3, the second favorite of the public, would cover the ditch, routing Camp Creek through an underground culvert. Its summary describes a landscaped area with a multiuse trail in the covered area, leaving enough street right of way on either side for a through lane and parking but not an on-street bike lane.
       Alternative 1, the least popular Camp Creek option, would have a ditch similar to the one now, with 31st Street keeping its bike lanes.
       Currently, those lanes (along with sidewalks) connect to the off-street, multi-use Foothills Trail where 31st Street ends at Chambers Way.
       Going north from there, the Foothills Trail basically parallels 30th Street through Rock Ledge Ranch and the Garden of the Gods. However, some cyclists prefer to ride on the street; also, some dislike the Foothils Trail because it's unpaved through Rock Ledge in keeping with the city-owned ranch's historically toned master plan.
       The city plans to unveil its recommended Camp Creek alternative at the next public meeting, tentatively planned in late April.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 3/19/14; Transportation: 30th/31st)

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