After Mar. 28 meeting, city taking West Uintah comments till April 20

       Following the public open house March 28, citizen comments will continue to be taken through April 20 on potential West Uintah Street traffic improvements, according to City Traffic planner Kristin Bennett.

Although it appears to be a tight squeeze for cars alone on the crest of this hill in the 2600 block of West Uintah Street - where concrete bump-outs on either side narrow the road width - City Transportation staffer Kristin Bennett said the east and west through lanes are each 14 feet wide, "which is adequate for [space] between bicycles and most motor vehicles." The bump-outs were installed five years ago to make it less dangerous for residents of the nearby Katharine Lee Bates apartment building to cross the street to the bus stop. However, Bennett said the goal then was to "not pinch the travel lanes down too much since Uintah is a designated bicycle corridor." The location is along Uintah between 20th and 30th streets, whch is envisioned for bikes lanes and/or sharrows.
Westside Pioneer photo

       After that, “some of the next steps will depend on what comments, questions and suggestions are received,” she summarized in an e-mail. “The city does expect to have an additional meeting, probably in the early summer, with a more refined approach to advancing the currently funded projects as well as next steps on the complex issues areas. We are also finishing some additional data collection along the corridor right now.”
       Verbal comments at the open house were “for the most part positive,” Bennett said, with written comments still being reviewed.
       Also, the city's bicycle planner, she was asked specifically about feedback that staff received on city-proposed sharrow stampings for cyclists, which are proposed (possibly in conjunction with bike lanes) along Uintah between 20th and 30th streets. Bennett replied in an e-mail: “Our quick review of the comments received to date reflected positive support for the bicycle improvements, including the shared lane markings.”
       A total of 44 people signed in at the March 28 open house, which featured several poster boards providing information and/or aerial images of the segment of Uintah between I-25 and 30th Street.
       City staffers were on hand to answer questions. Staff also encouraged attendees to write comments on provided sheets as well as on post-it notes. Going into the meeting, as a result of interactive meetings in recent months with area business people, individuals and neighborhood groups, numerous post-its had already been stuck onto some boards, and citizens at the open house added more of their own.
       Some post-its point out site-specific issues such as drainage problems or difficulty getting in and out of King Soopers, while others note broader concerns, such as road widths or long stretches of missing sidewalk and intersections that may need to be reconstructed.
       “We do have some comments that will be sent to other divisions - for example, there were a some comments about sidewalk hazards and damaged curb on the western end of the corridor,” Bennett said. “Staff will share those with the city's Street Division, which oversees concrete maintenance, for assessment and repair prioritization.”
       The only available funding for West Uintah at this time is a $110,000 federal grant (requiring a $27,000 city match) for bicycling improvements. These include marking sharrows between 20th and 30th streets and bike lanes east of 20th. Consideration is also being given to using some of those funds in conjunction with federal money for neighborhoods to add a sidewalk with a bike lane on at least one side of Uintah between Mesa and Walnut.
       Sharrows (shared lane markings) consist of bicycle symbols stamped at intervals in the through lane, three feet from the outer edge of where cars park on the street. Such stampings, proposed last year for West Colorado Avenue, were shelved by the city last year after some Westsiders argued that sharrows would attract cyclists to an already-busy street, causing dangerous conflicts with vehicles. However, supporters believe that sharrows make motorists aware of cyclists' road rights. West of 20th, Bennett believes that shared lanes will work where there isn't room for bike lanes, and either is needed because the street is a “designated bicycle corridor.”
       Comments can be sent to the city through April 20 at 385-5908, 385-5918 or
       uintah@springsgov.com.

Westside Pioneer article