EDITORíS DESK: Sharing was the intent, but...
It was a calm day when I started writing about the city's plan for sharrow lanes on Colorado Avenue. But that's all changed now. More on that in a minute.
What made this story different from others is that these lanes will have a fairly profound impact - how we drive a major roadway, how we relate to bicyclists as we do so - and yet (at least when I started working on the story) nobody I knew on the Westside in positions of responsibility and leadership had heard about it. So when I called such people for their reactions, I found myself in the odd position of being the first to tell them. For my own part, I just found out by chance and decided to follow up. I had a pleasant talk with Tim Leigh, whose brainstorm the sharrow plan was/is, and then verified with Nick Kittle of City Public Works that the city truly does plan to implement it once Leigh fundraises the necessary $21,000.
But returning to the concept of the "calm day" getting stormy, I suppose that should be no surprise in response to the information vaccuum outlined above. For anyone unfamiliar with the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), there is one thing its volunteers cannot abide, and that is not being told by the city about major changes being contemplated for their area. So I know that they will be on the city relentlessly in the days ahead about the lack of public process in this affair.
I can see their point; such city behavior sets a bad precedent. In fact, not that long ago ignoring neighborhoods was the rule, not the exception, in Colorado Springs. That only changed because of groups like OWN courageously demanding to be heard. I just hope that in all the coming furor Tim's hopeful idea does not get lost completely. Because unlike overpriced past sharrow plans here that begged for federal dollars, this would be a local project, funded by those who support it. On a roadway where it just might work. It might even help cyclists and motorists get along. Just remain calm...