Residents question city traffic chief about speed limit hikes on Friendship, Fontmore

       Westside citizens questioned proposed speed limit increases on Friendship/ Crescent lanes and Fontmore Road during a public meeting with City of Colorado Springs staff at Coronado High April 4.
       David Krauth, the city's principal traffic engineer, made no promises but pledged to look into both concerns.
       The meeting was one in a series hosted by city staff around town during late March and early April. City Council, which had requested the meetings to gather citizen feedback after hearing a Krauth speed-limit presentation in January, is scheduled to hear an updated report from him at a council meeting in early May.
       At the April 4 public meeting, the Fontmore situation was outlined by nearby resident Rick Wildman. He said there are safety and noise issues which will only worsen if the street's speed limit goes up, as proposed, from 35 to 40 mph between 31st Street and Mesa Road. Houses on Fontmore are near the roadway - his own home is just 26 feet away - and the curves lack protective guardrails. “I don't see the benefit at all,” he commented.
       Krauth suggested that the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) could put in safety improvements along that stretch of road. But he also expressed interest in the situation and told Wildman “we will look into it.”
       Friendship and Crescent Lanes together form a long cul-de-sac of 62 homes off Mesa Road near Holmes Middle School. The increase is to 25 mph. The speed limit there has always been 20 mph, but new city standards reserve that speed just for school zones, Krauth explained.
       Krauth had a relatively amiable argument with Patti Margrave (who attended on behalf of the Friendship/Crescent area), prefacing his remarks with the revelation that he himself lives on a cul-de-sac which is having an identical speed hike. He also pointed out that while the city is taking down such 20 mph signs, it is not erecting 25 mph signs in their place.
       However, Margrave said the Friendship neighborhood - a tight-knit, older area with numerous children and no sidewalks - doesn't want the higher limit and is worried about speeders. She also expressed the view that the city should have contacted the neighborhood first. “I'm here to beg you not to make this change,” she told Krauth.
       In response to another Westside-related question, Krauth said the planned speed limit increase on South 26th Street (from 30 to 40 mph) will only be implemented in the undeveloped area of the street south of Fairview Cemetery; the limit will stay 30 where 26th passes houses.
       As a general comment, Krauth said the most common concern he's heard from the public is that higher speed limits will lead to people driving faster. However, based on his experience, he does not think that's true.
       The proposed speed limit changes followed a Traffic Engineering study City Council had directed so as to have postings that would be safe, consistent and appropriate as well as defensible in court cases involving speeding tickets.

Westside Pioneer article