EDITORíS DESK: Right of way issue in study

       Well, off we go with the consultant study of No Man's Land. I've spent a little time with the people spearheading the effort, and they seem earnest about doing it right. All the same, after covering this issue for several years, I don't see how the study process is going to make it all the way through without at least a couple of spats developing.
       Perhaps the biggest one is right of way. That's a precious commodity, especially along Colorado Avenue west of Safeway, where businesses are accustomed to making use of their properties right up to the street line. Meanwhile, the roadway itself has two lanes each way, with no center median. So there's virtually no right-of-way "wiggle room." Into that scenario comes PPRTA2 (which will go before voters this November), proposing $12 million along the roadway in public improvements. The study should help identify what those will be, but sidewalks are high on the tentative list. Additionally, the city has previously made it clear that it wants the new road to have bike lanes. Also in PPRTA2: $450,000 for the missing segment of the Midland Trail along the north side of Colorado Avenue between Ridge and Columbia roads. We don't need to be rocket scientists, let alone traffic engineers, to see that fitting all those amenities into the existing right of way will be quite a squeeze. Nor is it likely that the city will try widening it by negotiating for easement strips from the numerous small-property owners along there. Such an effort with just one motel owner in recent years went nowhere. So we probably should brace ourselves for a proposal to reduce the through lanes from four to two.
       Is that a good idea? Picture a slower, more laid back avenue there. But with traffic jams? Crimps on commerce? Glad I'm not the consultant.

- K.J.