The city of Colorado Springs is seeking local opinions about a plan to “right size” Research Parkway to make it safer for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, according to a press release from the city.
The open house is planned for Thursday, May 18 from 6-8 p.m. at Academy International Elementary School, 8550 Charity Drive.
The city proposes repurposing the outside travel lane for buffered bike lanes between Voyager and Austin Bluffs parkways, the release said. While the average traffic volume on Research is much lower than the road’s design, installing a buffered bike lane aligns the road to match traffic volume and creates an east-west corridor in northern Colorado Springs that would connect to six other bike lanes in the Briargate neighborhood.
The city is considering right sizing the streets in several areas, after nationally recognized city planner and author Jeff Speck visited Colorado Springs and discussed ways to create a walkable city.
Speck, a city planner and urban designer from Brookline, Mass., has advocated internationally for cities to embrace smart growth and sustainable design. Since 2007, he’s led his own planning firm, Speck & Associates. His latest book, “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time,” has been one of the top city-planning books since 2013.
When he visited the Springs in March, he told the downtown crowd that safety is the easiest component to fix.
Speck said restriping — making lanes smaller and creating bike lanes — encourages increased bike usage and slower drivers.
“Streets are engineered to be forgiving if you speed, but that usually just encourages people to speed,” he said.
Typical streets have several components that determine comfort and provide “a fighting chance against the automobile,” he said.
Items like smaller blocks, more stop signs and fewer traffic signals at intersections, as well as more bikes, additional bike-share facilities and wide sidewalks all increase the comfort level of a walkable city. Speck said uncomfortable design includes parking lots that offset businesses from sidewalks.
Click here for more about Speck’s talk.