Green bike lanes among changes made for safer cycling in Colorado Springs

There are a lot of changes coming for cyclists in Colorado Springs.

The city is working its way down a list of projects to complete all in the name of safety.

It’s because while Colorado Springs ranks in the top 50 most bike-friendly cities in America, many cyclists wanted more from city infrastructure.

“It’s easy for the cyclists, when we’re off to the side of a roadway, to become invisible,” Allen Beauchamb, a cycling advocate said.

Beauchamb is working on a new bicyclist advocacy group with the Trails and Open Space Coalition to ensure cyclists have safe places to ride.

“I’ve had a lot of feedback that, hey there are bike lanes but the cars don’t see me, I don’t feel safe, it’s really really stressful,” he said.

This fall, the city is responding to those types of concerns through a number of projects.

Sunday’s project was installing the city’s first green bicycle lane.

“The cycling community has really been asking for this for a while, and we had additional money this year to spend on bike lanes, so I felt it was a good time to give a trial,” Kathleen Krager, City Transportation Manager said.

Krager said similar green-painted bike lanes have worked well in other cities, so the new stripes added to the lanes on Tejon Street at I-25 are worth a shot.

“In this area, you have high speed traffic coming off of I-25 and they may not realize that this is a very active bike and pedestrian lane. So, it just gives everyone a little warning that this is an area that could see a lot of conflict,” Krager said.

This trial section will determine if the material can weather Colorado Springs’ climate and snow removal, before it’s added to other high-conflict areas.

Even if they last, the green lines still aren’t coming to every bike lane near you.

“It’s not something that we want to put green stripes on every single bike lane, because then it would lose its emphasis. We want to use it on areas that people may not be thinking there are bicyclists or pedestrians there and bring their attention to it,” Krager said.

But they’re certainly something bicyclists are happy to see. It’s a sign their concerns are being heard.

“It’s this type of area that has kept people off bicycles. It’s beautiful north, it’s beautiful south, but there’s that one area that was very problematic,” Beauchamb said.

The green striping isn’t the only project in the works. Already checked off the list are the state’s first “three-foot reminder” signs along 26th street before Cheyenne Cañon and on 30th street near Garden of the Gods.

“It’s to remind drivers that on this street traffic is sharing some rather narrow lanes, and it’s to remind drivers that when they pass a bicycle, by state law, they should give them three feet of clearance,” Krager said.

They also created a “Bicycle Boulevard” which spans the typically quiet Corona Street from Willamette Ave to Monroe Street. The bicycle boulevard term is used for low-speed streets which have been optimized for bicycle traffic. The city said it gives bicycles priority as thru-traffic, and vehicles are discouraged to use it as a cut-through.

Other efforts to establish east/west and north/south connections for bike lanes include:

– Additional bike lanes were installed along Templeton Gap from Fillmore Street south to El Paso Street. Templeton Gap Road connects bicyclists to the T-Gap Trail, Rock Island Trail and Shooks Run, also connecting to bike lanes on East Cache le Poudre Street and East Willamette Avenue.

– Wayfinding signs, or directional street markings, will also be installed to guide cyclists to bike lanes along this north/south connection. These wayfinding signs will be the first to be installed in the City of Colorado Springs and will serve to help bicyclists find connections of bicycle lanes.

– Shared lane and bike lane markings were added to Monroe Street between Wahsatch Ave. and Templeton Gap Rd. in August.

– To complete bike lane connections from Airport Road to the downtown area City Traffic Engineering will install bike lanes on Prospect Lake Drive from Union Boulevard to Logan Avenue, and a new protected bike lane on Prospect Lake Drive from Logan Avenue north to Costilla Street (west of Memorial Park).

– The City’s first protected bike lane has been installed on Beacon Street where it turns east to West Van Buren Street. This provides a protected connection where the Pikes Peak Greenway requires a short commute along Beacon Street.

For a bicycle map showing the connections across town, click here. 

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