Bike lanes on Research Parkway drawing mixed support

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — If you drive along Research Parkway, you might have noticed something a little different.

A buffered bike lane has been added in each direction between Austin Bluffs Parkway and Chapel Hills Drive. The lanes were striped last week and will remain there for 9 months as part of a trial period. The $10,000 project has some people in support and others up in arms.

“There wasn’t enough traffic to justify the 6 lanes of roadway that we have out there,” said Kathleen Krager, a traffic engineer manager with the city of Colorado Springs.

So instead of three lanes on Research Parkway, there’s now just two with one of them being a lane strictly for cyclists.

“Last two or three days I’ve driven it and people are slamming on their brakes all over the place,” said Peter Fowler, a resident of the area who opposes the lane. “A problem that we did not have before when it was three lanes.”

“It’s something different,” said Krager. “We’re going to hear about it and it will not flow smoothly at first. That’s just what happens.”

The lanes come in an effort to cut down on speeding and provide better access for cyclists.

“It’s for the protection of the riders,” said Monica Breckenridge, a cyclist in support of the lanes. “It’s definitely a lot safer having that buffer lane to keep traffic away from the bike riders.”

“I think that what’s going to happen is when you throw the bicyclists into the mix and you’re going to have accidents not only involving cars but people swerving out of the way if there ever is a bicyclist there,” said Fowler. “They’re going to be in harms way.”

Although the sidewalk along Research is fairly large, cyclists saying having that extra lane makes them feel safer.

“I was riding my bike on the sidewalks which is not very safe and you can’t gain any speed that way,” said Breckenridge. “There’s lots of obstacles on sidewalks so I generally feel a lot safer and I can commute much better.”

“Buffering truly helps a bicyclist when they’re bicycling on a street,” said Krager. “I would still tell bicyclists this is a street appropriate for an experienced cyclist.”

But some say instead of making cyclists safer this only puts them in more danger

“There’s thousands of people a day that ride that road that are going to be in for a big surprise,” said Fowler. “They’re going to get into accidents. They’re going to cause a lot of accidents right now for doing that.”

Over the next couple months, the city will collect data and hear public input before they make a decision on whether it will permanently be there or not.

>> Take an online survey about the bike lanes on Research here.

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