Ride On Research

Project Update

December 22, 2016

City Will Terminate Research Bike Lane Demonstration Project

Public Input, Traffic Data Contribute to Decision

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo – The City announced today that the bicycle lane demonstration project along Research Parkway will be terminated. The bicycle lane striping and vertical delineators will be removed as soon as weather permits.

For the safety of the travelling public, the outside travel lane will continue to be a designated bicycle lane until lane markings can be changed to reflect vehicle travel.

In an effort to manage traffic speeds on Research Parkway, the Traffic Engineering Division implemented a demonstration project to “right size” the corridor between Austin Bluffs and Chapel Hills drive from six to four travel lanes and repurposed the outside travel lane as a buffered bike lane. The project’s goals were two-fold: To manage excessive traffic speeds and to utilize the remaining pavement to create additional bicycle connections along the corridor. 

“The purpose of a bicycle lane demonstration project is to assess public sentiment as well as vehicle and bicycle traffic impacts,” said Mayor John Suthers. “The Traffic Engineering Division has prepared a report on the Research Parkway demonstration project. The bottom line is that the vast majority of residents in the area of the demonstration project are opposed to the project and the vast majority of people who support it do not live in the affected area. The amount of local resident use, even in favorable fall weather, was not significant.”

The study completed by Traffic Engineering reported that changes in vehicle speeds resulting from the lane reduction did not meet expectations and was not consistent with typical results from such an effort. The city plans to address excessive vehicle speed on Research through traffic enforcement.

“Colorado Springs will continue to promote bicycle transportation because we have a large number of residents and visitors who ride bicycles for both recreational and transportation purposes. We believe the city’s attraction to cyclists will be a growing part of our tourism economy going forward and providing multi-modal transportation options will make our city more attractive to a vibrant workforce. For this reason, I continue to support the development of the 2017 Bike Master Plan. With that, the city will continue to conduct demonstration projects to assess viability of routes and locations, while assessing levels of community support or opposition.”

The City encourages the public to provide input on projects that affect traffic flow, and offers multiple opportunities for engagement, including neighborhood meetings, City Council presentations and SpeakUp!, the city’s online survey tool. Prior to implementing the demonstration project the City conducted three neighborhood meetings in Spring 2016 to notify the public of the plan and gather input.

“With projects such as this one, there are a number of factors that determine outcomes, but be assured, public input is a major element of our decision-making,” said Jay Anderson, Citizen Engagement Specialist for the City of Colorado Springs. “While community meetings have been a long-standing method for such engagement, we are pleased to continue offering new ways for citizens to engage directly with the city.”

The Ride on Research demonstration project generated over 1,300 responses, which were an impactful element of determining the path forward. Metrics are as follow.

SpeakUp! Survey on Demonstration project:

1,347 people participated

  • 63 percent of respondents lived in neighborhoods surrounding the demonstration project
  • 37 percent of respondents lived in other neighborhoods

Overall response to the demonstration project:

  • 80.5 percent of respondents said they want the project reversed
  • 14.3 percent of respondents said they really like it, and remaining respondents said they felt it required some changes to make the project more palatable.

December 2016 Traffic Engineering Report

Research: Voyager to Austin Bluffs 5 Year Crash Summary  - Updated 12/23/16

October 2015 Historic Average Speed Report 

October 2016 Historic Average Speed Reports  

About

In an effort to manage traffic speeds on Research Parkway the Traffic Engineering Division is right sizing the corridor between Austin Bluffs and Chapel Hills drive from six to four travel lanes and repurposing the outside travel lane for a buffered bike lane. The traffic volume on Research is significantly lower than the capacity it was designed to accommodate.

About Right Sizing & Buffered Bike Lanes

This project’s goals are twofold: To “right size” Research Parkway to manage traffic speeds and to utilize the remaining pavement to provide additional bicycle infrastructure that offers several bicycle connections along this corridor. Because Research Parkway will be resurfaced in 2017 we are taking the opportunity now to test right sizing efforts.

Research Parkway is ideal for this project because the road's traffic volume is more consistent with a four-lane versus a six-lane roadway.   Research Parkway traffic counts through the corridor range from 20,000 to 22,000 vehicles per day depending on the location. The capacity of a 4-lane roadway with limited access like Research Parkway is 38,000 vehicles per day. Because minimal traffic on multiple lanes encourages speeding, modifying Research Parkway to four vehicle lanes and two bicycle lanes should enhance safety overall by reducing vehicle speeds, providing dedicated space for bicycles outside of vehicle travel lanes and offering an improved walking environment for pedestrians.

This is a demonstration project and we ask residents to give it some time to get accustomed to the new traffic configuration. We will continue to closely monitor traffic in this area and make minor adjustments as needed to help ease any traffic issues.

Many cities across the country have successfully repurposed excess infrastructure to “right size” a road to manage traffic speeds and offer greater mobility for all travelers. The demonstration lane roadway markings utilize paint and flexible delineators to separate bicyclists from motorists. This method of testing has been used by other cities to evaluate the benefits of right sizing and mobility changes at a minimal cost to taxpayers.

How this project fits into the big picture:

A key component of our City’s strategic plan focuses on supporting our active community in its desire for neighborhood connectivity and improved bikability and walkability, not only for recreation, but also for transportation. Neighborhood accessibility and livability is also a priority for our citizens and we have the ability to repurpose existing infrastructure to work towards these goals. The City continues to invest in making our community a place people can enjoy for future generations. We must continue to attract and retain a quality workforce and we want to provide them a quality of life that is comparable to that of other cities our size. “Right sizing” our larger capacity low volume roadways is an effective way to provide alternative transportation options that promote healthy lifestyles, decreased congestion and builds a sense of community. It’s not about decreasing commute times, it’s about building community.Ride On Research

Project Data

Click on a title to expand. Click on the title again to collapse. 

Right-Sizing Roadways Metrics

Members of the City’s traffic engineering department are evaluating the demonstration project. They are gathering information on changes to traffic volume, number/severity of traffic accidents, traffic speeds and bicycle users. Information about initial changes in these areas will be released to the public in January, with final data released in a public meeting format in Summer 2017.

  • Has the total daily volume of traffic on Research Parkway decrease or remained the same?
  • Has the number of crashes and/or their severity decreased or remained the same?
  • Has the level-of-service at signalized intersections improved or remained the same? (This has to do with how long it takes drivers to get through stoplights)
  • Has the mean (average) speed for traffic or number of high speed vehicles been reduced?
  • Has the number of bicycle users on the new bike lanes increased or remained the same?
  • Is there favorable opinion of the project?

Comparable 4-Lane Roadways & Traffic Volume

Comparable 4-Lane Roadways and Traffic Volumes

Roadway Location Number of Lanes Daily Traffic Flow
Research Parkway East of Voyager Parkway 6 lanes 20,114
Research Parkway East of Lexington Drive 6 lanes 22,108
Constitution Avenue East of Academy Boulevard 4 lanes 20,660
Pikes Peak Avenue East of Institute Street 4 lanes 20,251
Centennial Boulevard North of Garden of the Gods Road 4 lanes 21,278
Fillmore Street West of Chestnut Street 4 lanes 22,584
Fillmore Street West of Centennial 4 lanes 24,404
Palmer Park Boulevard East of Powers Boulevard 4 lanes 22,226
Hancock Expressway East of Academy Boulevard 4 lanes 20,177
Hancock Expressway West of Academy Boulevard 4 lanes 22,913
Platte Avenue East of Union 4 lanes 25,703
Tejon Street South of southbound I-25 4 lanes 26,214
Woodmen Road West of Marksheffel Road 4 lanes 25,623
Circle Drive North of Leleray Street 4 lanes 21,793
Circle Drive South of Lelaray Street 4 lanes 26,444
Uintah Street East of I-25 4 lanes 34,101
Uintah Street West of I-25 4 lanes 25,507
Lake Avenue West of Southgate Road 4 lanes 19,212

Mobility Studies

Public input from local mobility studies has identified a need for additional bike enhanced mobility and bicycle connections in northern Colorado Springs. Research Parkway has been identified as one of the top 21 corridors in the Pikes Peak Region for connecting bike facilities with local destinations.  From this route, people on bikes can access six connections reaching several destinations such as the future John Venezia Community Park, local schools and several local shopping centers.

  • Summerset Drive Bike Lanes (connects south to Chapel Hills Mall)
  • Skyline Trail (near Chapel Hills Drive)
  • Briargate Trail just West of Austin Bluffs (connects to east/west Woodmen Trail and Cottonwood Trail)
  • Rangewood Drive bike lanes
  • Neighborhood/local trails

    Previous Outreach

    An open house was held Thursday, May 19th that included displays and exhibits showing the proposed concepts and constraints, allowed citizens to talk directly to City engineers and planners who were on‑hand to answer questions and gather public input. Notification to the general public about this meeting was conducted through news releases, social media messages and a Nextdoor.com email dated May 13, 2016.

    On April 19th, a Research Parkway Buffered Bike Lanes presentation was made to the City of Colorado Springs Active Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC).

    In February and March, the City project team contacted Research Parkway corridor Homeowner Associations to introduce the project generate. A presentation was made to the Windjammer HOA on March 17th.

    The project team met with representatives of Briargate Business Campus Owners Association on May 10th

    Review Windjammer HOA meeting materials

     

    FAQs

    Click on a question to see the answer. Click on the question again to hide the answer.

    Why does the City want to “Right Size” Research Parkway?

    In an effort to manage traffic speeds on Research Parkway the Traffic Engineering Division is right sizing the corridor between Austin Bluffs and Chapel Hills drive from six to four travel lanes and repurposing the outside travel lane for a buffered bike lane. The traffic volume on Research is significantly lower than the capacity it was designed to accommodate.

    This project’s goals are twofold: To “right size” Research Parkway to manage traffic speeds and to utilize the remaining pavement to provide additional bicycle infrastructure that offers several bicycle connections along this corridor. Because Research Parkway will be resurfaced in 2017 we are taking the opportunity now to test right sizing efforts.

    What are the benefits of this Right sizing Research Parkway?

    There are several benefits of this demonstration project for all roadway users. Safety along this roadway is important and reducing the amount of travel lanes will facilitate:

    • Compliance with posted speed limit
    • Safely separate bike facilities from travel lanes and sidewalks
    • Offer less travel lanes to cross as a pedestrian
    • Fewer conflicts between commuter bicyclists and pedestrians
    • Less stressful environment for bicyclists and pedestrians

    Repurposing the existing infrastructure will provide more mobility options for roadway users. From this route, people on bikes can access six connections reaching several destinations, local schools and shopping centers.

    Why is the City using a demonstration project to evaluate right sizing efforts?

    Implementing a demonstration project is a fiscally conservative approach towards implementing right-sizing efforts and creating bikeway along the Research corridor. The implementation of the current demonstration project will help the project team determine the impacts of managing speed and providing additional bicycle infrastructure along this corridor.

    What is the demonstration project timeline?

    The City monitored the project through December 20, 2016. The Traffic Engineering Division presented a project report in December and the project was terminated December 22 because of significant opposition to the project by residents along the corridor. The study also reported that changes in vehicle speeds resulting from the lane reduction did not meet expectations and was not consistent with typical results from such an effort. Therefore, the outside travel lane will be ground out and restriped as soon as weather permits. 

    How much does this demonstration project cost and how is it funded?

    This demonstration project costs about $10,000. This study is intended to ensure future investments are effective from a cost and usage perspective. This demonstration project is funded through Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority sales tax revenues specified for development of on-street bike facilities.

    How do I voice my opinion about this project?

    What happens at intersections and driveways?

    At signalized intersection, all roadway users will follow the signals. At all unsignalized intersections, motorists must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicyclist must also yield to pedestrians. Everyone should use caution and show respect while on the road.

    Does this project account for future growth along Research Parkway?

    Although neighborhoods along Research Pkwy west of Austin Bluffs are fairly developed, we understand the corridor east of Austin Bluffs will likely see additional growth. Therefore bicycle infrastructure will not extend east of Austin at this time to accommodate any potential additional traffic volume through that section of the corridor. There are no plans to extend Research Parkway further westbound to I-25.

    How is the study project being evaluated?

    The City will evaluate the success of the demonstration project based on metrics of safety and roadway operations for both bicycles and vehicles. 

    Will measuring the number of bicycle users be included in your metrics?

    Measuring the amount of people using Research Parkway bike lanes is important, but it is only one of many data points we are collecting as part of this demonstration.

    How will snow plows remove snow/ice from the bike lanes during the winter?

    This is a demonstration project and year-round maintenance of the bike lanes are part of the evaluation. Because the City does not have special equipment at this time to plow protected bicycle infrastructure the flexible delineators will be removed during the winter months.

    Why build protected bikeways?

    By separating bicyclists from the motor vehicle traffic, protected bikeways can offer a higher level of comfort than typical bike lanes and are attractive to a wider spectrum of the public.

    How does this project fits into the big picture?

    A key component of our City’s strategic plan focuses on supporting our active community in its desire for neighborhood connectivity and improved bikability and walkability, not only for recreation, but also for transportation. Neighborhood accessibility and livability is also a priority for our citizens and we have the ability to repurpose existing infrastructure to work towards these goals. The City continues to invest in making our community a place people can enjoy for future generations. We must continue to attract and retain a quality workforce and we want to provide them a quality of life that is comparable to that of other cities our size. “Right sizing” our larger capacity low volume roadways is an effective way to provide alternative transportation options that promote healthy lifestyles, decreased congestion and builds a sense of community. It’s not about decreasing commute times, it’s about building community.