Candidate stances on road dieting

Springs Taxpayers provided a candidate survey which included the question “What is your position regarding the elimination of motor vehicle traffic lanes (road-dieting) in favor of installing bicycle lanes?” Below are the candidate responses, first for Mayor and then for City Council, in alphabetical order.

Mayoral Candidates:

Juliette Parker: While I fully agree that we need to find a way to make our city safer and more accessible for bikers, I don’t think we should do it at the expense of cars and the flow of traffic. I feel that we need to research what other cities around the world are doing to accommodate bikers and motorists living in a city together. Things like overpasses and underpasses might be options. Improving our trail systems. Widening our sidewalks and allowing bikers to use them is another possible option. But putting bikers on a road with cars with no protection from those cars is dangerous.

John Pitchford: I am opposed to “lane dieting” solutions which inconvenience tens of thousands of our citizens on a daily basis. This was a decision brought to the people without their consent and predictably the majority of citizens are opposed to this idea.

John Suthers: It is appropriate in some places. Making Colorado Springs more bike friendly has helped Colorado Springs to attract the fastest growing millennial population in the country. We need to attract approximately 4,000 millennials annually to meet our existing workforce needs in cybersecurity, software engineering, etc.

City Council Candidates:

Regina English: My position is that the city could have done a better job in the planning process and being more transparent and inclusive with the people of the city as part of the discussion process, and what that would have looked like could have possibly been more effective had the majority of the people had input. Moving forward the city must do better with being more inclusive with major decisions that will affect the city as a whole. I also believe that we all deserve a safe space to commute whether it is by bike or car and we must come up with the most pragmatic solution for where we are as a city collectively.

Tony Gioia: In Colorado Springs, we have a seeming lack of interest among some elected officials and city bureaucrats of what their public thinks of their projects. Again and again we have seen so-called public processes where the public has come out in force against a proposal only to have the project move forward without any changes. We saw this on Research Parkway with the bike lanes that were installed and then removed again a couple months later. While bike lanes are not bad and are appropriate in many areas, the city must listen to its citizens when making choices on where they go.

Gordon Klingenschmitt: I join countless frustrated drivers who are stuck in traffic behind miles of empty bike lanes in our city. Unlike Field of Dreams, we built it and they did not come. My radio ads say I’m clearly against the inefficient waste of our road space and transportation dollars, and would introduce an ordinance to end road dieting and instead allow drivers to drive on roads for which they paid. Voters paid extra taxes to fix and fund roads on which they now cannot drive, so I would at a minimum allow drivers to share that road when no bicycles are present.

Bill Murray: Follow the bike master plan and quit using it as an excuse to diet roads. The only good plan is a master plan for transit and not just bikes. Need data on how many use these lanes and eliminate them if not used. Concentrate off road for bikes.

Athena Roe: I do not support lane diets. People are twice as likely to be killed on a bicycle; this is public safety issue. “It could be worse. In the United States, 698 cyclists died in road accidents in 2007. More than half a million others required treatment in hospital emergency rooms. This is an expensive problem. Cyclists in North America are twice as likely to be killed and eight times more likely to be seriously injured than cyclists in Germany and three times as likely to be killed and 30 times as likely to suffer serious injuries than cyclists in the Netherlands.” From CBS News.

Val Snider: My position is a big reason for eliminating vehicle traffic lanes was to increase safety on the roads by slowing traffic down with the slower traffic increasing the safety of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. This is feedback I have gotten by the affected neighborhoods with the recent bike lanes.

Dennis Spiker: I support bike lanes in Colorado Springs but not at the cost of the flow of traffic. Our city has may beautiful bike trails that should be taken care of better because they give the ability to ride safely and don’t cause the city to lose much needed road space. Before this project should move forward we need to have a study done to limit any impact to the residents that don’t want to ride bikes, as well as ensuring that we have places for those who do.

Tom Strand: I believe we are in a transitional period of implementing the Master Bike Plan and the newly installed Plan COS. We must take time to assess the safety of all methods of transit, vehicle, cycle and pedestrians. The key is be open to the community engagement process while stressing safety for everyone.

Wayne Williams: Where practicable I would rather connect our off-road trail system. There are circumstances where a bicycle lane might be appropriate if it can be done without adversely affecting mobility or safety. Research Parkway was not an appropriate road for a bicycle lane, particularly given the already existing extra wide trail on the south side of the road.

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