Updated 3-13 with the additional candidate responses from Springs Taxpayers survey
The upcoming Colorado Springs Municipal Election on April 2, 2019 will include elections for all three At-Large (city wide) city council seats, and the Colorado Springs Mayor. Ballots for the Mayoral race and Council-at-Large seats are being mailed this week! There are currently two surveys that we are aware of that include question about bike infrastructure and the role of bicycles in our city’s transportation network.
The parent origination that Bike Colorado Springs operates under, The Trails and Open Space Coalition sent questions to the candidates on topics like TOPS, Parks Funding, Bike Lanes and Park Priorities. Not all candidates chose to participate, but all were contacted and provided with the questions.
Similarly, the website, SpringsTaxpayers.com also sent out a survey to the 2019 City Council and Mayoral candidates. Below are the bicycle related questions and candidate answers from both organizations.
(Follow This link to see all the survey questions and answers from candidates)
What is your position regarding the elimination of motor vehicle traffic lanes (road-dieting) in favor of installing bicycle lanes? Please, explain.
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.
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 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.
Updated 3-13 with John Pitchford’s response
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.
City Council Candidates
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.
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 access 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.
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 loose 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.
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.
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.
Updated 3-13 with the following candidate responses
Athena Roe: I do not support lane diets. People are twice as likely to be killed on a bicycle, this is a 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.
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
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 which could have possibly been more effective had the majority of the people had in put. Moving forward the city must do better with being more inclusive with major decisions that will effect 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.
Trails and Open space coalition
Since bicycles have been in the news as of recently our partners at TOSC included bike specific question on the survey that was sent to the candidates.
TOSC is a supporter of Bike COS and is encouraged by the support the City recently has shown for this aspect of recreation and transportation through the Bike Master Plan, Plan COS and other plans. How do you envision bike lanes contributing to our community’s transportation systems in the future? Once elected, how would you address concerns raised in the community about the strategies the city has used to implement the Bicycle Master plan?
John Suthers: Bike lanes will undoubtedly continue to be part of city master planning as the city becomes more urbanized and residents want greater bike and pedestrian accessibility. I have found the “bike lane issue” to be almost entirely a generational issue, and while I’m respectful of those who oppose bike lanes, given the city’s need to attract about 4,000 millennials a year to meet our workforce development needs, and given the fact that sophisticated traffic engineering issues are involved, including traffic calming, I do not believe this is the sort of issue that should be determined by popular opinion polls or referendums.
Juliette Parker: Current plan creates danger for cyclists/motorists, it can be done BETTER & needs re-imagining. I’ll address concerns by having impacted neighborhoods dictate the process, much like the process any individual must go through to make a change, I would shift focus to off street trails that service urban areas.
City Council Candidates
Bill Murray: We need better engagement with the communities. Our strategy should be to explain outcomes. Having witnessed the results on Research, which was not originally designed to be part of our Bike Master Plan, we blew an opportunity to demonstrate the overall successful implementation of a bike program. The bigger problem is in our transit discussion. No mass transit to Denver and no real transit plan for COS creates an environment of bike lanes scratching an itch rather than resolving a problem. We are still having difficulties with a property owner downtown in buying land for a new transit terminal. At the same time, we are watching the Olympic museum being built and discussions of a soccer stadium and hockey arena. Each increasing the prospect of bringing more cars to this area. Rebuilding roads to accommodate this expansion is not even being addressed. Was Cascade changed for bikes or for safety? But then what about Bijou? Heading north is one of the most confusing intersections and quite dangerous. In addition, I would like folks to consider rebuilding Nevada and make a two lane bike trail go down the middle of it. Then build out the landscaping from there. Also build a bike lane next to the sidewalk on both sides of Research. Just a thought, but there are clear areas of agreement and concern by all parties.
Athena Roe: This depends on who actually uses the bike lanes. Most people drive, older people feel safer in their cars. Many people drive when the roads are snow packed or icy. After speaking with hundreds of residents, it is a mixed bag on who likes and who does not like the new bike lanes. I would like to see the realization of the trolley that was considered back in 2015. Some great cities use trolleys as a inexpensive and green form of public transportation.
Terry Martinez: Increasing connections is one of my campaign themes as well as to create “complete streets” –streets that are designed to accommodate pedestrians, bikers, cars, and buses- which sets up for effective use of limited resources as we accommodate multi-modal transportation and to follow the master plan already developed and approved.
Val Snider: Bike lanes need to be part of the long-term transportation planning for Colorado Springs, planning for different modes of transportation such as: auto, transit, pedestrian, and bikes. Concerns raised by implementing the Bicycle Master Plan will be addressed by gathering feedback from the public, then evaluate the feedback and course correct as needed.
Tony Gioia: I support bike lanes throughout the community, but we must be more aware of neighborhood input on the location of those lanes. As we saw on Research Parkway and are seeing now on Cascade Avenue downtown, when the public’s input is ignored, there is a political price to pay.
Tom Strand: I support the Bike Master Plan and was a signatory to the 2019 Plan COS. The future is multi-modal (pedestrians, motor vehicles, bicycles and public transportation). We must balance differing transit options, especially changes to road utilization, and find compromises so that everyone knows they are listened to and their concerns are considered in future planning travel decisions.
Dennis Spiker: I want to see more bike lanes add to the city where possible. I also want to update the trails so that biking can be done off the streets as well. I think that we must look toward alternative methods of transportation so that we aren’t creating more pollution.
Regina English: I would envision bike lanes contributing to our community’s transportation by improving mobility and health while reducing traffic congestion. I would collaborate with the community in order to come up with a more informed solution to the bike lanes and keep riders safe. Reshaping the plan is necessary.
Wayne Williams: I attended the recent forum at the Pikes Peak Center. I would seek to broaden public input and to connect and improve our off-road trail system. Bicycle lanes on roadways can be appropriate where they do not adversely affect mobility or safety.