Victory with City Council!

Tonight we learned that City Council will not be including City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager’s lane reduction proposal on their July meeting agenda. In other words, we don’t need to persuade the Council to reject the proposal, because they aren’t even considering it in the first place! This is great news for the many residents against lane reduction in ONEN.

Before we found out the proposal is off the table, we prepared a note to give City Council outlining the reasons we’re against lane reduction as well as the many problematic statements Krager made during the June 16 Planning Commission meeting. If you’re interested, you can download a PDF of the full note here: ONEN Residents Oppose Lane Reduction. Below is the bullet point summary:

 

In early June 2016, City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager announced a plan to narrow Cascade Avenue within Colorado College (CC). On June 16 the City’s Planning Commission rejected the proposal 6-2. We are asking City Council to do the same. 

1. Cascade Avenue is not a pressing safety concern.

  • Per CC pedestrian & vehicle counts, more than 3.8M pedestrians & 18M vehicles used Cascade from 2000-2012.
  • CC cites only 15 pedestrian-vehicle accidents in that time; many involved minor injuries or no injuries at all.
  • There were 1.25 pedestrian-vehicle collisions per year from 2000-2012; it has since decreased to 0.86 per year.

2. The minimal safety issues on Cascade aren’t solved by lane reduction.

  • Lane reduction is supposed to prevent “hidden car” collisions: when the 1st car stops but the 2nd car fails to yield.
  • Krager claims every collision she’s studied on Cascade was a hidden car collision.
  • CC has described only one “hidden car” collision on Cascade from 2000-2012.
  • Lane reduction doesn’t prevent collisions due to the 1st car or even the pedestrian failing to yield.
  • Lane reduction doesn’t prevent the 66% of collisions involving people biking and skateboarding across the road.

3. A pedestrian underpass would resolve safety issues on Cascade.

  • Krager predicts even after lane reduction pedestrians and vehicles will get “sloppy” and collide.
  • An underpass completely decouples pedestrian and vehicular traffic, preventing all pedestrian-vehicle collisions.
  • An underpass works with population increases, as evidenced by CSU and CU Boulder underpasses.

4. If safety were a dire concern, Krager would not dismiss the underpass.

  • Krager implies pedestrian safety on Cascade is an urgent life or death issue.
  • Yet she dismisses the underpass because it would change the “look and feel” of CC.
  • Either safety is so urgent it justifies bypassing public feedback, or it’s so minimal CC’s “look and feel” are bigger priorities. Which is it?

5. Eliminating flashing light crosswalks is the middle ground.

  • Nevada has more vehicular traffic but fewer pedestrian-vehicle collisions than Cascade.
  • Nevada has fewer crosswalks and they all have signals. Cascade has multiple unsignaled crosswalks.
  • Krager thinks flashing lights at the crosswalks make pedestrians overconfident and inattentive.

6. Krager offers no data to justify her proposal.

  • Krager offers no studies or data on the effects of narrowing Cascade only.
  • Krager admits repeatedly she can’t foresee what effects her proposal will have.

7. Federal studies don’t support Krager’s conclusions.

  • The FHA report suggests lane reduction will increase traffic congestion.
  • Krager says congestion and higher traffic volumes increase accident rates.
  • The FHA reports that lane reduction does not decrease accident rates or accident severity.
  • The FHA report is more comprehensive, accurate, and relevant than the CC analysis.

8. Most ONEN residents do not want Cascade narrowed

  • Resident volunteers spent a lot of time collecting signatures against lane reduction: over 650 so far.
  • Krager offers no equal metric of public opinion, only vaguely saying some ONEN residents support the proposal.
  • When ONEN Board claimed ONEN supports lane reduction at the June 16 meeting, the room erupted in “boo’s.”
  • The ONEN Board and Krager are ignoring public feedback. We do not want lane reduction.

 

For all the aforementioned reasons, we ask City Council to reject this nonsensical proposal in favor of data-driven solutions vetted through the proper process.

Please see our linked note for more detailed explanations as well as sources for all of our data.

Thank you for your consideration.

Krager can’t have it both ways with pedestrian safety.

Krager answers questions during the June 16 Planning Commission meeting.

Krager answers questions during the June 16 Planning Commission meeting.

On June 8, 2016, City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager announced her proposal to eliminate traffic lanes on Cascade Avenue through Colorado College (CC). On June 16, 2016, Krager presented her proposal to the City Planning Commission. (The Commission ultimately rejected the proposal 6-2.)

Many ONEN residents do not want Cascade narrowed, but Krager is presenting this as an urgent safety issue. The Gazette has quoted her saying “We’re having an increasing number of pedestrian accidents, and it’s just a matter of time.” During the Planning Commission meeting, she said she has seen too many citizens stand before commissions and ask “How many more must die?” Despite all data, Krager implies the safety issue on Cascade is life-or-death.

For nearly a decade, COS residents have been suggesting CC add a pedestrian underpass. An underpass would completely decouple pedestrian and vehicular traffic, thus fully protecting pedestrians from vehicle collisions. If this is truly a life-or-death crisis, we’d expect Krager and CC to jump at the opportunity to solve it.

Yet during the Planning Commission meeting, Krager dimissed the idea of an underpass. She specifically said it was not a financial problem–that if the underpass were a solution, they “would find the money.” Instead, Krager said CC is a jewel of the downtown area, and that an underpass would change the “feel” and “look” of the campus. She said it would change the way the campus functions. But isn’t that the point? If the way the campus functions currently risks student lives, it doesn’t seem like changing that would be such a problem.

Krager and CC can’t have it both ways. Either:

  1. Pedestrian safety has become such a desperate problem that it justifies Krager rushing to get her proposal approved without commissioning any studies, offering any data, or even allowing proper public feedback, or
  2. Pedestrian safety is such a minor issue that the “look” and “feel” of the campus are bigger priorities.

So which is it?

 

Cascade Avenue is even safer than we thought.

In our note “Kathleen Krager: Doubling Down Despite Data” we cited data showing that pedestrian safety issues on Cascade Avenue are exaggerated. Specifically, we said there were 15 pedestrian-vehicle collisions out of 1.6 million pedestrian crossings.

We got the 1.6M number as follows:

  1. Colorado College (CC) did an analysis showing at least 900 pedestrians cross Cascade Avenue during the lunch rush. To be conservative we didn’t account for pedestrian crossings at other times of day.
  2. We assumed a (low) estimate of 150 school days per year. To be conservative we didn’t account for pedestrian crossing on non-school days.
  3. 900 pedestrian crossings per day x 150 school days per year = 135,000 pedestrian crossings per year.
  4. The CC analysis was for the years 2000 – 2012. 135,000 crossings per year x 12 years = 1,620,000 crossings.
  5. According to CC’s Accident Summary, there were 15 pedestrian-vehicle collisions on Cascade in that time frame.

That’s how we got 15 pedestrian-vehicle collisions out of 1.6M pedestrian crossings.

However, one resident helpfully pointed out that the CC analysis gives more precise data about pedestrian crossings. Specifically, Figure 2-6 shows pedestrian volumes during the peak times in the morning, midday, and evening.

2013 CC analysis Figure 2-6 mid-block ped counts  2013 CC analysis Figure 2-6 legend.2

According to Figure 2-6 (above), Cascade Avenue actually sees 2,150 pedestrian crossings per day. Using the same method as above, this would bring us to 15 pedestrian-vehicle collisions out of 3,870,000 pedestrian crossings.In other words, 0.0004% of pedestrian crossings on Cascade resulted in a collision. Also note most of these collisions involved minor injuries or no injuries at all.

Despite the relative rarity of collisions on Cascade, Krager claims she must narrow Cascade before CC students return in August because “We’re having an increasing number of pedestrian accidents, and it’s just a matter of time.”

But we don’t know why she thinks so. As we just explained, the CC analysis cites 15 pedestrian-vehicle collisions on Cascade over a 12 year period. That’s 1.25 collisions per year. In the 3.5 years since then, according to data from CSPD (see the file called “Fuller letter”), Cascade has seen 3 pedestrian-vehicle collisions on Cascade. That’s 0.86 collisions per year. We don’t know what data Krager is looking at (if any) to suggest pedestrian accidents are increasing, but the data we’ve been able to find suggests collisions are actually the opposite.

From 2000-2012, 0.0004% of pedestrain crossings on Cascade resulted in a pedestrian-vehicle collision. That’s 1.25 collisions per year. Since then it’s gone down to 0.86 collisions per year.

Where is the urgency?

 

Planning Commissioner dismisses petition against lane reduction.

This year the ONEN Board of Directors proposed eliminating traffic lanes on major roads through ONEN. Many ONEN residents don’t agree with this proposal, and volunteers have gone door to door throughout ONEN collecting signatures from fellow residents against lane reduction. Additionally, SaferCC.com has hosted (and is still hosting) an online petition against lane reduction.

Thanks to your help, we’ve collected hundreds of signatures. We’re still examining our list to make sure we don’t have duplicates, but the paper and online petitions combined have garnered at least 650 signatures from residents who don’t want lane reduction in ONEN.

These petitions were originally in reaction to the ONEN Board’s proposal, which has been in the works for months. Then, quite suddenly, barely a week before the Planning Commission meeting, City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager announced a new proposal focused on narrowing only Cascade. This took both ONEN Board members and the general public by surprise, and with only a week until the Planning Commission meeting there was little time to review the new proposal and form responses.

During the meeting, one resident against lane reduction provided the Commission with the hundreds of signatures volunteers have worked so hard to collect this year. He referenced the number of signatures as he explained why he opposes lane reduction.

Commissioner Robert Shonkwiler clarified that the signatures were in opposition to a different proposal, and not the Cascade-only proposal before the Commission at the moment. The resident explained that the signatures were from people against lane reduction in ONEN, and Shonkwiler clarified twice more that the signatures were not against the specific proposal before the Commission today but were actually related to a different matter.

The implication is that we can’t truly know if everyone against neighborhood-wide road narrowing would be against narrowing Cascade alone. This implication is disingenuous. If we can’t know how residents feel, it’s not the fault of volunteers for being inaccurate with their petition wording; the responsibility lies with Krager–for allowing no time for the public process to take place–and with the City for letting her push a proposal that hasn’t been vetted. It is absurd that Shonkwiler would dismiss the efforts and work of citizen volunteers while accepting how hurriedly and inappropriately Krager put forth this proposal.

(Note, also, that when residents argued Krager hasn’t collected data or done studies for a Cascade-only proposal, Krager cited the CC analysis that examined narrowing multiple roads throughout ONEN. In that case Commissioners didn’t argue the point.)

City Council president pro tem Jill Gaebler recognizes the problem. As quoted in the Gazette:

‘The fact is, we have been holding community meetings for the last few months to get public input for the previous plan to narrow all four roads,’ Gaebler said Thursday after Krager briefed the Parks Advisory Board. ‘We’ve had significant input and public process over that plan, and this plan came out in a press release a day ago, is coming to the Planning Commission June 16 and then to the council. I want the voice of the people in my vote decision. It seems very rushed.’

If the City has any genuine interest in how the public feels about narrowing Cascade only, perhaps its employees should follow a process that allows public feedback. And if they will not, perhaps its Commissioners should recognize where the fault lies.

[Note: a previous version of this post said Commission Chair Eric Phillips had been questioning the petition signatures. Now that the Planning Commission has released the video of their meeting we reviewed and realized Phillips only let the resident know that Commissioner Shonkwiler had a question.]

Success at the Planning Commission Meeting!

Today the Planning Commission voted 6-2 to reject Kathleen Krager’s proposal to narrow Cascade Avenue!

Thank you so much to everyone that attended the meeting and voiced opposition. We had a great turnout, and a lot of different people shared their experiences and expertise to explain why lane reduction does not make sense on Cascade or elsewhere in ONEN. However this is not the end. Stay tuned here for more information leading up to the City Council meeting in July.

Today’s meeting was recorded and we believe the video will be made available at this link soon.

If you would like to get involved with our opposition to lane reduction, email us at info@safercc.com and follow us at Facebook.com/COSMatters. And don’t forget to sign our petition!

Kathleen Krager: Doubling Down Despite Data

As of today nearly 300 local residents have signed our petition saying we’re against lane reduction in our neighborhoods. In the wake of this increasing backlash, City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager is still trying to eliminate traffic lanes on Cascade through Colorado College. Click here to learn more, and come represent us tomorrow at the City Planning Commission meeting. That’s June 16, 2016, 8:30AM at City Hall.

3 - Don't cut cascade to one lane

NPR: “The Road Less Traveled?”

NPR has a timely story on how traffic diversion from congested roads is really making things difficult for residents in the neighboring areas.

Sturman now has to move his car from his garage to the street at 6 a.m., before the hordes arrive, or else backing out of his driveway becomes an ordeal.

Read the full story here.

The line of morning commuters stretches far down Cody Road in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. Neighbors say the traffic has dramatically increased since the app Waze has routed drivers onto formerly quiet backstreets.

The line of morning commuters stretches far down Cody Road in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. Neighbors say the traffic has dramatically increased since the app Waze has routed drivers onto formerly quiet backstreets.