Author and conservative activist Laura Carno brought our attention to a situation in Colorado Springs where a lane of traffic was removed from Research Parkway and replaced with a so-called buffered bike lane. The twisted logic behind replacing a multi-million dollar public asset with a bike lane is to accommodate adults who want to ride bicycles around a town that stretches nearly twenty miles north to south.
Unfortunately, Colorado Springs is not a trend setter here – as other cities, including Denver and Ft. Collins, have been slashing road capacity to create bike lanes.
Bike lane advocates claim safety as the primary motivation for transitioning streets into designated bike lanes. However, we have hundreds of miles of publicly maintained bike trails in this state, including a beautiful one that skirts the east boundary of the Air Force Academy just a few short miles from the Research Parkway disaster. If the bike riders were actually concerned about safety, they would be recreating on these purpose-built facilities already in place for them.
They also claim that roads should be used for people to ride their bikes to work. This argument can be slayed from countless directions. First of all, we live in Colorado, and last time we checked, the cold weather, ice, and snow is an impediment to riding a bike to work for several months out of the year. Also, what share of the population is in a position to ride a bike to work, even if they wanted to. If you don’t live a few miles from the office – forget it. If you are too old/sick/uncoordinated, etc. to ride a bike, this is not going to work. If you have to wear professional clothes to work, not gonna happen. If you need to stop at the dry cleaners, grocery store, day care, or any number of other places – you are not going to be riding your bike to work. Who is left over after this list is exhausted? The “bike to work” argument simply makes no sense in our state.
In Denver, the situation is worse. This year the city removed a lane of traffic from Broadway between downtown and I-25, one of the most heavily used stretches of road in the city, and replaced it with a bicycle lane, complete with confusing turn zones, special traffic lights, and street parking that has been moved off the curb into the middle of the road.
Every day tens of thousands of middle-class Coloradans cram into this now-diminished thoroughfare, jockeying to get on the highway after a hard day’s work downtown. This unused bike lane that popped up out of nowhere has created a traffic nightmare for the very people who pay the sweat of their brow in taxes, and entrust government workers to make wise decisions with those precious resources.
This pattern is an affront to every hard working Coloradan who plays by the rules and expects a fair deal from their government. For Colorado bureaucrats to take our already stressed transportation resources and destroy the usefulness of them is unconscionable.