Sunday, October 29, 2006

Finding the 1960s lumberyards on North Nevada

FINDING A LUMBERYARD: Recently reader Georgina asked the name of a lumberyard/lumber mill north of Fillmore Street on Nevada Avenue in the 1960s and ’70s, possibly near the old Krazy Kat nightclub on North Nevada Avenue.
Irmgard Anderton, a local resident since 1961, found listings in 1961 for El Paso County Lumber Co. at 3131 N. Nevada Ave., Everitt Lumber Co. at 229 E. Fillmore St., and Walker Brothers at 707 E. Fillmore St. Dwight Haverkorn said the 1970 City Directory still listed El Paso County Lumber Co. J. Michael Riley, who played with a band at the Krazy Kat, remembered two lumber companies farther south than the club: El Paso County Lumber and another called Collier’s Lumber or Colyer’s Lumber which had the motto “Lumbering Along Since ...” with a date he recalls as possibly 1924. He said it burned down. Reader Ted said the lumberyard at 3031 N. Nevada Ave. was Riddoch Lumber Co. "It then became the Harsh Lumber Co.; the last one was Newton Lumber Co.

Keystone diamond was on D-11 and parks property

QUESTION: Why was the baseball diamond torn down in Keystone Park, near King Elementary School on Sapparo Drive?
- Karen Hamlett

ANSWER: Eric Anderson of School District 11 explained there was a long-standing joint-use agreement for this area between the parks department and D-11, and it expired. The north baseball diamond belongs to the school district, but the south diamond straddled the property line between school district property and the parks department's land — the property line running through home plate.
After a community meeting early last summer to discuss maintenance responsibilities, watering and other issues, the decision was made to remove the south field.

Cimarron Street Bridge: multi-tasking officers and squeeze-through Hummers

CIMARRON STREET BRIDGE: The stationing of police officers around-the-clock on the Cimarron Street bridge to stop trucks from entering makes me wonder: When officers are in their cars parked for a long period of time, what can they do?
Read a novel or a magazine? Listen to the radio? Play their iPod? Talk on their cell phone? Or must they just sit there with the police radio on and watch the traffic?
- Debbie
ANSWER: Since these are extra-duty officers, they can listen to music on the radio in their vehicles, read work-related literature, etc., as they monitor the traffic, according to police spokesman Lt. Rafael Cintron.

CIMARRON STREET BRIDGE 2: Since the bridge access has been narrowed to 8 feet wide and 9 feet high to keep out trucks, can those large Hummers get through?
- AL
ANSWER: Darwin Bilberry, one of the Humvee specialists at Al Serra, checked it out. The big guy, the H1, is 7.2 feet wide without the mirrors, which puts it right at 8 feet, so a mirror would have to be folded for a tight squeeze, he said. The H2 needs a 7-foot clearance, so again the mirrors could be in danger.
The smaller H3, sometimes nicknamed the “soccer mom Hummer,” needs 6 1/2 feet, so it should fit just fine if a driver were so inclined to try it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Neighborhoods can apply for speed humps and other traffic-calming devices

QUESTION: Why are speed humps and dips not used as speed mitigation within Colorado Springs? We have a neighborhood speeding problem in Springs Ranch and have offered to install and maintain a speed hump within our neighborhood. The city engineer’s office says that the city doesn’t use speed humps because they are an impediment to snowplows and emergency vehicles. However, in at least two neighborhoods, speed humps are used (and replaced during repaving).
- Marty Deason
ANSWER: Senior city transportation planner Kristin Bennett says the city uses speed humps where appropriate, but this is just one of many “traffic calming” devices. Dips are for drainage, not speed mitigation.

Your neighborhood needs to apply to the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program. Bennett said the city staff will go to the site to collect current traffic data, pull accident history, determine whether you are an emergency route, etc. She said your neighborhood must have a documentable problem to have self-pay improvements because it would fall to the city to maintain them. If your area is accepted into the program, staff members will work with the neighborhood.

To get started, go to or e-mail

Age and drought killing off silver maples

QUESTION: The city has many maple trees planted in the downtown area that look really sad. The edges of their leaves are brown and curl inward. Some trees’ leaves are completely wilted. Is it due to a disease? The heat? What?
- Eve Tilley
ANSWER: “It could be a couple of things with the silver maples, but generally those in the city have reached their life span and they’re declining,” according to city forester Becky Lamphear. In addition, she also said, silver maples have been affected by drought. “The root system will just die off, and when we get more periods of water more leaves will come out and it’s difficult for the roots to support the canopy. We mark trees for removal, and I’ve had to mark a lot of silver maples.”

Parts of Cheyenne Creek are privately owned

QUESTION: This has bothered me for years and years. We live in Cheyenne Cañon, and some property owners on Cheyenne Road have fenced across the creek so that you cannot look at the water anymore. I can understand them wanting privacy, but it just looks so ugly. Do you know why they are allowed to do this?
- Marjie Symmes
ANSWER: According to the city, areas of Cheyenne Creek are privately owned. Where there is no public access, a landowner owns to the middle of the creek. This also answers several other readers who had asked who is responsible for cleaning up the trash swept down creeks such as Cheyenne Creek and Cheyenne Run after heavy rains. Even though it’s not their trash, it’s the landowners’ responsibility to clean up their halves of the creek.

Vehicles in left lane must move over if not passing

QUESTION: I moved to Colorado Springs from the East Coast and find it disconcerting when a driver passes me on the right when traveling 1-25. Is passing on the right legal in Colorado?
- Geraldine Treacy
ANSWER: In Colorado it’s illegal to stay in the left lane on I-25 and other multi-lane highways on which the speed limit is 65 mph or more if you’re not passing another vehicle.

Friday, October 13, 2006

They're crash barrels, not trash barrels

QUESTION: On the corner of North Nevada and Mountview Lane there are yellow crash tubs around the street light poles. They are filled with trash. Does the city empty those tubs on scheduled days? There are more trash-filled tubs one block to the south on North Nevada and Winters.
- Denise Wickersheim

ANSWER: These are attenuator barrels and they’re filled with water or sand. Colorado Department of Transportation says that although there might be litter on top, they’re not trash barrels. Attenuator barrels are designed to explode on impact to cushion a vehicle and absorb the shock of a vehicle hitting a solid object. Many people mistakenly believe the barrels are there to protect the light poles; instead they’re designed to save lives, according to CDOT.

When your lane ends, you have to merge

QUESTION: Go south on I-25 and turn off at exit 139. This is a two-lane road which immediately turns left and passes over I-25 and joins eastbound Martin Luther King, Jr. bypass going east. Immediately after passing over I-25, the left lane peters out and the road becomes one lane just before joining MLK bypass. My question is: Which lane legally has the right of way or which lane must yield to the other before the two lanes become one lane? There are no yield signs.
- John Yauk
ANSWER: When a lane is ending, it is the responsibility of the vehicle in the lane that is ending to merge, according to Colorado Springs Police Department spokesman Lt. Rafael Cintron. “The person with the right of way is the person in the lane that’s ongoing. If your lane is coming to an end, you have to yield the right of way.” As one reader pointed out, it’s a yield, not a race-as-fast-as-you-can to get in front of everyone in the lane that isn’t ending.

Friday, October 06, 2006

"u.s. forces" license plates are on personal vehicles

QUESTION: I followed a silver minivan up U.S. Highway 24 to Woodland Park.
It had no identifying marks on it (like the Chevy or Ford emblem) and had dark red plates that said “u.s. forces, Turkey.” Is this a military vehicle or someone’s personal vehicle?
- DL
ANSWER: In the past, personal vehicles owned by military personnel serving in Europe had American plates that said “u.s. forces, Europe” or the specific location, according to 1st Lt. Greg Dorman, Fort Carson public-affairs officer.
Then, for safety, the plates were transitioned to “NATO.”

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, they look like any other plates issued by the country they’re in. Dorman said the most plausible explanation for the vehicle you saw was that it was owned by Air Force personnel assigned to Turkey and the vehicle just got to Colorado after they were transferred.

Lizzie Wash first of its kind here

QUESTION: They’re working on the old Kmart site at Airport Road and South Circle Drive and when they cleared out all the Pfitzer bushes you could see this sign on the wall. What’s the history of Lizzie Car Wash? Also, would you know when the Kmart closed?
- Mark Petta
ANSWER: Known as “Lizzie Wash,” the car wash opened in the summer of 1968. The Gazette reported it had “a washing capacity of one car each 56 seconds.”
Lizzie, the first of its kind here, was self-operated, with drivers remaining in their vehicles. There was also an area for washing pickup trucks. The business sold Skelly gas, and customers got free washes with the purchase of 10 gallons. Lizzie Wash was no longer listed in the city directory after 1970, according to Penrose Library’s Special Collections.

The adjacent Kmart, which was built in 1964, closed in 1997. It is being remodeled into smaller spaces for retail and industrial use.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tower in Antlers Park has steam-locomotive bells

QUESTION: In the middle of Antlers Park, behind the pavilion, there is a tall pole with bells on it. The bells look like they can be rung by devices inside them.
What is this, and do the bells ever ring?
- Ken Smith
ANSWER: They are steam locomotive bells collected by the patriarch of the Supperstein Steel family. The “Supperstein Bell Tower,” created by sculptor Don Green was donated to the city by the family, and although there was an electronic device installed to ring the bells, it apparently has never worked as hoped.

Early-morning median watering ends the sprinkling cycle

QUESTION: Please help me understand why the city chooses to water its grass medians just before or during the morning rush hour. I see joggers, baby walkers, dog walkers, people walking to work, old couples strolling along and bicyclists all forced from sidewalks by this sprinkling. I know watering in the early hours before the heat of the day is a good practice. But I fail to understand why the watering takes place at the most inconvenient time of the day.Isn’t it time to rethink this practice?
- Bill Theis
ANSWER: The city’s medians are watered in zones and watering begins between 9 and 11 p.m. Each zone is watered 20 to 30 minutes, and it takes 6 to 8 hours for watering to be completed. So the “watering window” would mean the sprinkling you’re seeing in the early morning is the end of that watering cycle, according to Kurt Schroeder, city parks maintenance, trails and open-space manager. The zones are huge, and it could take that long to complete the cycle, possibly up until 7 a.m. or so.” Schroeder also said that while the majority of medians are the responsibility of his department, there are others that are privately maintained.