Thursday, March 29, 2007

Clean up after your horse in city parks

If it is a city ordinance to pick up after your dog, why is there not one to pick up after your horse? Being a mountain biker and hiker, it is very annoying to have to see and navigate around manure on the trail.
- Josh Kinney

ANSWER: There is a clean-up-after-your-horse ordinance and it’s the same one that covers dogs: 9.9.301: Animal Defecation.“It is unlawful for any person to allow any animal over which the person has control to defecate upon any park land without the excrement being removed by the person in control of the animal from the park and properly disposed of elsewhere.”

Kurt Schroeder of the parks department said that particularly on a hard-surface area “we would expect people out of common courtesy to pick it up. We need to rely on people’s good sense of citizenship to take care of the waste their animal leaves behind.”Schroeder said the companies that give trail rides in Garden of the Gods clean up after the horses on a weekly basis.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Don't-stop sign on Ayers has been removed, so stop

Northbound on Goodson, just before the curve onto Ayers, there has been a stop sign that said drivers may proceed turning right without stopping. Now, prior to the intersection there is a new sign that shows a stop symbol and an arrow showing straight ahead which you would interpret as those only going straight must stop. However, at the curve, there is a regular stop sign. We have seen those stop even though they are turning right and cars almost rear end them and then we’ve seen others ignoring the stop sign. Everyone is confused as to why the change.
- Irma Huizing

ANSWER: We checked with the county road department and were told the stop sign has always been there. Then a sign was added beneath it saying drivers could turn right without stopping. The two signs contradicted each other and the don’t-stop sign was removed. Now, everyone has a stop sign and must stop, according to the county. The sign before the intersection alerts drivers to the upcoming stop sign.The county also advised that changes are coming to that area, including the revamping of Ayers, and drivers will encounter other new traffic signs. Some of that area will be closed at the end of April for hill removal and construction.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Memorial flags at half-staff for fallen firefighters

The array of flags displayed in the firefighter’s memorial at Memorial Park has been of some concern to me because of the continuous display of the U.S. flag at half-staff. Flying the flag at half-staff continuously is not permitted under United States Code, Part 36, sections 173-178.
- Jim Dykes

ANSWER: The flags at the nonprofit Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial are lowered as a tribute by firefighters when another International Association of Fire Fighters member, from either Canada or the United States, dies, according to Fire Chief Manuel Navarro.

When the local IAFF chapter receives word that a firefighter has died in the line of duty or because of a disease caused by duty work, the flags are lowered until the funeral. Considering that 122 names were added to the memorial in 2006, and that there are several days honoring each person, this could mean the flags are at half-staff much of the time

"Deaf Child Area" sign has been in place for years

There is a sign in the 2300 block of East Willamette that says Deaf Child Area. This sign has been there for years, and I'm sure the child has grown up or moved away. Why is this sign still there?
- Sandi Anderson

ANSWER: Before a “blind child” or “deaf child” sign is installed, those making the request also sign a letter of understanding saying they will notify the city if the sign is no longer needed, according to city traffic engineer Gary Herbst. Sometimes they don’t follow through. In other cases the “child” who is now grown might still live in the area, “however, we don’t have ‘blind adult’ signs, just ‘blind child,’” Herbst said.

Friday, March 16, 2007

City's Metro buses a rainbow of colors

My family and I were wondering why the Springs Metro buses change color so frequently.Are they really repainting them every few months? We have seen red, brown, purple and blue! We were quite confused.- Ashley Mackey

ANSWER: The folks at Mountain Metropolitan Transit said they’re happy you noticed their colorful palette.They want you to know they aren’t repainting the same buses. The new fleet actually has 15 buses, each in a distinctive color.You have your raspberry bus, your turquoise one, the bronze one, a chocolate bus, a seafoam and a persimmon one — and that’s just for starters.

Amy MacDonald, Mountain Metro’s public relations supervisor, said, “As we get new buses in, we are painting them in different colors to make it fun to ride the bus.“The colors are an effort to make the bus a pleasant experience.”She also said that if you like the colorful exteriors “you should see the inside. They’re beautiful. Purple and teal.”There are more colors to come as new buses are added. But you’ll also still see some of the older white buses on routes around the city.

Boulder and Meade a problem area

BOULDER TURN LANE: There is a shared turning lane on Boulder between Union Boulevard and Meade Avenue. During rush hour, traffic eastbound on Boulder enters that lane up to a block before Union, sometimes turning from the Olympic Training Center directly into the turn lane. When I turn west off of Union, and need to turn left onto Meade, I am often forced to stop in a through lane, or worse, end up in a game of “Chicken” with oncoming traffic
- Nan Stilwagen

ANSWER: The city traffic engineering office will look into this to see if anything can be done to try to make it work better, according to principal traffic engineer David Krauth. He said the only real cure would be a median, but that’s not in the plans right now

Monday, March 12, 2007

There's no set site for determining a city's elevation

I was wondering, the altitude of our city is 6,012 feet above sea level. Where in the city did they determine that this was the altitude for Colorado Springs?<
- Conrad LaBranche

ANSWER: There is no official site for determining elevation, but most communities focuss on a central point in the original township or city. Frequently that is the city hall or the main post office. Other times it is a median of the downtown or central areas.

We’re uncertain where the 6,012 elevation you cite is listed. Although the state of Colorado’s Web site lists Colorado Springs at 6,008 feet, the corner at Cascade and Pikes Peak avenues where the city’s stake was driven in 1871 is 6,002 feet.

We have a variety of elevations in the city. For example, drivers going north will travel uphill to 6,035 feet at Woodmen Road and Interstate 25. Keep going north and it’s up and up. Monument is 6,960 feet, and parts of the Air Force Academy are more than 7,000 feet.

Since the early days of the city, when many elevations were determined, it’s now much easier to get specific elevation data. Check out Google Earth, which maps the elevation of every property in Colorado Springs; the National Elevation Dataset of the U.S. Geological Survey; National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 for which surveyors walked the land and which is the datum used by the city; or the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 in which GPS and higher technology was employed and which is used by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department for plan reviews and by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Academy/Maizeland lot remains undeveloped

Having been a resident of Colorado Springs for nearly 40 years, I’ve always wondered why the southwest corner of Academy (Boulevard) and Maizeland (Road) has never been developed. I remember years ago parking in that vacant lot for something going on in Palmer Park. Can anyone fill me in?
- R. Fleming

ANSWER: Since 1977 there have been unsuccessful attempts by two auto dealerships to rezone that seven acres across from Palmer Park. It was annexed to the city in 1981 and is zoned as a Planned Business Center. That zoning does not allow auto dealerships. The zoning on this land has a CR (Conditions of Record) added, meaning there are specific conditions that would have to be met if it were to be developed.

For 30 years, neighbors of the property have successfully protested rezoning requests, saying their property values would be lowered.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I-25 rest areas needed some improvements

Traveling north on I-25 there is a rest area before Upper Lake Gulch Road that has been closed for months. What are they doing up there? The rest area on the southbound side of I-25 was also closed at the same time and has since reopened. Why hasn’t the northbound side reopened?
- Phyllis Miller

ANSWER: Renovation work was done on both rest areas, including improvements to lighting and the sewer systems. Bob Wilson of Colorado Department of Transportation said that as the lights were installed at the northbound site the workers damaged the sewer system and it can’t be repaired until the ground thaws in the heavily wooded area, probably in the spring. Besides making the rest area nicer for visitors, improved lighting and other upgrades could help cut reported criminal and drug activity in the northbound rest area, officials said.

Work on the southbound area also involved extra lighting and pruning of the heavy vegetation “because of unusual activity not becoming of a rest area,” Wilson said, referring to reports of drug activity and sex. “The southbound rest area was being used for activities other than stopping to use the restroom or taking a nap."

All but two states have daylight-saving time

I really hate daylight-savings and have heard the excuses for it like energy savings.
The way I see it, you use the utilities in the morning with daylight savings or in the evening without it, so I don’t see that as a valid reason. I was wondering just who is it that decides we have to go on daylight-savings time. I don’t recall it ever being on a ballot. Is there anyone to complain to about it besides my friends, who also hate it?
- Linda Brooks

ANSWER: Daylight-saving time was started in the U.S. in 1918, repealed in 1919, and was standardized through the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Local exemptions were allowed.

Today, DST is in effect throughout the United States with the exception of Hawaii, Arizona (not including the Navajo Nation) and in the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands and American Samoa. Indiana, with the exception of two counties, did not go on daylight-saving time until 2005.

You and your friends would have to get the Colorado Legislature and the voters of the state to overturn daylight-savings time.