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City of Colorado Springs makes changes to William Palmer statue intersection, family calls for more change

Posted at 10:35 PM, Sep 06, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — On Wednesday the City of Colorado Springs installed no left turn signs for east and westbound drivers at the intersection of East Platte Ave. and North Nevada Ave. That is the intersection where the William Palmer statue sits.

The intersection has stirred up controversy for years over safety issues after a number of crashes. Data from the Colorado Springs Police shows there have been 80 crashes at the intersection since 2018.

Todd Frisbie, the City Traffic Engineer, said the changes were a direct result of a study completed in August of 2022. The study analyzed crash data from 2015 to 2019 of hundreds of different intersections across the city and resulted in safety recommendations for 74 intersections. The numbers from Nevada and Platte show that 38.5% of crashes involved a left turn, while the expected rate is only 16% of crashes. Out of the left-turn crashes, an overwhelming majority involved cars going east and west.

"The data was showing that drivers were having a hard time making that left turn," said Frisbie. "The number of crashes we've seen is double than what we would expect in that crash pattern, and so that's what drove us in the end to make this change."

Frisbie said the city has been prioritizing changes for the intersections with the worst safety performance. He said a few intersections along Academy Boulevard were at the top of the list while the Nevada and Platte intersection was about halfway down. He said it cost around $1,500 to add the no left turn signs to the intersection.

Bobbie Romero lost her father, Isadore Romero, in a fatal motorcycle crash at the intersection back in April. He was hit by a driver who turned left in front of the statue while driving on Platte. She and her family said the change is a step in the right direction, but ultimately, they said the statue should be moved out of the intersection.

"Having them acknowledge that there's a problem here makes me feel a little bit better. It's definitely not going to resolve the problem that we're having at this intersection," Bobbie said.

She said she has been trying to contact the city to discuss possible solutions, but has gotten no answer.

"I've been trying to contact the Mayor. I've been trying to contact the city and I've gotten zero response," she said. "Why can't we have a solution? A solution. Not a band-aid."

Frisbie said the city is not considering moving the statue. He said anytime city traffic engineering makes safety changes to an intersection, the department will revisit the data in one or two years. He said that is when they will determine whether or not the signs are helping to make the intersection safer for drivers.
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