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11 Call for Action Investigation: Tree Branches Cut Back From Stop Sign

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There is a big change in a local neighborhood after our 11 Call for Action Investigation.

A bicyclist was seriously injured on Monday night when police say he ran a stop sign along Palmer Park and Meade on the east side of Colorado Springs. Neighbors told us it wasn't his fault because the stop sign was hidden by tree branches.

The city of Colorado Springs says they were not aware this stop sign was covered by branches until we started making calls. On Thursday morning they sent a crew out to cut some of the branches down.

“It's night and day, literally you could not see that stop sign at all. Today it's very visible, really from quite far up the street,” neighbor Lori Marin said.

The cyclist is in critical condition after police say he blew past the stop sign and got hit by a car on Palmer Park. Marin lives down the street and believes that man never saw the sign because of the branches. 11 News contacted the city on Wednesday. On Thursday they took action.

"We assign it a priority. If it's a public safety issue we're on it, we pull our guys right away,” Colorado Springs City Forester Jay Hein explained.

The city says they can't monitor all the trees in Colorado Springs that block traffic signs. They rely on community members to let them know when there's a problem.

"If you see something that just isn't right, a stop sign that you can't see or a light that's out, that we all share the message and that we're all responsible,” Marin said.

Police say if you come up to a busy intersection, you should be ready to stop, even if you don't see a stop sign. If you notice a tree covering up a traffic sign in your neighborhood, call the Colorado Springs Forestry Division.

If you have a story you want our Call for Action team to investigate, call us at 719-457-8211.

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A bicyclist who was hit by a car after running a stop sign that was obscured by tree branches is still in critical condition.

Colorado Springs police identified the man Thursday afternoon as John Penea.

But neighbors tell us they don't think the accident was Penea's fault. They are concerned it could happen to any of us.

The crash happened Monday night at the intersection of Palmer Park Boulevard and Meade, just east of downtown Colorado Springs.

Police say the man was riding his bike when he ran a stop sign. He was then hit by an oncoming car on Palmer Park. Lori Marin ran outside when she heard the commotion.

“I saw the paramedics and the fire department working on him. Completely unresponsive. It just looked really major,” Marin said.

Neighbors say it’s nearly impossible to see the stop sign.

“There is a tree branch completely blocking that stop sign. If I were on a bicycle or even in a car, I would have probably blown through it too if I didn't know the area,” Marin explained.

The crash happened at night and Marin says she's worried it will happen again.

“Who else is going to blow through it? Who else is going to get hurt? And that really is the reason for my concern."

So what's being done about this? 11 News talked with leaders for both the city and county. They say they are going to send a tree crew out there this week to cut back the branches.

Police say the bicyclist is at fault because he did not stop and he will be ticketed.


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