New lane configuration in downtown Colorado Springs confusing drivers

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) A new bike lane configuration on Weber Street in downtown Colorado Springs is designed to protect cyclists, but people say it's confusing and worry that someone is going to get hurt.

The changes take Weber from two lanes in each direction to one lane each way with a bike lane, with a row of parking in between the traffic and bike lanes.

Drivers we talked to say the configuration is confusing. They say it looks like cars are parked in the middle of the street.

"There's not a whole lot of room for the driving cars," said Abby Welborn, who works at a law firm on Weber. "When people pull up behind [the parked cars] they can't tell it's a parking space, they think they're waiting for a stop sign or a light."

City officials say the "parking-protected bike lane" is designed to create a barrier between vehicle traffic and bike traffic.

"It makes the cyclist a little safer, it makes him feel more comfortable it takes parking out next to the traffic and also helps control the traffic and keep the speed down in a downtown street," said Kathleen Krager, the division manager of Traffic Engineering for the city of Colorado Springs.

But some like Welborn say they think the new configuration is actually less safe for everyone.

"When you're coming around the turn and somebody's just parked there ... you either, like I said, you have to choose the greater evil, you either hit a parked car when you kind of try to make that turn wide enough and you're going to go into the oncoming traffic lane. ... When you're getting out and people are speeding down a single lane, there's not a whole lot [of room] for you or that vehicle, and so it's scary," Welborn said.

In just a short time, our cameras caught people driving down the parking lanes like they were a traffic lane and some cars pulling in behind a row of parked cars, thinking they were a row of stopped traffic.

City officials say they expect there to be a few headaches over the next few weeks, but think that eventually, people will get used to the new design.