Tuesday, March 26, 2019

City hires new traffic engineer to replace Krager, but controversy isn't over

Posted By on Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 1:29 PM

click to enlarge Kathleen Krager, right, speaks during a neighborhood meeting in 2017. - STEPHANIE MASON
  • Stephanie Mason
  • Kathleen Krager, right, speaks during a neighborhood meeting in 2017.

A replacement for the city's former traffic engineer was named on March 25. Todd Frisbie, who will be paid $130,000 a year, has been named engineering manager for traffic operations. He will start work on April 1, the city announced.

Kathleen Krager, traffic engineer, left the city in January after 10 years. She became a controversial figure by carrying out the city's program to create bike lanes on city streets.

Though her departure was characterized as retirement by city officials, Krager was paid three months salary, along with six months worth of premiums for health insurance, the Indy has discovered. Normally, people who retire are not paid separation pay — Krager's package came to $32,247, based on her annual salary of $128,987.

Here's her "transition and separation agreement."
Frisbie isn't an uncontroversial figure either. He helped draft the initial parking plan for Colorado College's new hockey arena that drew the wrath of neighbors in that area because it didn't add any new spaces. Some neighbors complained the school already lacks the needed parking spaces to accommodate its students and visitors, which leads motorists to park in surrounding neighborhoods.

CC recently announced it would build a parking garage to accommodate some of those who attend games at the proposed 3,000-seat hockey arena at Cache La Poudre Street and Nevada Avenue.

Monica Hobbs, president of the Near North End Neighborhood Association (bounded by Cache La Poude Street, Bijou Street, Monument Valley Park and Wahsatch Street) says she questions whether Frisbie can be impartial.
"It's nothing against him personally," she tells the Indy by phone. "What my question is, is that Todd has been a consultant with CC for years on all their traffic planning. Saturday [March 23] he was there [at a public meeting about CC parking] presenting on behalf of CC — its new traffic plan. Starting in April, he'll be working for the city. It just seems like the neighborhood is floating on its own. Why can't the city be putting in someone who's background isn't consulting for CC?"

In a news release, the city said Frisbie has more than 22 years of experience in transportation planning and engineering and most recently worked for the firm of Felsburg Holt & Ullevig of Colorado Springs, a transportation planning and civil engineering firm.

The city noted in the release that Frisbie has "worked on many public infrastructure projects and has developed good working relationships with the City of Colorado Springs and adjacent municipalities and jurisdictions." He also has served on the city’s Transportation Advisory Board since 2017.

He'll report to Public Works Director Travis Easton. When asked about Frisbie's work for Colorado College, Easton said via email through a city spokesperson:
Todd Frisbie has worked with the City, private organizations and other stakeholders on several major transportation projects in recent years. It’s exactly these relationships that make him well qualified to make informed decisions taking into consideration different points of view and to ultimately oversee well thought-out traffic decisions. There’s simply no evidence or logic to suggesting that the fact that he’s worked with different organizations around the city somehow disqualifies him from the ability to pursue the best interests of our Colorado Springs community. 

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