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Recent Comments

Re: “Banning Lewis Ranch amended annexation agreement released

30 years is roughly 1 life-cycle for lots of infrastructure. What happens after the first 30 years?
10 years ago, the projected costs of infrastructure here was 1 billion.
Do you think 49 million in revenue will be enough to cover the maintenance, let alone the replacement infrastructure needed for 18,500 acres in 30 years time?
If you don't think 49 million will be enough (it won't be close,) why would you approve it?
Can anyone in the city point to this type of development pattern (horizontal "sprawl) whether in CS or anywhere in the US that has returned a positive ROI over multiple life-cycles?

We've seen this again and again post WWII. We spend lots of money upfront to build way out on the edge on cheap land. Cities get a brief cash infusion that makes the books look good. Money gets tight and the city either raises taxes or takes on debt to meet maintenance obligations.
It's a losing proposition. It doesn't make financial sense. It never has.


15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by rt on 01/05/2018 at 8:56 PM

Re: “CDOT accelerates I-25 project north of Monument

Induced Demand. Look it up.
Adding lanes doesn't solve congestion. Never has, never will. This will, like all other road building projects of the last 50 years, be an expensive, short-term solution that, in the end, exacerbates congestion, eats land that could be used more effectively, and saddles taxpayers with expensive maintenance bills for the next 25-50 years. It will do little to solve the mobility problem of COS-DEN.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by rt on 01/08/2017 at 9:29 AM

Re: “City studies financial impacts of developing the Banning Lewis Ranch

I'll cut to the chase. No, this development will not bring prosperity. Horizontal development never does b/c the math doesn't work. It relies on subsidies to survive over multiple life-cycles.
Here's what will happen:
Developers will pay to install all the first generation infrastructure.
The city will collect taxes for 25 years.
Those taxes won't come close to paying for the maintenance and replacement of all the infrastructure that was built in the first generation.
The city will borrow or (gasp) raise taxes to pay for the ongoing maintenance and/or replacement of all that infrastructure.

Colorado Springs already has a model of what works. It's downtown/the Westside/Manitou. It's dense, walkable, based around a grid, and is mixed use. It's adaptable and resilient. It's that way b/c it's based on the way we built places for thousands of years. Incrementally up and incrementally out. It builds individual and community wealth b/c it costs less to build initially and less to maintain over multiple life-cycles.


11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by rt on 10/28/2016 at 9:36 AM

Re: “Grand Canyon Prep Part III; new trails in Staunton State Park

Enjoy the Grand Canyon Bob! I lived there for a year before moving to Colorado Springs, and that route was my preferred as well. There's going to be a point on the S. Kaibab where you finally see the Colorado River. I highly recommend taking a break there and just listening to the roar. Also, if they still serve it (I left in '03,) the cornbread at Bright Angel is incredible! Perfect after a hike down.
The hike up always felt like an uneven stair-master to me. Take a step, stair. Take 3 steps, stair. Take two steps, stair. It's tough to find a rhythm, so take your time and just enjoy it. The El Tovar porch is a great place to enjoy an adult beverage after you're done.
Lastly, if you're spending some time up on the rim, Shoshone Point is a good place for a sunrise or sunset. It's off the beaten path a bit so you may have it all to yourself and it's only a short hike from the parking area on fairly flat terrain.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by rt on 10/15/2016 at 3:47 PM

Re: “The battle for Nevada Ave., animal abuse, Clinton and Trump, and more

I no longer live in Colorado Springs, but used to live on N. Nevada and I still care about the city deeply.

If I'm reading the LTTE from Mr. McKeown correctly, the city is considering ripping out the median and installing 2 more lanes for traffic, one of which might at some point be for light rail?
Speaking as someone who works in the urbanism field, this is a CRAZY idea. Bonkers. I'm not talking about adding light rail, I think that would provide a high ROI if it connected UCCS to downtown. If done right, it would significantly increase property values along the route and be more attractive to those who don't want to own an automobile or use it for every trip. Provided land use intensified around the rail, especially on the far north end of Nevada, the city would see a solid bump in tax revenue. I differ w/ Mr. McKeown on turing lower floors into offices, or adding apartments or "granny flats" in the rear of now single family homes. Apartments, businesses to serve new people, and more density are not bad things. Done the right way, this is the traditional, organic way a city grows. Land around big community investments should be able to support those investments in the form of higher tax receipts. It's a win-win for property owners and the community alike.
A much better solution to adding rail along Nevada would be repurposing one lane on each side for the rail. N. Nevada has 4 lanes of auto only traffic. It does not need 4. There's no way traffic volume is high enough for that (perhaps there are some delays at "rush hours" but does it make sense to design an entire system around a few peak hours?) Even if it was, traffic is not a zero-sum game. It expands or contracts more like a gas than a liquid or solid (see: Induced Demand.) If you build more lanes for automobiles, you get more automobiles. If you repurpose lanes, the traffic disperses into the grid or goes away, or people choose times other than the peak to travel. Demolishing that median for rail would be providing the "carrot" of quality mass transit w/o the "stick" of discouraging car use. Keeping Nevada in it's current configuration & repurposing a lane for rail would also be substantially cheaper than demolishing the median and adding rail b/c the city would have one less lane for automobiles to maintain. Asphalt IS EXPENSIVE!
That median is a HUGE amenity to the surrounding neighborhoods. It softens the streetscape. slows automobiles (and quiets traffic noise), takes in pollution, provides shade for people and habitat for animals, and is visually pleasant.
Ripping out that median is anti-city. It's prioritizing the swift movement of automobiles over everything else. One lane of auto traffic each way is plenty. Taking the median out will have cascading effects. The city will not see a return on the investment of rail. It will devalue surrounding land values leading to lower tax receipts. It will lose valuable green space. It'll be on the hook for not only the maintenance costs of 4 lanes of auto traffic, but also the costs to run a now less valuable rail line. It will make Nevada a louder, less pleasant, uglier place to be.
Cities around the world are at a crossroad. They can continue on an auto-centric approach to planning (a world-wide EXPERIMENT of unprecedented scale), one that goes against millennia of accumulated knowledge on how to build cities, one that devalues the land around it at the same time is costs us dearly to build and maintain, or we can return to the values that make cities work for people first, using infrastructure that's already in place instead of building more that we can afford to maintain.
The cities that return to a people first approach will win the 21st century. The core of Colorado Springs is well-positioned to do so, with it's connected grid, walkable/bikeable streets, pleasant architecture, and parks/amenities. Ripping out the median on Nevada would be moving in the wrong direction and would lead to stagnation or worse for the surrounding neighborhoods.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by rt on 09/28/2016 at 4:02 PM

Re: “CSPD announces "do it yourself" policing policy

Another example of horizontal growth not being able to pay for itself long-term. Too much area to patrol, tax base can't cover the costs.

13 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by rt on 09/21/2016 at 12:31 PM

Re: “How are the Springs' urban renewal areas doing?

When you have more parking than actual business, well...duh.

You make everyone drive and they have $5,000-9,000 less to spend every year. This location, so close to a major university, was ripe for a less auto-oriented development style. Now you're stuck w/ big boxes for the next 25 years..at least. Can those buildings be turned into something else after? Not likely. In their shiny and new best they can't meet revenues after all that sunk infrastructure cost! DO THE MATH! Compare downtown's traditional development style to the crap we've produced for the last 70 years.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by rt on 02/19/2016 at 5:08 PM

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