Making Streets More Livable and Enjoyable By Quieting Traffic Is Not a Radical New Idea; It Was Recommended For Colorado Springs Long Ago

Friday, May 27, 2016

The rationale for One Lane From Two Lanes is that a street should be more than just a quick way for motorists and motorcycle riders to get from one place to another. Streets should be made pleasant to live on, and other human uses should be encouraged along streets – such as walking, bicycling, visiting outdoors with neighbors, etc.

This idea is particularly important for Colorado Springs, which was founded by General William J. Palmer to be a resort city and “the finest place for homes in the West.”

Charles Mulford Robinson, a famous park planner, wrote a 1912 report on city design in Colorado Springs. In the following quote, in which he discusses the character of Colorado Springs in comparison to other cities, Robinson specifically calls for streets in our unique city to be treated in a special way. He wrote:

“Colorado Springs is not, and does not aspire to be, a manufacturing city; it is not a great trading center, and it is not a capital city. Its two great assets are its air and its scenery— the one notable for its life-giving qualities, the other for the inexhaustibleness of its beauty and grandeur.

“To be a pleasure and a health resort is, therefore, its destiny. . . . This way, then, lies prosperity, culture, wealth and growth. It is given to a hundred cities to be manufacturing centers, but what do they make that is comparable to your scenery and your air? It is given to many communities to grow rich by the exchange of commodities, but what can they sell as precious as health or as beautiful as the mountain views that you offer to those who come to you? …

“With you, therefore, the function of the street is not the same as in most other communities. You are to treat it not merely as a means of communication for going from one point to another, but, in adapting it to the city’s needs, you should take the view of it that is taken in cities of Southern Europe. That is, you should make it also an out-of-doors room, inviting people to loiter there, to sit in the sunshine and enjoy the views.”

One Lane From Two Lanes will go a long way towards accomplishing Robinson’s goals for Colorado Springs. Quieting traffic and making the streets safer will greatly increase enjoyment of the streets by those who are not in motor vehicles.

Quoted from Charles Mulford Robinson’s 1912 report on street design in Colorado Springs. See the 1912 report, Section III, “Street Development” (no page numbers):

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