City of Colorado Springs / Land Use Review / Publications & Maps / Comprehensive Plan / Approved Comprehensive Plan / Chapter 3 - Transportation

Chapter 3 - Transportation


Transportation is a key concern of both residents and employers in the Colorado Springs community. People want to travel where they want to, when they want to and how they want to. As the city grows in population and size, meeting all those needs becomes more challenging. Our environment and quality of life are threatened by time- and resource-consuming travel patterns.

Challenges to improving our transportation system include:

1. In many areas, our car is our only option for getting around the city.

2. Land use planning and transportation planning are not always well coordinated.

3. Improving our transportation system is expensive.

Some portions of the city developed with a grid pattern, served by streetcars. This more compact development pattern encouraged walking to school, work and shops. Later development followed typical suburban patterns, with car-dependent development. Employment and shopping areas are isolated from residential development, further complicating our day-to-day travel needs. We also make more and longer trips by automobile, thus increasing congestion, travel times, fuel consumption and air pollution. Many residents in neighborhoods throughout the city feel overwhelmed by greater traffic volumes, higher speeds, and cut-through traffic. These trends are likely to continue.

This chapter describes a vision for the City's future transportation system that provides residents with a range of transportation choices. While automobiles are expected to continue as the predominant means of transportation, all transportation modes need enhanced standing, and efforts will be made to ensure mobility across all modes. Access will be maintained to each part of the city by all modes in order to ensure safe and convenient access for all residents, employers, employees, and visitors. Expanding our transportation system will allow greater mobility for our community

Integrating land use decisions and multi-modal transportation planning can help reverse or stabilize recent trends. The goal is to consider where we build, what we build and the kinds of transportation choices we are making. The desired outcomes are less congestion, more livable neighborhoods and more choices in how we move around the City. Increasing the efficiency of the system will increase capacity while minimizing the costs and livability impacts of system expansion. Managing the demand placed on the system will lessen the need to increase capacity. Please see the Land Use Chapter for additional policies regarding land use and transportation.

This chapter also sets out a series of policies to guide City transportation programs and activities. The policies focus on three aspects of transportation - Transportation Planning, Livability and Implementation. These policies are carried through to the City's Intermodal Transportation Plan (ITP) - whose purpose is to carry out the transportation related goals of the City Comprehensive Plan and City Strategic Plan. Please see the ITP, a citywide master plan, for more detailed policy and implementation direction regarding transportation.

Implementation of these goals will be carried out through the Intermodal Transportation Plan and the Comprehensive Plan as well as other tools such as the Springs Community Improvements Plan (SCIP) and the City Strategic Plan. Coordination of these efforts will ensure that the city's transportation and land use systems are mutually supportive. The impact of potential development on the existing transportation system will be a major consideration in the review of development proposals. New transportation facilities will be expected to meet review criteria set by the land use policies and implementation tools.


Accessibility: The ability to travel to a specific destination or activity.

Alternative Modes: Means of travel that are in addition to single-occupant vehicles, including carpooling, walking, bicycling, and transit.

Congestion: The relationship between volume and capacity, with volume being partially dependent on demand (as demand increases, volumes generally increase as well).

Demand: The number of "trips" that people want to take on an individual roadway or system. Demand is not affected by congestion.

Efficiency: The ability to get people, goods, and services where they want to go, when they want to go there. Increasing mobility, increasing accessibility or both can increase efficiency. The term is also used to indicate the ability to increase roadway capacity through operations rather than constructing new traffic lanes.

HOV: High Occupancy Vehicle. Colorado State law defines an HOV as a vehicle carrying two or more people. Public buses and motorcycles are also allowed to use HOV lanes, regardless of the number of people they are carrying.

Intermodal Transportation Plan (ITP): The ITP is a master plan forming a comprehensive foundation for City transportation activities. It compiles the Major Thoroughfare Plan, the Truck Route Map, the Transit Plan and the Bicycle Plan, as well as a plan for managing travel demand and pedestrian programs. The purpose of the ITP is to guide policy and decision making with respect to serving the City's existing and long-term future transportation needs and to carry out the goals of the Strategic Plan and the Comprehensive Plan.

Mobility: The speed and distance at which we can move people, goods, and services. Mobility applies to all modes of travel and to all segments of the community.

Multi-modal: More than one mode. For example, a multi-modal trip is a trip by more than one mode and a multi-modal facility is a facility that accommodates more than one mode.

Springs Community Improvements Program (SCIP): The citizen-driven process by which existing capital and operating needs for high priority services and projects for the community are identified and prioritized, and for which financing mechanisms are determined.

Strategic Plan: A planning document approved by City Council which identifies key areas requiring the resources of City government, and which identifies specific actions steps necessary to achieve desired goals. Implementation of the Strategic Plan includes a Strategic Network of Long-range Plans to identify capital and operating needs created as a result of new growth.

Travel Demand Management (TDM): Any program or policy that reduces demand on a transportation system. Reductions in demand can be by time-of-day, route, length, mode, or absolute reduction, and are usually a combination of the four.

Related Planning Documents

Springs Community Improvements Program 2000

City of Colorado Springs Strategic Plan: Direction 2000

Intermodal Transportation Plan

East-West Mobility Study

Parks System Capital and Services Master Plan (Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Trails 2000-2010 Master Plan)

Planning and Mobility

Objective T 1: Transportation Planning and Mobility

Plan the City's transportation system to meet the present and future mobility needs of the community in a safe and efficient manner. Planning of the system will achieve a balance between improving mobility, increasing efficiency, maintaining safety and minimizing adverse impacts on adjacent areas.

Surveys conducted during the period 1995-1999 have shown that traffic congestion remains the number one concern of Colorado Springs residents. The pace of growth of our community has increased traffic congestion and impacted neighborhoods with cut-through traffic. Opportunities for expanding the roadway system within established areas of the city are limited. Therefore, increased efficiency in the use of the existing network and an emphasis on increased mode choice and access are warranted.

Establish a link between land use and the transportation facilitates and services needed to support growth. The land use vision established in the Plan helps identify and develop transportation policies, and strategies. For example, increasing opportunities for mixed land uses may reduce the number or length of automobile trips for some residents, or provide the choice of walking, bicycling or taking transit to accomplish the same errand.

Policy T 101: Transportation System Planning

Cooperatively plan, develop and maintain safe and efficient transportation system to meet the present and future mobility needs of the community.

Strategy T 101a: Identify Long-term Needs

Identify the major facilities and rights-of-way needed to meet the long-term needs of the City and region.

Strategy T 101b: Utilize Functional Hierarchy

Base the roadway system upon a functional hierarchy of residential and collector streets, minor and major arterials, freeways and expressways. Decisions concerning speed, delay, and access control should be consistent with this hierarchy.

Policy T 102: Transportation System Goals

Provide for the safe and efficient movement of people, goods and services throughout Colorado Springs consistent with the land use policies and forecast growth. Provide all modes of transportation so that each mode (single-occupant vehicle, multi-occupant auto, pedestrian, bicycle, public transit, and freight) has an opportunity to be utilized and there is a reasonable choice among modes for travel needs.

Strategy T 102a: Create a Balanced System

Develop an integrated transportation system that includes a choice of modes and provides safe and convenient connections between modes.

Strategy T 102b: Utilize Travel Forecasts

Use travel forecasts in determining facility and system needs. Coordinate data on a regional basis.

Strategy T 102c: Develop and Apply Level of Service Standards

Develop level of service standards for pedestrians, bicycles, high occupancy vehicles, transit and freight, and include them in system planning, infrastructure planning, land use decisions and the development review process.

Strategy T 102d: Identify and Plan Transportation System Needs

Identify and plan for infrastructure needs, including required facilities, location of appropriate transportation corridors and transfer points, and additional right-of-way to develop a multi-modal transportation system. Utilize the Inter-Modal Transportation Plan and Major Thoroughfare Plan as the primary tools for this work.

Strategy T 102e: Infrastructure and Service Provision

Provide all transportation facilities and services are provided within a reasonable time frame of development.

Strategy T 102f: Right-of-way Reservation and Dedication

Require advance right-of-way reservation and dedication for transportation and utilities facilities through the land development process.

Strategy T 102g: Street Design Criteria

Develop and utilize street design criteria to support multi-modal uses, with design elements reflecting the nature and scale of the adjacent land uses.

Strategy T 102h: Transportation System Improvement Considerations

Address the following when considering proposed transportation improvements:

Traffic demand by mode;

System mobility;

Vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle safety;

Preservation of neighborhood character;

Ease of traffic operations and traffic circulation patterns including efficient signalization, parking, and access management;

Protection of natural and historic resources;

Utility, stormwater, and other facility needs;

Energy conservation; and

Maintenance costs.

Policy T 103: Transportation System and Land Use Pattern

Develop a land use pattern and a transportation system that are mutually supportive. Enhance access to housing, jobs, schools, goods and services, shopping, and recreation through the joint planning of land uses and transportation. Link sites used for living, working, shopping and recreating and make them accessible via transit, bike, foot and car.

Strategy T 103a: Integrate Mixed Land Use

Provide opportunities for mixed land uses to afford proximity choices for working, shopping, recreational and other activities. Encourage a variety of uses in activity centers, commercial centers, employment centers, regional centers and corridors.

Strategy T 103b: Link Neighborhoods with Citywide Transportation System

Plan and design attractive, safe and efficient access and mobility for transit, vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles to link neighborhoods with community planning areas and the city as a whole.

Strategy T 103c: Improve Pedestrian and Transit Opportunities

Introduce sidewalks and paths between the buildings and through the parking lots in activity centers to provide opportunities for pedestrian use. Direct linkages to regional transit and local bus routes will be made.

Strategy T 103d: Incorporate Land Use and Traffic Planning in Development Review

Identify and address traffic issues in land use proposals. Avoid access to new businesses through established residential neighborhoods. Resolve traffic issues prior to granting project approval.

Policy T 104: Coordinate Planning

Cooperatively plan and implement all elements of the transportation system in coordination with citizens, adjoining counties, El Paso County, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, public and private schools and the transit agencies that provide service in and to the City. Prioritization of facility improvements will be coordinated among jurisdictions to implement the Regional Transportation Plan. Incorporate the impacts of existing and forecast population and employment generated outside the City in traffic analysis.

Strategy T 104a: Utilize Public Participation

Encourage, promote and facilitate proactive citizen participation to help identify long-term mobility needs at the neighborhood, community, city and regional levels.

Strategy T 104b: Integrate the Regional and Local Transportation Systems

Plan, design and implement a transportation system, including services and facilities that supports the integration of the regional and local transportation networks. Facilitate access to the system for vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, mass transit services, and persons with disabilities. Incorporate the transportation needs of public and private schools in system planning. Coordinate planning and implementation with federal highway, railroad and air transport authorities.

Strategy T 104c: Participate in Regional Council of Governments

Participate in regional transportation planning through the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, including the allocation of state and federal funding for member governments.

Strategy T 104d: Monitor Implementation

Monitor, evaluate and revise the Intermodal Transportation Plan, the Subdivision Policy Manual; and Public Works Design Manual to implement the Comprehensive Plan and to periodically reassess the Comprehensive Plan's vision. Identify, develop, and use any additional measures needed to ensure implementation.

Livable Communities

Objective T 2: Maintain Livability

Consider possible adverse impacts to the livability of the City when evaluating changes to the transportation system. Review of development proposals will include the impact of potential development on existing neighborhoods and the transportation system. Design transportation facilities to achieve visual compatibility with adjacent land areas and to minimize impacts on the natural environment. Minimize the disruption to neighborhoods when transportation facilities are developed. Encourage mobility choices that provide more options for traveling and reduce congestion.

Policy T 201: System Improvements will be Compatible with Other Uses

Implement transportation system strategies to improve quality of life and protect the environment. Plan, design, construct and maintain the transportation system to improve mobility choices and access to jobs, shopping and recreation. Implement system improvements appropriate in design and scale to the land uses in the area where they are located. Ensure the precedence of neighborhoods over the automobiles that drive through them.

Strategy T 201a: Ensure Transportation System Compatibility with Adjacent Uses

Design new transportation facilities and enhance existing transportation facilities to be compatible with adjacent land uses. Include neighborhood participation in design and implementation of these projects.

Strategy T 201b: Develop an Environmentally Compatible Transportation System

Plan, develop and implement a transportation system that protects and enhances air and water quality, protects and enhances scenic routes and vistas, and minimizes noise impacts on residential areas. Evaluation of major roadway projects will include analysis of noise and air quality impacts on adjoining land uses.

Strategy T 201c: Noise Abatement

Design and construct roads, bridges, and other transportation facilities to minimize adverse noise impacts and work to reduce excessive noise levels. Use paving and surfacing materials that minimize noise.

Strategy T 201d: Enforce Neighborhood Speed Limits

Enforce neighborhood speed limits to reduce accidents, reduce noise impacts and improve neighborhood safety. Strategies could include use of photo radar or speed sensitive traffic signals.

Strategy T 201e: Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

Designed pedestrian and bicycle facilities, including sidewalks, on-road lanes, off-road trails, connections, crossings, signals, and bridges to facilitate movement in a safe and efficient manner. Facilitate convenient and safe bicycle and pedestrian movement at crossings and traffic signals.

Strategy T 201f: Roadway Beautification

Conduct and implement a citywide street beautification plan. Design residential streets that minimize road mat width and include detached sidewalks, landscaping and adequate pedestrian crossings to enhance neighborhoods. Maintain and protect existing landscaped medians. Include landscaped medians or side parkings in new street design. Design streetlights for pedestrian use and to complement neighborhood character. Place utility boxes, cable boxes and similar facilities as unobtrusively as possible, with consideration for operability and safety.

Strategy T 201g: Recognize Neighborhood Character

Plan, develop and implement a transportation system that enhances the livability of residential neighborhoods. Recognize the importance of and contribution to neighborhood identity and integrity by protecting and improving the quality of life within neighborhoods, while at the same time facilitating the movement of pedestrian, bike and vehicular traffic. Include traffic calming and pedestrian safety in transportation projects located within neighborhoods.

Strategy T 201h: Streetscape and Neighborhood Creation and Preservation

Develop streetscape design criteria that consider the elements essential to the creation and preservation of neighborhood character, including trees, medians, parkways, scenic vistas and the relationship between homes and roadways. Incorporate historic elements such as landscaping, medians, smaller turning radii and narrower configurations in historic neighborhoods. Incorporate design criteria fostering neighborhood livability in all new development and redevelopment.

Policy T 202: Improve Mobility with Multi-Modal System

Plan and develop an integrated all-mode transportation system. Facilities and services will jointly serve all modes while respecting and maintaining the integrity of existing neighborhoods. Support and implement alternative modes and facilities to help maintain and increase Colorado Spring's attractive quality of life.

Strategy T 202a: Improve Mobility Options

Develop a transportation system that increases mobility options, including alternative ways to travel and strategies to manage demand.

Strategy T 202b: Transportation and Land Use

Provide mobility choices for City residents, visitors and businesses in support of the City's land use and development visions, objectives and policies.

Strategy T 202c: Incorporate Non-motorized Transportation Facilities

Incorporate non-motorized transportation facilities into the planning and construction of general transportation improvements, including road construction, bridge construction, subdivision development and new transit systems.

Strategy T 202d: Integrate Transit System

Integrate transit planning in land use planning, transportation system planning and prepare necessary transit plans, policies, guidelines and standards for incorporation in the Intermodal Transportation Plan. Develop a transit system that is an attractive and realistic alternative to driving.

Strategy T 202e: Provide Safe and Convenient Connections between Modes

Develop connections between transportation modes so people can easily move from mode to mode. Include connectivity features such as bicycle racks on buses, secure bicycle parking, and pedestrian walkways between transit stops and surrounding land uses.

Strategy T 202f: Ensure Accessibility to Existing and Proposed Trails, Trail Heads, and Trail Corridors

Develop review criteria to ensure that direct and convenient access is provided from developed areas to all existing and proposed public trails, including those on Forest Service lands.

Policy T 203: Travel Demand Management

Undertake efforts to reduce demand for travel, particularly single-occupant vehicular travel through Travel Demand Management. Reduce congestion generated by peak hour single-occupant commuting. Work cooperatively with employers to develop a transportation demand program that promotes and facilitates flexible hours and the use of transportation modes other than single-occupant vehicles.

Strategy T 203a: Utilize Travel Demand Management

Work cooperatively with citizens, employers and other agencies to reduce peak hour single-occupant commuting. Include strategies such as ridesharing, bicycle commuting, telecommuting, electronic communications, variable workweeks and flextime.

Strategy T 203b: Encourage the Use of Alternative Transportation Options

Promote pedestrian and bicycle transportation as modes of travel, not just recreational activities. Develop programs and infrastructure to encourage the use of high occupancy vehicles (HOVs), such as buses, vans and carpools. Support education programs to increase the public's awareness of the benefits of alternative transportation methods. Recognize and coordinate efforts locally, regionally and statewide to advance Transportation Demand Management strategies.

Strategy T 203c: Monitor Use of Alternative Modes

Monitor the use of alternative transportation options. Continue to refine policies and programs to support the use of such travel options.

Implementing Transportation Projects

Objective T 3: Transportation System Implementation

Implement the planned transportation system in a cost-effective manner, utilizing fair and efficient funding methods. Base maintenance and planned improvements to the transportation system upon revenues reasonably expected to be available.

Significant parts of the City's transportation system have yet to be built and available resources to address the increasing demands are limited. In order to maintain and improve the level of service of the transportation system, long-range planning will become increasingly important and new types of stable revenue sources will have to be identified.

Policy T 301: Prioritize Improvements

Utilize SCIP and the Strategic Network of Long-range Plans to identify and prioritize transportation improvements to balance long-term mobility needs with fiscal capacity.

Strategy T 301a: Transportation Improvements Plan

Use the planning process for transportation improvements to evaluate and prioritize capital needs and financing options.

Strategy T 301b: Protect Previous Transportation Investments

Protect previous investments and ensure efficient use of the road system by giving high priority to operational maintenance, safety improvements, and capacity improvements that are cost-effective projects (such as signalization upgrades, adding turn lanes, and signage) and increased level of service.