From Spencer Street, no path that leads to righteousness

Dear Johnnie: I have a question regarding the intersection of Spencer Street and Colo. Highway 66.

In July, Faith Community Lutheran Church, at 9775 Ute Highway, changed its entrance to line up with Spencer Street. Now, one can go straight across Highway 66 from Spencer Street to the church. However, the city has not changed the striping on Spencer Street. There are only two lanes striped — one with a right-turn arrow and one with a left-turn arrow.

Shouldn’t they now add a straight arrow to the right-turn lane? I was sitting there waiting

The entrance and exit for Faith Community Lutheran Church, across from Spencer Street, for Johnnie St. Vrain. Thursday Sept 15, 2011. (Lewis Geyer/Times-Call)

to go straight across, and the guy behind me kept honking at me, as it was clear for me to turn right. He didn’t know that the reason I had no turning light on was that I wasn’t planning to turn, but was waiting for both lanes of Highway 66 to clear to allow me to cross. With no straight arrow he assumed there was no option but to go right.

Thanks for checking on this. — Confused Church Member

Dear Confused: I think there was a communication glitch.

I asked city transportation engineer Bob Ball about this question.

“Unfortunately, we were not aware that the church was making this change until after this entrance was realigned,” he wrote to Johnnie.

I checked with Faith Community. Stacia — the very friendly and helpful administrative assistant who answered the phone — said that because the church is on the north side of the highway and not in city limits, the church worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation on the change. “Our understanding was the CDOT was supposed to inform the city,” she said.

She did note that the city put in the street lights along the realigned entrance, so at least one city department knew it was happening.

Regardless, both Bob and Stacia confirmed with me that the city is planning to change the markings at the north end of Spencer to align with the new church entrance.

So, Confused, it appears that the city provided a light unto your path, but it did not make your path straight.


Dear Johnnie: The accident between a motorcycle and Subaru recently at 17th and Harvard prompted me to drop you a note, and maybe you can help the community.

There is no crosswalk on 17th between Hover and Airport. This is a very long stretch on a major road in Longmont with no official crossing place.

I’ve called the city a few times over the years and have always been told there isn’t really a need.

With all of the pedestrian-activated crosswalks in other towns where there isn’t a true “intersection,” I don’t know why Longmont can’t do something.

Kids on both sides of 17th attend Westview. When they ride or walk to Westview for school, there is a crossing guard at 17th and Airport. However, a lot of kids from the north side of 17th have sports practices at Longmont Estates, Westview, Pratt Park, etc., and there is no crossing guard when they go to practice. This doesn’t include the folks who walk, or kids in the summer and on weekends who visit friends on the other side of the street.

On Hover, you can officially cross at 21st, 17th, 15th, Ninth and so on.

While there are police who nab speeders every day on 17th, there is nothing done to help folks cross the street.

Can you find out why there is no crosswalk at this major intersection? — JL

Dear JL: I believe that the answer to your question can, in part, be found in the question itself.

What’s the difference between Harvard Street, and 21st, 17th, 15th and Ninth avenues? Answer: There’s no traffic light at Harvard. In fact, there’s nothing to stop traffic on 17th from Hover Street all the way to Hygiene.

So, as city Bob Ball noted, “with traffic speeds along 17th Avenue and the turning traffic at Harvard Street, we do not believe we can mark a safe crosswalk at this intersection.”

Basically, traffic along 17th at Harvard is such that someone trying to cross, even on a marked crosswalk, would be endangered. So, the city has not placed a crosswalk there.

Granted, someone crossing 17th at Airport Road faces the same dangers, but having a crossing guard helps. Placing the crosswalk and crossing guard at that intersection allows all students who live north of 17th to follow the shortest path to the school.

A traffic light would help the situation at Harvard and 17th, but Ball stated that “this intersection does not meet warrants for installation of a traffic signal at this time.”

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  4. Notwithstanding, one can go straight crosswise over Highway 66 from Spencer Street to the mass. On the other hand, the city has not altered the striping on Spencer Street. There are just two paths striped —unified with a right-turn bolt and unified with a left-turn arrow.

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