Traffic Law Changes, Road Repairs and City Events Steal The Council Thunder

~ by Trevor Phipps ~ 

Last week’s Cripple Creek council meeting started off on a sad note when the deaths of two prominent members of the community were publicly announced.

Council members mourned the deaths of community members Louis Garcia and the mother of Police Chief Mike Rulo. The remainder of the session was much more upbeat, with reports of progress for certain key projects and forthcoming events.  

 City Administrator Ray DuBois announced upcoming events at the Butte Theater, including the showing of movies “Frozen” and “Ice Age” during the city’s Ice Fest event, which started last weekend. He then announced that the council meetings would now include a report by a different department head. The purpose of these presentations is to keep city council and the public informed regarding current and future projects.


 Pending Public Works Projects


Steve DiCamillo, The head of the city’s Public Works Department, gave an update on the progress of projects they have been working on, and the schedule of future plans. Dicamillo started off by reminding the crowd about their citywide cleanup days that come just before Memorial Weekend.


Currently the public works crew is working on wrapping up the final parts of the sewer cleaning and crack sealing projects. Their other focus areas recently have been curb and gutter repair, elimination of trip hazards, and some sidewalk repair in certain parts of town.


The department is also working on getting an area on Galena St. in town surveyed for sidewalks. The next major improvement public works has in store will add sidewalks to parts of Galena to improve pedestrian safety. They are also working on collecting bids for chip sealing work to be done on Golden and Elizabeth Streets.


Towards the end of his presentation, DiCamillo was asked if public works had any plans on repairing a large dip in the road at the intersection of 3rd and Meyers. DiCamillo explained that there was currently no plans to start any repair work at that spot, but he agreed that the dip was a problem. He told the council that he would look into affordable ways to fix this problem.


Adoption Of New Traffic Code


Cripple Creek Police Chief Mike Rulo was asked to address the issue of traffic violations. Periodically the state of Colorado enacts model traffic codes to give local municipalities in the state a guideline of how the rules should be regulated. Cripple Creek has been using the 2003 Model Traffic Code to structure their enforcement policies.  


The 2003 code is out of date and the city clerk decided it was time to ask council to pass an ordinance that lets the city adopt the newer 2010 traffic code. The newer code has a number of changes, but most of them are minor. According to Rulo, the way the police enforces traffic laws will not change much.


However, under the new code, the city can now enforce higher fines for traffic violations that occur in construction and school zones. The new code also states that if a property owner puts up a handicap sign on a parking space, then they are giving the police the right to ticket anyone on their property that parks in the spot without having up-to-date handicap registration. By installing the sign, the property owner gives up their right to object to police enforcing the handicap parking law on their property.


Also written in the code is a guideline to allow local police to issue penalty assessments, instead of a summons. A penalty assessment is when the city gives the traffic law violator a choice to go to court and face a certain fine and number of points on their license ,or to pay, via mail, a lower fine and get a lower number of points against their driver’s license. This is a practice that many larger cities such as Colorado Springs and Fort Collins have done for quite some time.


Currently, anyone who receives a ticket for a traffic violation in Cripple Creek will receive a summons, and can’t pursue this latter option done in larger municipalities. But this policy could change with the new code. However, it would require council approval.  

 Also, it was announced last week that the council would hear an update by Butte Theater Manager Mel Moser regarding the theater’s schedule for 2018 at their next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 22. A new company has been hired to do shows at the Butte.