City councilor says he never asked for traffic study on Lead

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It was a nightmare for drivers. A traffic study on Lead was quickly taken down because of the mess it caused.

The city said it was the work of a city councilor, but Thursday, Councilor Isaac Benton said he had nothing to do with it. 

The mood among drivers was not good last Tuesday when the cones popped up on Lead just in time for the morning commute into downtown.

Within just three days, the study that was supposed to last two weeks was gone as quickly as it popped up. 

“We drive down the street everyday to go to lunch or to meeting and it was maybe a slight inconvenience,” said Ben Harrison, who works downtown.  

Friday, drivers had mixed feelings about it. 

“I’d heard that they were doing a study, and I just assumed, good,” said Josh Stuyvesant.  

KRQE News 13 was told last week by Municipal Development it was a traffic study to reduce the two westbound lanes to one, add parking and bike lanes. 

“This is just a test, and Councilor Benton is the one that wants to see if this is something that will work for that area,” said Johnny Chandler, Municipal Development spokesman. 

However, in an interview Thursday, Isaac Benton said he wasn’t behind that study. 

“I’m just making it clear that I did not ask for any cones to be put up on Lead,” said Benton.  

He said he requested cones be put up on Coal because the developer for the Zocalo Lofts wants more “on street parking.” He said the cones on Lead went up at the same time, and he was bombarded with phone calls. 

“They’re going, ‘what are you doing?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I’ll ask that it be stopped,'” said Benton.  

The city said while he didn’t request the cones on Lead, it went ahead and put them up anyway. It said the streets are dependent on each other, so both needed to be studied.

People KRQE News 13 spoke to say they would have supported some of the additions that the Lead project would have provided. 

“Making more parking spots, I think that’s something everyone can get behind,” said Stuyvesant.

The cones along Coal were removed Thursday. The director of Municipal Development said it’s now up to the city to decide what to do, but it’s all or nothing. If Coal is changed to one lane, they’ll have to do the same to Lead.

The study cost $18,000, and that money came from Isaac Benton’s set-aside funds.

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