Westside Pioneer Home Page

As of Jan. 8, cars driving Ridge Road between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues (as seen here, looking north across Colorado) will be history. A pedestrian-styled plaza will be built there in 2018 with Westside Avenue Action Plan dollars.
Westside Pioneer photo

No more driving Ridge Road between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues

A Westside Avenue Action Plan graphic from two years ago provides a basic sense of the future look between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues at Ridge Road. The view is toward the northwest.
Courtesy of Westside Avenue Action Plan
Jan. 3, 2018
       With Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues scarcely 100 feet apart at Ridge Road - not to mention the height difference between them, or Ridge being offset on either side of Colorado - a city traffic engineer once called the layout an “odd duck.”
       That “duck” will cease to fly Monday, Jan. 8.
       As part of previously announced Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) project changes, the short-block segment of Ridge between Colorado and Pikes Peak “will be transformed into a transit and trail plaza with bus, pedestrian and bicycle services,” a press release states.
       Eventually, also as part of WAAP, the Colorado-Ridge intersection will become a T-intersection with a stoplight. Colorado Springs traffic planners have previously said that without the above-mentioned closure, there would not be room for a light.
       Regarding Ridge's access into the Garden of the Gods, the city thinking is that only locals (and maybe some commuters) go that way, or even know about it.
A project-supplied graphic shows how motorists can use 34th or 36th streets to access Ridge from either Colorado or Pikes Peak avenues, as of Jan. 8.
Courtesy of Westside Avenue Action Plan
Garden-bound tourists in that vicinity typically use Beckers Lane or Garden Drive, the city says.
       Breaking ground in December 2016, WAAP is a $30.9 million, multi-jurisdictional reconstruction of Colorado/Manitou Avenue west of 31st Street that's scheduled for completion in December 2018.
       The press release quotes Dennis Barron, project manager for El Paso County, that “the plaza will serve as a pedestrian, transit and bike connection point along the corridor and will improve the aesthetic of the area [as well as] overall traffic flow, with the addition of a bus lane for pickup and drop-off that will be coordinated with traffic signal phasing.”
       Also part of the space will be an “aesthetic wall between Pikes Peak and Colorado Avenues, street lighting, sidewalks, landscaping, bike racks, a bike-repair vending machine and a Mountain Metro queue jump,” the press release adds. A queue jump, it elaborates, is a pull-off lane for city buses that will allow “safe passenger loading, unloading and easy transition back into traffic with a new coordinated signal system.”
       Cutting off Ridge Road between Colorado and Pikes Peak was originally suggested by City Traffic Engineering in 2014, and developed in detail with the help of Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig, the planning consultant hired for WAAP. The concept did not trigger citizen opposition, either at a neighborhood meeting that year or (as details emerged) during the WAAP public process.
       To get around the closure, the county advises motorists to use 36th or 34th streets.

Westside Pioneer article
(Projects: Westside Avenue Action Plan)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)