Editor’s note: The following letters regarding the Westside Highway 24 upgrade plans were excerpted with permission from the authors’
correspondence to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
Favors ‘no action’
I vote for no action because I believe an expressway or freeway will destroy the character of the Westside.
I bought a house in the Midland area because it is a nice quiet neighborhood and near Old Colorado City. I like the feel of Old Colorado City. To me it feels like a small town and I like the old homes and buildings in our area. I do not want to see any existing houses or businesses eliminated. I don't want to see high walls on either side of the highway either. I believe the flow of traffic can be improved through the few areas where there are bottlenecks without the drastic demolition that a freeway or expressway would cause.
On 21st Street northbound at Highway 24, many motorists want to make left turns and block access for people who want to go straight. Three lanes northbound from Bott to Highway 24 could alleviate that problem: one left, one straight, one right.
Please, leave the 26th Street intersection the way it is. The cross-traffic is light and does not really interfere with the flow of traffic on Highway 24, but 26th Street is the best entrance to Old Colorado City. There are businesses at that intersection that would be damaged if the intersection were blocked.
What is the point of a freeway or expressway that is only 6 ˝ miles long? There is no reason to make a freeway or expressway from the interstate to Manitou Springs. The highway from Manitou Springs to Woodland Park is only two lanes each way. I see no reason to change the 31st Street intersecton. You aren't making a freeway or expressway through Woodland Park, so why do it through Old Colorado City and Midland?
Don't destroy our neighborhood.
Overall, I believe the freeway option is best [for Highway 24] for the following reasons:
a. It is narrower than an expressway and therefore less disruptive to existing homes and neighborhoods.
b. It moves more vehicles through the Westside in less time at higher speed.
c. Because of b. (above), it reduces area air pollution.
d. Rising area pollution is approaching levels that threaten federal highway dollars for Colorado Springs.
e. Preparing for higher levels of traffic now means less reworking and disruption of the I-24 corridor in the future.
f. Building the I-24 corridor for higher levels of traffic now saves us from paying inflated prices later because of escalating highway construction costs.
g. I do not believe the objection raised by a group of Westsiders that the proposed CDOT plans for I-24 in general will cut off the North Westside from the South Westside. This already happened years ago when the highway was first built.
h. Building an elevated freeway most of the length from I-25 to Manitou, I understand, can be accomplished most cost effectively by building up earth under the roadway (rather than building roadway on columns). If this technique is utilized, then I think it would be reasonable to plan a number of pedestrian/bicycle tunnels through the moved earth at ground level to provide safe passage from north to south.
i. As far as affecting businesses in the Old Colorado City area, a lot of traffic is going to pass by the Old Colorado City area anyway and might as well be moved through faster, reducing pressure on the narrower Westside arteries. Only a certain number of vehicles can park in Old Colorado City at one time. Reducing traffic on Colorado Ave might actually increase the attractiveness and restful beauty of that part of town.