EDITOR’S DESK: Help for Woodland’s commuters
So, who wants to go to Woodland Park Feb. 28? It sure is civic-minded of that community's leaders to buttonhole the Colorado Department of Transportation
(CDOT) into sending its engineers up there to describe their expansion plans for Westside Highway 24. This is a town whose mayor reportedly estimates half his
workforce commutes to Colorado Springs. Any bets on whether he and other Woodland Parkers would support the widening?
What's interesting is that CDOT plans to take comments from those folks the same as they do down here at Ground Zero. A comment's a comment, right? Maybe we should solicit input from Aspen, too. Or how about Limon?
Not that it really matters, evidently. All these comments we've been so earnestly leaving in the basket after open houses... Well, gosh, it now seems that public input is only one of 25 criteria the state considers when making its final decision. Hey, whatever happened to "Envision 24 West"? Remember, all you others who attended the early meetings, when every citizen idea was a good one? For months, we were told that a widening was not a certainty; the state wanted to hear our ideas first. Now it seems CDOT had data all along proving that widening was a foregone conclusion. Also, early on, I was encouraged to move forward with the Pioneer's editorial campaign for a pedestrian overpass at 25th Street (to tie the Midland area safely and pleasantly with Old Colorado City). But now we find that CDOT frowns on pedestrian overpasses as too expensive for the use they get.
As for the project as a whole, it is true that the Westside Plan proposes eventually grade-separating Highway 24's intersections. But it also says the state will first "improve the signals" (which hasn't happened in the 26 years since the plan was written). Maybe we should insist on it before any widening. It'll never get built then!