Van Briggle resists city on median

       When the new Advance Auto Parts store went in this spring, Colorado Springs traffic engineers expected to use that opportunity to install the first raised median on South 21st Street.
       The work was safety-geared: As part of a long-term plan for 21st Street (see story above), the median would guide left turns into the Advance Auto and 7-Eleven parking lots and prevent lefts out of the lots and across the four lanes that 21st Street has between Bott Avenue and the highway.
       To ensure the work would be done, the city required Advance Auto to post a bond to ensure the work could be done before the store opened.
       But the city's plans hit a snag. Advance Auto has opened without the median; for now, the city has put up temporary yellow delineators where the median was to go.
       The snag is that Van Briggle Art Pottery and the Ghost Town tourist attraction oppose the median. The only access for both businesses is from 21st Street.
       “Our position is that any median that restricts access to our driveway has a potential impact on our businesses,” said Van Briggle Vice President Craig Stevenson.
       Working in the two businesses' favor is the city's evident acceptance of plat information that Van Briggle actually owns 21st Street in front of its property. This information emerged after the city, using a survey based on a different plat, started finalizing plans to build the median. The work was to have included taking some of the Van Briggle property to expand the right of way.
       Van Briggle contacted city officials and got the work stopped, at least for the time being.
       “The survey was wrong,” Tim Roberts, senior transportation planner for the city, told the Westside Pioneer. He added that the city is trying to work with Van Briggle “to obtain the additional right of way.”
       Stevenson said he hopes a reasonable agreement can be negotiated with the city. “The traffic issues are undeniable, but we have to find a way to resolve issues we didn't bring on ourselves,” he said.
       A median would not let northbound drivers on 21st Street turn in to the shared Van Briggle/Ghost Town parking lot. Ghost Town is just west of Van Briggle, with both between Highway 24 and Bott Avenue. An unofficial recent study by Ghost Town showed that nearly half of the people accessing the lot come from northbound 21st Street, Stevenson said.
       A median would also prevent people from turning left from the Van Briggle driveway to get back onto northbound 21st Street.
       The city is suggesting that a parking lot entrance be put on Bott. But there are cost factors involved in designing and building a driveway there because of the downhill grade from that street to the lot, Stevenson said. He also is concerned about absorbing the expense of installing curb and gutter along 21st Street and Bott Avenue, which the city would require in connection with its widening.
       For the record, local land specialist Tom Kay, who worked on the Advance Auto plan, insists that the original survey was based on correct information. He represents HCL, owner of the Advance Auto property. He said he never had seen the Van Briggle plat until just before the median work was going to start.
       Anderson said this was because Van Briggle had not been notified about the city's plans. Kay, however, claims that HCL had followed required procedures, including posting the property and notifying neighboring land owners.

Westside Pioneer article