CDOT gets earful
Citizen comments mostly lukewarm on Hwy 24 design options at recent meeting

       Recently tabulated public written comments from the May 10 Colorado Department of Trans-portation (CDOT) open house indicate better than 65 percent support for just 2 of the 20 design options that were presented.
       The two options garnering such support were:
  • Option 2 (“Safety Improvements”) at the Manitou interchange, which proposes only non-expansion upgrades. Out of 42 responses: 34 yes, 3 maybe and 5 no.
  • Option 9 ( stoplights instead of interchanges at 31st & 26th streets). An earlier CDOT plan for a no-access overpass at 26th Street had been opposed by Old Colorado City merchants. Out of 52 responses: 35 yes, 7 maybe and 10 no.
           NOTE: Since comments were not necessarily presented as yes or no, the Pioneer made a best-judgment effort to determine the commenter's intent as yes, maybe or no.
           On the opposite side were the following options that the public clearly opposed at the open house:
  • Option 14, which would relocate the 21st Street interchange north of its current location. Out of 32 responses: 1 yes, 31 no.
  • Option 15 which would move it south: Out of 27 responses: 3 yes, 1 maybe and 23 no.
  • Option 4, which would eliminate the Manitou interchange's westbound on-ramp, and eastbound off-ramp. Out of 27 responses: 3 yes, 3 maybe, 21 no.
           Attended by 236 people (according to the CDOT sign-in list), the open house was CDOT's eighth public gathering on the Westside since fall 2004, when the state agency started a $7 million planning study for upgrading the highway segment between Manitou and I-25. Plans generally call for a widening to at least six lanes through the study area, with intersections that are drastically widened or, where there are interchanges, much higher.
           Another six options gained 50 percent approval or better in the written comments May 10.
           The comment data was provided to the Pioneer by CDOT consultant Kyle Blakely.
           Comment breakouts for all the options from May 10 - except the 30th Street option, which has been eliminated - are provided below along with a detailed description of each configuration and the changes CDOT has made, if any, since May 10.
          
           Option 1 (Manitou 2-Loop Partial Clover): Replaces tight eastbound off/on ramps with a large loop off-ramp and long acceleration lane that takes up more space.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Would eliminate Sinclair station.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Better - allows higher speed east bound exit to Colo Ave.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Bad - takes out Sinclair which is excellent revenue for MS.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 31 responses, 19 yes, 1 maybe, 11 no.
          
           Option 2 ( Manitou Safety Improvements): [no major alignment changes]
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: None.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Probably the best - this is not a busy intersection.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Westbound on ramp and access lane too short.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 42 responses: 34 yes, 3 maybe, 5 no.
          
           Option 3 ( Manitou Partial Clover / Hook Ramp): Eliminates current westbound off/on ramps; creates new alignment east of interchange between highway and Manitou Avenue. Includes expanded eastbound on/off-ramp loop as described in Option 1.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Elimination or loss of land for numerous businesses along Manitou/ Colorado Avenue between interchange and Ridge Road. Elimination of Sinclair.
           MANITOU/COLORADO AVENUE IMPACTS: Widening of road in impact area.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Easy access to Manitou & Hwy 24.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Bad - unnecessary for amount of traffic & great impact on local businesses.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 29 responses: 7 yes, 5 maybe, 17 no.
           Option 4 (Manitou Half Access): Eliminates westbound on-ramp and eastbound off-ramp.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: None.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Adequate for needs of community & little impact.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Access needed going and coming for tourists and residents.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 27 responses: 3 yes, 3 maybe, 21 no.
          
           Option 5 (Manitou Three Quarter Access): Eliminates eastbound exit. BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: None.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “This has least impact and has best results - our favorite.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Very bad because eastbound 24 traffic has no access to Manitou Avenue.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 27 responses: 5 yes, 3 maybe, 19 no.
          
           Option 6 (Ridge Road Overpass): No on-ramps/ off-ramps.
           RIDGE ROAD IMPACTS: Widening with median to Pikes Peak Avenue (no indication if a light should go at Colorado). Upgrades/ widening around curve past Red Rock Canyon Open Space to where road becomes High Street.
           COLORADO AVENUE IMPACTS: Widening to allow accel/decel lanes in addition to existing 2 through lanes each way a few hundred feet to the west and east of the Ridge intersection.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Elmination of property or loss of land on part of Colorado Avenue to be widened and on Ridge Road north to Pikes Peak Avenue.
           NOTE: This option was not among those CDOT included in the packet for City Council July 11.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Best - lets traffic continue to flow.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Lack of direct access to Ridge Rd from 24 make this a poor choice.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 46 responses: 14 yes, 5 maybe, 27 no.
          
           Option 7 (Ridge Road Signalized Intersection): Stoplight with full-access intersection.
           RIDGE ROAD IMPACTS: widening with median north to Colorado Avenue. Same as Option 6 south of highway. No indication if a light should go at Colorado.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Slight impact on a business' parking/access on southwest corner.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Light will stop traffic that goes too fast downhill.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Unnecessary stop light - hampers traffic flow.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 45 responses: 26 yes, 1 maybe.
          
           Option 20 (Ridge Road Interchange): Full-access overpass with long on-ramps/off-ramps. Wider footprint than previous options because of ramps.
           RIDGE ROAD IMPACTS: Same as Option 6.
           COLORADO AVENUE IMPACTS: Same as Option 6.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Same as Option 6, plus apparent encroachment to homes south of highway and west of Ridge Road and businesses north of highway west of Ridge Road. NOTE: Apparent encroachment on Fountain Creek.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “I like the acess to Hwy 24. Makes sense because of Red Rocks Park.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “I don't agree with affecting the surrounding business & homeowners.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 40 responses: 21 yes, 3 maybe, 16 no.
          
           Option 9 (31st & 26th Streets Signalized Inters-ection): Stoplights at both 26th and 31st.
           31st STREET IMPACTS: Double right turn for westbound from southbound 31st; two through lanes north to Colorado Avenue; 31st Street to have median south to Ore Mill Road; right-in/right-outs at Vermijo Avenue and entrance to Vermijo Park playground parking area.
           26th STREET IMPACTS: Medians north to alley between Cucharras and Vermijo and south to Robinson Street; right-in/right-outs at St. Anthony Street and entrance to Checker's.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Apparent encroachment on homes on east side of 26th Street north to Vermijo Street.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Least restrictive - eliminates existing structures, allows safety for existing road.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Don't like the light, needs an overpass on 31st & 26th with easy on and off.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 52 responses: 35 yes, 7 maybe, 10 no.
          
           Option 10 ( 21st Street Signalized Intersection): Eight through lanes, 3 left turn lanes on 24.
           21st STREET IMPACTS: Widening to 4 lanes (combined) on 21st north to Colorado Avenue (including a median-divided road to Cucharras Street) and to 6 lanes with a median on 21st south past Bott Avenue. Note: Separate city plans call for median to continue south to Lower Gold Camp Road.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Elimination or loss of land from homes north of highway east of 21st Street, Angler's Covey, Perkins Motor Company, Advance Auto, the park with the Prospector statue, some Naegele businesses and businesses on east side of 21st south of highway.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Most favorable - less impact on existing homes/businesses.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Do not prefer signals on expressways.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 39 responses: 22 yes, 1 maybe, 16 no.
          
           Option 11 (21st Street Diamond with Loop); Interchange; wider than Option 11 because of acceleration/deceleration lanes for westbound traffic. To preserve the Van Briggle building, eastbound traffic getting off at 21st must take a right turn east of the intersection and loop back to a new intersection south of 24 on 21st Street that may line up with Bott Avenue.
           21st STREET IMPACTS: Same as in Option 10.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Because of wider roadway (caused by westbound accel/decel lanes and the 18th Street interchange), there would be more property impacted on north side of highway than in Option 10. Otherwise, same as described in Option 10.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Realistic plan to move future traffic.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Off ramp doesn't make sense for neighborhood.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 29 responses: 11 yes, 3 maybe, 15 no.
          
           Option 12 (21st Street Split Diamond with 18th): Creates interchanges at both 21st and 18th; relieves some of 21st traffic by allowing links from Gold Hill Mesa to 18th. Accel/decel lanes for both east and west traffic.
           OPTION UPDATE: A newer Option 22 also uses an interchange at 18th, but does not go north of the highway.
           21st STREET IMPACTS: Same as in Option 10.
           BUSINESS/HOME IMPACTS: Because of wider roadway than Option 11 (caused by accel/decel lanes in both directions and the 18th Street interchange), there would be more properties impacted on north side of highway than in previous options for this intersection. Other impacts as described in Option 10.
           SAMPLE “YES” COMMENT: “Like split intersection idea, divert some traffic from 21st.”
           SAMPLE “NO” COMMENT: “Extremely excessive - extra bridges will be costly.”
           COMMENT TALLY: 32 responses: 10 yes, 4 maybe, 18 no.

    Westside Pioneer/press release

    Editor's note: Due to space constraints, this design option analysis will be completed in the July 20 issue of the Pioneer. To see the options on the web, go to us24west.com, then click the link for “Exhibits from the Open House, Wednesday, May 10.”