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T-intersection proposal for Colorado-
Ridge redesign; meeting Aug. 12

       City Traffic Engineering has set a neighborhood meeting Tuesday, Aug. 12 on a proposed, major realignment of the current Colorado Avenue/Ridge Road intersection.
       The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. at Howbert Elementary, 1023 N. 31st St., and continue until 6:30 or 7, according to Tim Roberts, a transportation planner with the city.
An edited map blow-up shows the current Colorado Avenue/Ridge Road intersection. The red arrow points to the segment of Ridge that the city is thinking about eliminating. The map also shows two of the problems that have been identified in plans to upgrade the Colorado/Ridge intersection. One is the short distance between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues and the other is the misalignment of Ridge on the north and south sides of Colorado Avenue. The blow-up is taken from a larger map graphic that was presented at the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) public meeting in April.
WAAP graphic, edited by Westside Pioneer
       Going into the meeting, the city is considering taking out the roadway - other than a bicycle/pedestrian path - between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues. This would make Ridge into a T-intersection at both streets. Ridge would otherwise remain unchanged south of Colorado Avenue (continuing south across Fountain Creek, Highway 24 and into the area that includes Red Rock Canyon Open Space) and north of Pikes Peak Avenue (continuing north up the hill, past some houses and into the Garden of the Gods).
       Public input is encouraged. “We want people to understand that we'd like to get feedback on whether to pursue this or not,” Roberts said.
       The Colorado/Ridge intersection is due to be rebuilt in 2015-16 as part of a $16 million project, mostly funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA), along Colorado west of 31st Street and into Manitou Springs. A separate study, the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP), is focusing on a design for that roughly 1 ˝-mile segment, but Roberts said the city wants to hear from the neighbors before WAAP begins designing a T-intersection plan.
       The Colorado/Ridge problem, as City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager explained at the last WAAP public meeting in April, is that the current layout does not meet modern design standards. Colorado and Pikes Peak are scarcely 100 feet apart at that intersection, which would complicate matters if a stoplight was installed at Colorado (as the WAAP study has suggested). Other issues are Ridge's uphill grade between Colorado and Pikes Peak and its lack of alignment with Ridge on the south side of Colorado Avenue.
       When Krager first suggested the T-intersection idea during the April meeting, “people's off-the-cuff reaction was no,” Roberts said; however, city officials would like the chance to present the idea in more detail.
       The city concedes one T-intersection side effect: Motorists would no longer be able to turn off Colorado Avenue onto Ridge to get into the Garden of the Gods. Ridge is now one of four roads into the city park (the others are Garden Drive, Beckers Lane and Gateway Road). However, it's the least used of the four, goes up a steep hill and is narrower than the city would like for such an access. “It's not that it's unsafe, but it's more of a neighborhood-type street, not meant for heavy use,” Roberts said.
       For more information, e-mail Roberts at troberts@springsgov.com.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/6/14; Projects: No Man's Land)

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