Last gates being installed on Garden roadways; allows city to control access
Construction started Aug. 8 on the last five of nine total gates on the roads in the Garden of the Gods.
The impact, by late August or early September, will be that traffic can be cleared from the city park at night and kept out until the morning.
A private security company will handle the clearing efforts under a contract with Colorado Springs Parks, according to Kurt Schroeder, the department's maintenance and operations manager. A similar night-time clearing process has been used for several years at Palmer Park, he pointed out.
"We strongly believe the installation and implementation of this gate system will benefit the long-term health and safety of Garden of the Gods Park, the most visited and one of the most beloved parks in our city," Schroeder said. "These gates will also give our maintenance crews more flexibility in clearing the roadways following heavy snow activity and allow for closures during special events and emergency situations where evacuation would be deemed necessary."
He has also described continuing problems of criminal activity in the park late at night, including speeding cars and gunfire.
The Garden has free access and is open daily. The closure times will be from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. (May 1 to Oct. 31) and 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. (Nov. 1 to April 30).
The only other times the gates will be used is "during permitted special events and emergency
Parks crews installed the first four gates last fall. Three of them went in at park entrances - Ridge Road (from Pikes Peak Avenue), Beckers Lane (from Manitou Avenue) and Garden Drive (from El Paso Boulevard). Another was placed on Garden Lane near the Garden of the Gods Trading Post.
The fourth Garden entrance, the one that gets the most traffic, is Gateway Road west of 30th Street. Its gate installation had been delayed because of a separate 30th Street study that includes plans for a roundabout at Gateway and 30th and until this year those plans were still conceptual.
With the roundabout scope now becoming more defined, Schroeder said he is "pretty comfortable" with siting the Gateway Road gate just west of the access to the Rock Ledge Ranch/Garden shuttle parking lot off Gateway, at a point that is more than 100 feet west of 30th. That location will also allow time flexibility with the parking-lot access, he noted.
The other four new gates will be within the park interior. Having gates inside is required to handle the Garden's fairly complex roadway arrangement. "We have two one-way loops connected by a two way street, plus we've got four entrances," Schroeder summarized.
Added Vanessa Zink of City Communications, "the extra gates are needed for security and to sweep the park for cars at night so they don't get stuck in there."
In addition to Gateway Road west of 30th, here are the other new gate locations:
- Ridge Road, at Juniper Way Loop.
- Garden Drive at Juniper Way Loop.
- Garden Drive at Garden Lane.
- Gateway Road at Juniper Way Loop.
The Garden of the Gods Foundation, which owns the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, gave City Parks a $50,000 grant for the gates. The foundation raises funds for park improvements, drawing from donations and the center's retail sales.
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