EDITORíS DESK: Another chance on Highway 24
We Westsiders will get the opportunity Thursday, Aug. 28 to see what the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been thinking about over the past two years since the last time its engineers and consultants sought public help in developing plans for a wider, theoretically more efficient and neighborhood-friendly Highway 24.
We do have some inkling, it's true. There have been committee meetings and presentations here and there, and last year, during open houses for the project's "greenway" element, road plans were always shown. By the way, for those who might be wondering (and we have tried to address this in news articles), the more radical of the greenway proposals appear to have hit the dust bin - no more drawings turning the Red Rock shopping center into a flood plain, or realigning Colorado/ Manitou Avenue and/or Fountain Creek, or moving the Manitou Springs ball field out of Manitou.
But getting back to road plans, I guess my point is, no matter how we may feel about the project (in my case, it's Aggh, too big! and Why didn't they get serious about a south frontage road between 8th and 21st streets?), we should continue to stay involved and do what we can. This new "aesthetics committee" seems like an opportunity to bring forward aspects that could make this project a little less of a concrete slab and a little more of something that's ours. It may prove frustrating. For example, the state gets to decide where noise might be an issue for a neighborhood; the committee is empowered to suggest sound-barrier designs. Can we vote to make CDOT get proactive about rubberized asphalt? Uh, sorry.
I'm concerned about apathy. It's understandable. Ever since we learned that much of the project won't occur for 20 years or more... Still, it's going to happen someday. Think of it this way: Your grandkids might thank you.