OCC Security Board to get streetlight contract from Utilities for Sept. 7 meeting

       Colorado Springs Utilities' Aug. 31 deadline for a contract to install historic-style, replacement streetlights will not be met, but evidently that won't be a problem.
       The current plan is for Utilities to write up the contract in time for approval at the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District's monthly board meeting Tuesday, Sept. 7, according to Ric Geiman, City of Colorado Springs liaison to the board.
       No major snags are expected, he said. Following an informal agreement between the board and Utilities, Colorado Springs City Council approved the financial aspects of the plan this month - by which the district pays (up front) $97,000 of Utilities' $127,000 cost in replacing or newly installing 41 city streetlights in the historic district between 24th and 27th streets.
       Utilities officials had told the district in July that the deal would be off if no contract was in place by Aug. 31. However, Geiman told the Westside Pioneer this week that he has recently talked to Andy Funchess, a Utilities accounts manager, who indicated that with plans so far along, “those few days aren't critical.”
       The lights are to be installed by Utilities within 10 weeks after the contract is signed, according to a letter from Utilities Systems Extension Manager Brent Schubloom. This means that even with a Sept. 7 signing, the lights would be in before Christmas - which has been the board's stated goal.
       Colorado Avenue traffic safety issues
       Concerns about safety on Colorado Avenue were expressed at the August 3 meeting of the Security & Maintenance Board and are scheduled to be taken up again at the Sept. 7 meeting of the board.
       Geiman said he hopes to bring a City Traffic engineer to the meeting to talk to the board about safety issues.
       Nancy Stovall, president of the Old Colorado City Associates merchants group, commented that she has seen several “near accidents” at 24th Street and Colorado Avenue, suggesting the possible need for a stoplight there. Board member Mary Purinsh said she thought a pedestrian light - such as the one a block west at Colbrunn Court - might be another solution.
       There also was board discussion Aug. 3 about the 24th-to-27th Street segment of Colorado Avenue changing to a configuration like Manitou Springs has now - in which the pavement narrows from four lanes to two, resulting in slower traffic and easier parking.
       “The traffic goes by so fast,” Stovall said. “And there are more trucks now. Anything we can do to slow traffic down and get it over to Highway 24 would be good.”
       Contacted about these points, Jim Hanson, a city traffic engineer who handles many Westside issues, told the Westside Pioneer the City of Colorado Springs has no plans for major improvements in Old Colorado City at this time.
       He said there has been no recent study of 24th/ Colorado, and that although the year 2003's traffic volumes in that area were “a bit high,” they were “borderline high” - not enough by themselves to trigger city action on a light.
       If people in Old Town want a light at that location, he said, they would need to make a request to the city's Traffic Engineering Divi-sion, which would then “start looking at collision history, volume of traffic, how it flows relative to other signals in the corridor, the impact on schools and a lot of different factors,” Hanson said.
       The 24th/Colorado intersection has been noticeably more busy on summer Saturdays in the past couple of years, when the popular Farmers' Market on 24th has often been joined by craft fairs in neighboring Bancroft Park.
       Regarding a lane-narrowing, Hanson said that strategy “can be good in a place like Old Colorado City, where they want people to go slow. It's not a bad idea to take a look at.”

Westside Pioneer Article