Changes, impacts at Garden of the Gods with shuttle, gates, trails, restrooms
Between shuttle buses, gates, realignment of two trails and planning the construction of two restrooms, the Garden of the Gods is having a busy year.
Here are recent updates on these topics:
In conjunction with the shuttle, which was free to riders, the city designated a temporary parking area at the north end of the Rock Ledge Ranch lot. City statistics show that during the summer the shuttle lot “parked nearly 27,000 vehicles and averaged more than 600 cars on Saturdays alone.”
The shuttle experiment was part of a Parks Department quest to reduce vehicular traffic in the increasingly popular city park (an estimated 5.8 million visitors a year).
However, despite a departmental belief that the shuttle was effective, no decisions have been made about offering the service again during 2019's tourist season. The
There is also a funding question. This year the bill was split between the Garden of the Gods Foundation and City Parks.
As part of its car-reduction brainstorming, the department sponsored its second “Motorless Morning” of the year Sunday, Oct. 7, in which motorized vehicles were disallowed in the Garden from 7 a.m. to noon. The motorized ban, which simultaneously encouraged alternative transportation, drew a “positive response” from the public, King said, “and we hope to be able to hold a similar event in the spring.”
The purpose is to prevent vehicles from accessing the park after hours.
The initial feedback was favorable, according to Park Operations Administrator Scott Abbott, with no complaints and “actually a few compliments.”
The Securitas company has been contracted for $48,000 a year to handle the closure work. City employees open the park back up in the morning, Abbott explained.
According to previously provided information, the city decided on overnight closures to reduce the chances of criminal activity in the major city park and to
The Foothills Trail, a north-south link through the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site parking lot that parallels 30th Street, is being routed around that lot, as well as the new shuttle parking area, thus “eliminating conflict” with motorized vehicles, said David Deitemeyer, a City Parks planner who's assigned to lead many of the department's projects.
The affected trail segment will be just under half a mile in length, from Chambers Drive to Gateway Road.
Included in the Gateway Trail element will be the installation of a wider bridge, with a steel frame and a concrete deck instead of the current unit made of wood, for the trail's new crossing over Camp Creek, he said.
The project contractor is Langston Concrete, from Canon City. Work is expected to last at least until Thanksgiving.
With the needed $1.85 million in funding now obtained, City Parks is creating construction drawings for two of four restrooms that have been planned, according to Deitemeyer.
One will be a rebuild and expansion of the North Main unit and the other will be a new facility at Parking Lot 7 (on Juniper Way Loop, just southeast of Garden Drive), plans show.
The goal is to put the drawings out in November for contractors to bid on, with the anticipation of work to start in January and finish before Memorial Day, Deitemeyer said.
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