City's $700K study to reveal 30th Street 'design alternatives' in MarchDec. 29, 2017
A $700,000 study for the City of Colorado Springs is looking at major upgrades to 30th Street - including where it crosses in front of the Garden of the Gods.
After starting last spring, “the project team is on track to have design alternatives ready by March 2018,” spokesperson Lisa Bachman said in December.
The lead consultant is Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig (FHU) - the same company the city used to design the $30 million Westside Avenue Action Plan project that is rebuilding Colorado Avenue west of 31st Street.
Public meetings for 30th Street have not yet been announced, but are expected to occur later in 2018, “during the preliminary design/alternatives analysis phase of the project,” as the city's project website states.
A construction timeline also has not been determined, although the project website anticipates work starting as early as 2019. The city has in hand a $1.5 million stipend from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) for the design and a $7.1 million state grant for construction.
However, with terrain issues, limited corridor space and evolving project priorities, it is too early to predict how far that money will go, explained Steve Murray, the lead planner for FHU. One possibility is limiting the target segment. Going into the study, the conceptual stretch was Fontanero to Garden of the Gods Road, but that could be reduced to Fontanero-Mesa Road, he noted.
Based on a lengthy interview with Murray and Robin Allen (the project manager for the city), the top project goals are:
- Giving 30th more of an “arrival” feel for people visiting the Garden of the Gods.
- Improving problem intersections for 30th such as at Water Street, Gateway Road and Mesa.
- Correcting erosion problems (there are no storm drains).
- Widening the roadway, not for additional lanes, but to create space for shoulders and bicycles.
- Stabilizing the hillside that the road cuts into - and deciding whether to install retaining walls into the slope and/or support structures on the roadway's downhill side.
- Making the corridor safer overall.
30th Street improvements have been in the city's sights for at least a decade. As discussed in a Westside Pioneer article in 2012 at this link, the estimated costs have increased over the years - $566,000 in 2008, $3 million in 2009 and then $8.25 million as a B-list item when the RTA's capital improvement sales tax was extended by voters in 2012.
Conceptual corridor distances varied in those project proposals. For example, the 2008 version was to be Fontanero-to-Mesa, while the B-list definition suggested the 30th Street work could go north all the way to Centennial Boulevard.
Regarding the progressively higher estimated costs over the years, city officials have asserted that the earlier proposals for 30th did not delve into the kind of minute detail that the current study does.
In earlier years, the city's impetus for corridor upgrades was to make room for bicycles; however, the $7.1 million state grant was awarded on the basis of 30th Street's importance as a connector for emergency vehicles, Murray explained.
Despite the concerns about a narrow roadway and antiquated intersections, 30th Street does not show exceedingly high numbers of accidents. In addition, its roughly 10,000 vehicles a day (as measured in 2012) do not exceed the roadway capacity, Murray said, although he believes those numbers have gone up since then.
Regarding funds, because 30th is on the B list and not all the A-list items are completed, the RTA board would have to decide whether to bump 30th up in priority if the city wishes to use its $8.25 million allotment in addition to the other funds.
The city's project website is coloradosprings.gov/30thstreet.
Westside Pioneer article