October 1, 2010
Be glad you don’t live on Parker Street near its intersection with Fillmore Street.
About 30 or so homeowners on Parker are staring down the barrel of a construction project that threatens to bring turmoil to their Mesa Springs neighborhood.
Colorado Springs traffic engineers are in the final stages of picking a design for rebuilding the nasty intersection of Fillmore, Chestnut Street and the exit/entrance ramps onto Interstate 25. The solution has Parker, a block west, in the crosshairs.
In fact, planners want your help. They’ve posted a survey online (I posted a link on my blog) to solicit input from folks who live in the area or suffer as commuters. If you’ve ever driven the asphalt spider’s web, you know what I’m talking about.
It’s one of those places were city streets were built too close to I-25. The result is a confusing and dangerous mess.
Motorists often sit through traffic lights, or try to enter the intersection when it’s not their turn, because so many signals point in the same directions.
“It’s just a headache,” said Carol Gravenstein, a longtime Mesa Springs resident. “You never know when it’s your turn to go.”
(See photos and maps on my blog.)
Everyone agrees the intersection is a disaster. But that’s where the agreement ends.
“None of the plans really are very good,” Carol said. “They don’t have the money to do what really needs to be done.”
Engineers want to simplify the intersection by removing Chestnut from the equation. But it is the only route north for students who live in Mesa Springs, south of Fillmore, and attend Jackson Elementary School in Holland Park neighborhood.
Also, an American Furniture Warehouse store on Chestnut, south of Fillmore, relies on access to I-25.
That’s where Parker comes into play. Months of study and small neighborhood meetings narrowed seven alternative approaches to three, said Tim Roberts, a senior city transportation planner.
The preferred solution calls for burying Chestnut under a new bridge on Fillmore and creating a bypass using Parker.
“It seems to be the best solution,” Roberts said. “It would keep Chestnut open and provide the most benefit to everyone. But it’s also the most expensive. And we don’t have the money.”
Unless the state agrees to help fund it, the city may simply close Chestnut at Fillmore. That plan still requires a Parker bypass.
But a bypass requires buying at least three homes to punch west from Chestnut and north on Parker.
In addition, Parker would be turned into a dead-end south of the bypass.
“My big prayer is that they take my home so I can get the heck out,” said Ruth Wagner, an 11-year Parker resident who would be the last house on the cul de sac, next to the bypass. “Please get me out of here.”
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