Long-neglected stretch gets attention at meeting

BOB STEPHENS Updated: January 13, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: January 13, 2013

Mary Gallivan enjoyed visiting Old Colorado City and its surrounding area even when she lived west of Chicago.

Now that Gallivan lives just west of Old Colorado City, she’s working to improve the neighborhood.

“When we visited Colorado Springs, we’d always go to the west side,” Gallivan said. “It’s such a wonderful part of town. Now that I live here, I’m concerned about this area and how it looks for people here and those who might be visiting.”

Plans are being made to improve the long-neglected 1.5-mile corridor along West Colorado Avenue from 31st Street to Highway 24.

The public is invited to a 4 p.m. Thursday meeting at the Westside Community Center to discuss renovations, including the number of lanes West Colorado Avenue should have in that corridor. Three-, four- and five-lane designs are being considered.

Other issues addressed by the Westside Avenue Action Plan include bike lanes, traffic flow, drainage, utilities, curbs and gutters, safety improvements and bus stops.

“Good progress is being made,” said Manitou Springs Mayor Marc Snyder. “We’re in the first phase, getting a lot of public input about what they want.”

The Manitou Springs City Council discussed the issue at its Tuesday meeting, Snyder said.
The road has deteriorated in recent years due to neglect, El Paso County engineer Andrè Brackin said previously, partly due to its multijurisdictional ownership. The land alongside the road has parts belonging to unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, but maintaining thhe road is the responsibility of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The road averages about 23,000 daily vehicle trips and provides access to about 75 businesses.

Former Gazette employee Cary Vogrin, owner of the Papa Murphy’s pizza store near 31st and West Colorado Avenue, is excited about coming changes.

“A road configuration may not sound sexy, but it brings opportunities for further revitalization of the area —attracting more businesses, for example,” Vogrin said. “This isn’t just about the Westside, though. All of Colorado Springs needs this to happen.

“This is the road used by thousands of tourists each year as they travel between Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. A robust and thriving tourist district makes for a stronger city all around.”

Money for the project will come from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, a voter-approved tax for transportation improvements.


Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens
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