Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Side Streets: Goodbye, Gold Camp Speedway near I-25

By Bill Vogrin Updated: October 4, 2013 at 10:23 am

So you are thinking about buying a nice, shiny sports car and you want to see what it can do. But you'll be driving with one foot on the brake if you take it for a test drive on Interstate 25.

Where do you go for some open pavement and few police?

Chuck Burgess and Rita Ague say many high-octane test drivers are flooding their neighborhood, on Lower Gold Camp Road between 21st and 26th streets. And the neighbors are fed up.

Burgess said he routinely sees shiny blurs with new car stickers in the window roar past his house, fly around the corner at 26th in a dangerous doughnut maneuver and go racing back down toward nearby Motor City Drive.

"I saw a Porsche go by here in excess of 100 mph," Burgess said. "Nobody goes 35 mph on this road. This is the most abused road in the city for speeders. It's the Indy 500."

Ague agrees that motorists seem to drive overly aggressive and fast in the neighborhood.

"They ignore the stop signs," she said. "They swing around the corner going like bats out of hell.

"These crazy ones drive like nuts up here."

The hemipowered insanity is not what Burgess expected when he bought his home 11 years ago.

"We bought the home for the seclusion, privacy and views," he said. "We never anticipated this."

Burgess said he worries someone is going to get hurt because the fuel-injected maniacs are hogging a road used heavily by bicyclists, motorcycles and pedestrians from the Village at Skyway, which spreads out along the north side of Lower Gold Camp.

"We get the crotch rocket motorcycles too," he said. "They think it's a racetrack."

Burgess said he's witnessed some near-misses and watched in horror as cars drag race up the two-lane road without a thought to possible oncoming traffic.

"Someone's going to get killed up here," he predicted.

He's even tried calling and complaining to some of the dealerships that seem to send the most test drivers through the neighborhood.

"They told me they'd reprimand their sales guys," Burgess said. "But nothing changes."

There's also a fair amount of short-cutters trying to reach U.S. 24 and bypass the traffic on 21st Street. That accounts for the rush-hour traffic each day, he said.

Burgess called me for help.

I quickly called Cmdr. Pat Rigdon of the Colorado Springs Police Department. He oversees the Gold Hill division, which includes Lower Gold Camp.

As I expected, Rigdon was quick to offer to intervene.

"I can see people wanting to see what these cars can do, but there is no place in city limits to do that safely," Rigdon said. "We'll try to do a couple things to monitor the speeds out there and see if we can't get some patrols out there."

Rigdon said he'd likely send an officer to study the speeds during key hours reported by neighbors and perhaps try to deploy a radar-equipped SMART trailer, which flashes the speeds of passing cars, on Lower Gold Camp to raise awareness of motorists.

He cautioned there is a huge backlog of requests for the trailers. Same for neighborhoods seeking speed patrols. So relief may not be immediate.

In fact, shortly after we hung up, Rigdon called Burgess and together they developed a plan for shutting down the Lower Gold Camp Speedway.

So, consider this fair warning to all you NASCAR wannabes.

The racetrack is closed. Your next joyride in a muscle car may take a very expensive pit stop.

-

Read my blog updates at blogs.gazette.com/sidestreets.

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