Roads connect us, but they also have a knack for stirring up controversy at planning commission meetings. Increased housing development equals new roads and more traffic in Monument. Commissioner Michelle Glover said better roads and sidewalks need to be built to protect students who will walk along these busy roadways.
A heated discussion arose at the Nov. 14 planning commission meeting amid concerns that a new housing development north of Leather Chaps Drive and east of Jackson Creek Parkway will send traffic pouring through the nearby Remington Hill community.
Just north of this proposed housing development is the Lewis-Palmer High School. As new homes are built, Glover said a roadway will need to be extended from Leather Chaps Drive north to Higby Road. This future road will become a major source of student traffic, she said.
She stressed the importance of making sure students who walk to school can use this future road safely. It all comes down to guiding responsible growth in Monument, she said.
“It’s going to be a main transportation artery for our students,” Glover said. “(Students) aren’t going to have a way to travel safely without being in a car … If we develop intelligently now and we facilitate other types of travel, it will lessen the long-term traffic congestion within our community as it pertains to school traffic. We have an opportunity to make this part of the larger community.”
Remington Hill resident Mike Robbins lives on Bowstring Road, which Glover said will need to be extended north to Higby Road. Robbins said he’s concerned that this shortcut will encourage high school students to speed through his community. This could pose a threat to the students who will walk along that road, he said.
“I know what my high schooler drove like,” he said to the planning commission. “I know what the parents drove like taking their kids (to school).”
Robbins said the housing developer, Vision Development Group, needs to take steps to inhibit traffic from speeding through his community. Adding multiple traffic circles would force vehicles to slow down and dissuade them from using that route, he said.
Glover raised further concerns that Vision Development Group has not consulted with the surrounding communities. She said the developer needs to make an effort to speak with community members about their concerns.
Both Robbins and Glover said this roadway along Bowstring Road doesn’t put enough space between sidewalks and the road. The result is that snowplows bury the sidewalks in snow. This makes it difficult for students who walk to school, they said.
A representative of Vision Development Group said that increasing the space between the road and the sidewalk isn’t within the developer’s purview.
“We have one chance for our community and for our student population … to get this road right,” Glover said. “We have one shot to give (our students) safe passage.”
The planning commission recommended approval of the site plan and final plat for the proposed housing development in a 4 to 3 vote.