Pleasant Valley Association enjoys new play equipment, turn arrows; nudges city about other issues
Info gathered that every other car breaks 31st Street speed limit

       The Pleasant Valley neighborhood got more pleasant this year with new playground equipment at Westmoor Park.
       The Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department installed the equipment, but it was the Pleasant Valley Association that made sure the project wasn't forgotten.
       It was much the same story in the past year at two 30th Street intersections (at Fontmore and at Colorado Avenue), when city street crews - again with Pleasant Valley advocacy - put in left-turn arrows.
       The old park equipment was decades-old, including a wood climbing apparatus on which “the kids would get splinters,” Jim Corcoran, president of the homeowners group, told the Westside Pioneer. The turn arrows are helping relieve congestion at those two intersections, he added.
       Corcoran would like the association to be as successful with all the items on its wish list. There's the request for speed bumps to slow traffic on 31st Street, which brought a “well, maybe,” as Corcoran put it, from city Street Department officials. . Another idea, to restore Camp Creek's natural bottom along 31st Street, has gone nowhere so far. And an association proposal for xeriscaping and a neighborhood-identifying sign at the large pavement island where Camp Creek goes underground at 31st and Bijou Street is still under consideration by city officials.
       “I haven't accomplished half as much as I would like,” said Corcoran, who has been president since September 2002 and plans not to run again in this September's association election. A 40-year Colorado resident, he has lived in Pleasant Valley 16 years with his wife, Carol, whose residency in Pleasant Valley goes back to 1964.
        Pleasant Valley, built mainly in the 1960s, is a neighborhood of single-family homes north of Colorado Avenue and south/southeast of Garden of the Gods. The association has existed since the 1970s, except for a period in the late '90s. So popular that real-estate agents have been known to call it a “buy-and-die” neighborhood, the area has 841 homes, from which 221 families are association members.
       “About 90 to 100 people show up at any one meeting,” Corcoran said.
       One of the main issues for Pleasant Valley in recent years has been the increasing traffic through it. The continuing growth in Woodland Park has meant more people commuting from Ute Pass to Colorado Springs or even Denver.
        “Right now it's less traffic because of the layoffs in high-tech, but it's going to come back eventually,” Corcoran said.
       Whether by city design or not, eastbound drivers can shortcut through Pleasant Valley by taking Highway 24 to 31st Street to Fontmore/ Fillmore to Interstate 25.
       The impact can be seen in morning and evening traffic back-ups, and, when traffic is clear, a lot of speeders.
        That was what spurred the speed-bump petition to the city. Corcoran said a recent speed-recorder check of 1,100 cars on 31st Street found over half of them exceeding the speed limit (30 mph), and about a third over 40. The problem, he noted in his February association newsletter and to the Pioneer, is that “every other neighborhood in the city has a similar petition.”
       The city has told Corcoran each speed bump costs up to $1,500, he said.
       As for the proposed beautification of the pavement island, the problem is that the city is under pressure to cut down on watering, Corcoran noted, and even xeriscaping would require some water.
       The city envisions a future 31st Street extension from Highway 24 at Lower Gold Camp Road. Corcoran isn't too concerned about traffic from that, but said the association would object to 31st Street being widened or extended through the subdivision to connect with 30th Street near the Garden of the Gods Visitors Center Opposition to such work has been a rallying cry for the association since its early days.
       Other Pleasant Valley Association members are Florence Hagiwara, vice president; Jennie Marts, treasurer; and Krista Van Lancker, secretary.

Westside Pioneer Article