Neighbors’ inputs sought in Fillmore study

Tim Roberts, a city traffic engineer, presents information about the Fillmore Street corridor study at a neighborhood meeting in the Unity Church March 9. The effort is expected to continue through August.
Westside Pioneer photo
       The city-contracted Fillmore Traffic Analysis and Corridor Study is taking shape from the “ground up,” Tim Roberts of City Traffic Engineering said at a neighborhood meeting March 9.
       The attendees were from the Mesa Road area. Another neighborhood meeting will be Tuesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. with the Holland Park Community Association at Springs City Church, 1250 Vondelpark Drive. A previous meeting was held with the Mesa Springs Community Association.
       The purpose of the study is to determine the best ways to handle future traffic along Fillmore and well-used streets nearby - especially in response to plans for a 76,000-square-foot commercial center on the 14-acre former site of the Palmer House at Fillmore and Chestnut streets. Crestone Development, the property owner, is actually covering most of the study costs, Roberts said.
       The study effort includes a “public involvement plan” that defines March as a month when the city and consultant begin meeting with the various “stakeholders” - neighbors as well as property owners/ developers. In April and May, representatives of the different associations are invited to form “working groups” that will distill the main issues for their areas so that they can make “short, solution-oriented” presentations at a “joint forum” meeting with the city and CDOT in June, taking into consideration funding issues, government constraints and development possibilities, the plan states. Then in July, there would be an open house meeting to present the findings and alternatives for general public review.
       The study itself would be finalized in July and August, contracted consultant Maureen Araujo elaborated.
       The overall idea is to get a clear idea of the Fillmore corridor situation from the people closest to it before proposing solutions, Roberts explained. He called this working from “the ground up,” and described it as “the most productive way” to get an accurate and useful study.

The current design of the Fillmore/I-25 interchange (north is up).
Courtesy of Maureen Araujo and City of Colorado Springs

       The listed goals of the study are to:
  • Identify remedies for current traffic issues of “congestion and queueing.”
  • Identify specific improvements, as well as their timing and phasing.
  • Evaluate the plan to complete Centennial Boulevard from Fillmore to the Fontanero interchange, including what it will take to fund its construction and what completion would do to traffic distribution.
           Funding in general is an issue, Roberts pointed out. The current earliest date for a new Fillmore interchange is 2020, but no funding exists at this time for the estimated $40 million expense. Roberts did leave open the possibility that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) might contribute to ramp or access road improvements at some point once the Palmer House project begins to affect traffic there.
           Improvements to Fillmore between the interchange and Centennial are on the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) “A” list, but the earliest that is likely to occur is 2014, Roberts said.
           As for the Centennial extension, it's a lower-priority RTA “C” list project, with uncertainties on the privately funded parts of the road also. Thus, there is no prediction for its completion.
           Mesa Road residents were concerned whether the study could lead to any changes to their area, but Roberts and Araujo said they did not know of anything planned.

    The future design, in which the overpass would become a more efficient single point urban interface (similar to what's below the interstate at the Garden of the Gods/I-25 interchange). The graphics were made available at the March 9 meeting on the Fillmore corridor.
    Courtesy of Maureen Araujo and City of Colorado Springs

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