April 14 Hwy 24 meeting will provide exhibits, one-on-one opportunities

       The April 14 public meeting for Westside Highway 24 will be less of a meeting and more an opportunity for personal discussions with representatives of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
       According to Dave Watt, CDOT's project manager for the planning effort, stations will be set up showing categorized ideas to date, as well as - for the first time since the meetings started last fall - one that explains issues that could limit or prevent certain ideas from becoming reality.
       “People will be able to look at exhibits one-on-one, as opposed to a big general presentation,” Watt said. And, if a citizen has a suggestion that hasn't been brought up before, it's not as if it's too late. “There will certainly be someone to jot it down,” he said.
       The meeting, one of a series scheduled roughly every other month this year, will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the West Intergenerational Center, 25 N. 20th St., and continue until 8 p.m. The overall goal is to gather citizen input in defining the scope of possible upgrades to the 40-year-old, four-lane highway between I-25 and Manitou Springs.
       One effect of the meeting format change will be that people with limited time won't necessarily miss anything by just dropping by to check out the exhibits. People are welcome to come and go or spend as much time as they like, Watt explained.
       The stations will be divided into “what we've done, what we're doing now and what we'll be doing in the future,” he said. “The primary focus will be to show the sorting of the ideas by categories.”
       The identified environmental constraints are not the result of a “detailed analysis,” Watt said, but are based on a “broad-brush” look at issues such as traffic numbers or flood plain concerns. Another example is the historic Van Briggle building, at Highway 24 and 21st Street, which is not slated to move for the project, he said.
       The ideas to date have resulted from brainstorming at two public meetings (in November and January) and from separate meetings with local government leaders and their technical staffs.
       The public meetings are leading up to a draft Enviromental Assessment for proposed work, tentatively scheduled for release by CDOT in early 2006. No dates have been set yet for when work might begin.

Westside Pioneer article