OWN, PPACG and Hwy 24

       At a meeting of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) May 11, several local residents raised objections to the upgrade plans for Highway 24 that have been presented so far by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
       But at a less-publicized hearing - though potentially more influential because it relates to the priority list for the region's transportation projects - of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) in April, only one person spoke about the proposed project between I-25 and Highway 24 and that was to promote the idea of a freeway.
       Upon discovery of this, OWN President Welling Clark wrote a letter to PPACG stating that OWN is “vehemently opposed” to that option and informing the agency of the Westsiders' Option (also called the “Do no harm” plan) for a smaller-scale upgrade of Westside Highway 24.
       ”On behalf of the residents of the Westside (our organization encompasses over 7,000 residences), we have yet to hear one area resident in favor of a freeway,” the letter states, and adds an offer “to assist PPACG in making our residents aware of future meetings to increase participation in issues that impact our neighborhood.”
       An OWN task force has been meeting with CDOT and local residents to promote the local plan and to better understand the engineering rationale behind CDOT's plans, which call for a six-lane road and major interchanges at 8th and 21st streets, requiring the removal of scores of homes and businesses.
       The May 11 OWN discussion was attended by elected officials Larry Small (vice mayor of City Council), Tom Gallagher (council member) and Sallie Clark (chair, Board of El Paso County Commissioners), as well as Jan Doran, president of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO). None spoke in favor of the CDOT plans, and, in response to audience questions, Small said he would look into city staff involvement in the CDOT process.

Westside Pioneer article