Citizens attending the open house on the
planned 30th Street widening project look at posters or ask questions before the
presentation portion of the evening June 14 in the Holmes Middle School
Westside Pioneer photo
Traffic flow a likely issue when work starts on 30th Street in about 2 years
June 19, 2018
A cross-section graphic displays the difference
between the current 30th Street (24 feet wide) and the future 30th (37 feet.) The
space would be gained by cutting into the hillside and building a retaining wall (as
depicted in right side of graphic).
Courtesy of Colorado Springs
The main reason that a Colorado Springs plan to widen 30th Street won a $7.1
million state grant was that it's a key roadway for emergency vehicles.
So how will such vehicles - not to mention the public at large - get through during
the roughly 18 months required for the project between Fontanero Street and
District 1 City Councilmember Don Knight asked this basic question June 14 at
City Engineering's first open house on the recommended upgrades.
The answer? “We haven't fleshed out those details,” responded Robin Allen, the
city project manager. But she hopes a full closure won't be necessary. “We want to
keep the traffic flowing,” she said.
The widening won't add lanes. The 5 feet of new roadway on either side will carve
out room for bicycles and for cars to pull over for emergency vehicles or to use as
a breakdown lane.
Some of that segment of 30th bypasses the Pleasant Valley subdivision, but most
of it runs next to the scenic Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site and Garden
of the Gods city park.
A screen capture from a video loop running at
the meeting shows the way a roundabout would work at Gateway Road and 30th
Street. The Garden of the Gods Visitor Center is at upper right, off 30th Street.
Although not yet sized, the roundabout would need to be large enough to manage
buses (such as the one shown entering from Gateway). The video also
conceptualizes (by location, not design) a Foothills Trail overpass at Gateway
Road. The trail currently crosses
Gateway at grade, but traffic can be an issue.
Westside Pioneer photo from Colorado
Springs Engineering video
The advertised purpose of the meeting was to "provide an overview of the project,
address questions and obtain public input on the recommended alternative." Allen
estimated that the design process would take another year, with work on the
roadway probably starting in 2020.
A major traffic-impacts challenge will be posed by the project's planned
roundabout at 30th Street and Gateway Road. Both streets are busy. 30th is the
only direct route west of I-25 between Colorado Avenue and northwest Colorado
and Gateway is the main access into the Garden of the Gods, used annually by
millions of visitors.
Construction could involve flaggers, a temporary signal, building half the
roundabout at a time or “maybe people could use other park entrances,”
suggested Tim Roberts, the city traffic engineer who wrote the successful 30th
Street grant request.
Robin Allen, the 30th Street project manager for
Colorado Springs Engineering, speaks during the presentation portion of the open
Westside Pioneer photo
Featuring numerous posters - each displaying project-related graphics and details -
the open house was attended by 50-some people in the Holmes Middle School
cafeteria. There was also a roughly hour-long presentation, in which Allen and
project consultants brought out additional slides/posters.
Project issues include the following:
The widening. The total added width will be 13 feet, the graphics
show. The current road width is 24 feet, which is divided into one lane either
way, 12 feet wide. The new plans (37 feet total) call for each side to be
striped for an 11-foot traffic lane, a 5-foot paved shoulder and a 2½-foot curb
and gutter. (See graphic on this page.)
Slope stability. The 13 feet will be obtained by cutting into the
hillside to the east. Hillside mitigation will be particularly necessary between
the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center (at Gateway Road) and
Mesa Road. The stabilization method will be soldier piles bored deep into
the ground. Also, retaining walls, 10 to 15 feet high, will be needed
alongside the roadway.
Roundabout at Gateway and 30th. Based on research into the
subject, engineers say that a roundabout will allow a continuous flow of
traffic (including bicycles) and will be slower, safer and more efficient than
the current intersection design, in which the only control is a stop sign for
Gateway's T-intersection at 30th. A stoplight was considered, but it didn't
meet a technical set of “warrants,” based on such concerns as accident
numbers and delay issues, Roberts has previously pointed out. He also thinks
a roundabout could be landscaped to fit in with the natural beauty of the
adjacent Garden of the Gods.
A graphic depicts the planned redesign of Mesa
Road's intersection with 30th Street. A crosswalk for a
pedestrian-activated stoplight would provide a connection between the trails (dark
brown) on either side of 30th.
Westside Pioneer photo from Colorado
Springs Engineering poster
Not all the meeting attendees were convinced about the roundabout solution,
with questions raised about pedestrian safety and visibility for drivers.
Intersections. Four in all will be upgraded in varying degrees for
safety reasons (Gateway, Fontanero, Water Street and Mesa). No traffic
signals are planned, except for a user-activated pedestrian crossing at Mesa
Road that will connect the trails on either side of 30th; Mesa will also be
realigned to intersect 30th at a 90-degree angle instead of the current merging
layout which is prone to rear-end collisions.
Drainage. Underground storm drains will be installed in the project.
Currently the runoff is above ground, which can lead to problems in storms.
Community values. Going back to 2016, project team members say
they have held informal meetings with various groups/individuals
(“stakeholders”) who have definable interests in the 30th Street corridor. The
extrapolated values include a stakeholder wish for safety, functionality, a
continued “rural feel,” preservation of natural beauty and a currently lacking
"sense of arrival" as motorists
approach the Garden on 30th.
Westside Pioneer article
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