EDITORíS DESK: Not so fast (thatís for sure) with grant
What goes 4, 2, 4, 2? Why, that would be the lanes on Colorado/Manitou Avenue, assuming our local traffic engineers proceed with their new plan. Travelling west,
it's four lanes now until the Manitou Springs two-laning transition just past the Crystal Park Road light. But if the area is awarded the federal grant that's discussed in
this issue, it appears we'll have four traffic lanes to about 32nd Street, two lanes to the highway overpass (a result of the aforementioned grant), then four lanes to
Crystal Park Road before becoming two again.
Yes, we all know that the area nicknamed "No Man's Land" could use a little help from the public sector. The grant proposal lists a new bridge, upgrades to storm sewers and utilities and the installation of sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Such might, under normal circumstances, encourage businesses to move in there, invigorating it with fresh commerce and jobs. Those were the desired outcomes in Manitou's urban renewal study a few years ago. That study even included a few exciting prospects, such as moving the creek or the road to allow larger commercial parcels.
But this plan? Obtain $10.7 million from a stimulus package that's already been borrowed from our great-granchildren, then pony up $4 million-plus in matching funds from money-strapped local entities (also known as us). And what do they/we get? A mile and a half of road that finally meets 21st century standards, but with the same right of way as before (including the width of the bridge) - which means (in another definition of 21st century standards) that bicycles get to take over one of the traffic lanes on each side. So how do we accomplish the goals of an improved economy for No Man's Land when more shoppers/ workers going there will now cause a traffic jam? Or are we all supposed to be riding bicycles in the future? Has anybody really studied this stuff, or do we just put "Sustainable" on our T-shirts and call it good?