Editorial campaign: Pedestrian overpass could lessen Midland isolation from Old Colorado City
About 40 years ago, the state built Highway 24 through the Westside. Although it relieved traffic on city streets, the ribbon of
asphalt became a deterrent for people wanting to walk or bike from the Midland area to Old Colorado City - a deterrent that
has become more pronounced as highway traffic has increased over the years.
One possible remedy is a pedestrian overpass at 25th Street. The timing for such an idea is the Colorado Department of Transportation's intent to begin planning upgrades to Highway 24, starting with public meetings early next year.
Why 25th Street? For one thing, pedestrians/bicyclists cross there now. The extent of this practice is evident in the break in the fence at 25th Street on each side of the highway. Anyone who drives there much has probably seen people scooting across. In fact, when the Westside Pioneer went there to shoot a dramatized photo of the situation, two young people came by from the south side of the highway and crossed then and there - unknowingly providing footage for a "real" photo.
The danger in such jaywalking goes without saying, but it's arguably not that much safer for pedestrians to cross at the 21st or 26th Street stoplights. Cars are going up to 70 mph at times. They run red lights and zoom through right and left turns. Even when the walk button is triggered, the length of the light for 26th Street traffic is often so short a fully mobile person walking at a brisk pace can barely cross the street before it changes. An elderly or disabled person is lucky to get halfway across. As for children, not many parents let those younger than teenagers cross on their own.
The state's new handicapped-access improvements at the intersection will help, but braving the busy traffic on either side also takes some doing
In contrast, 25th Street is a deadend on the Midland side, so it gets virtually no traffic. On the north side, the Naegele Street frontage road joins 25th Street by the old bridge over Fountain Creek. The city transportation office estimates the bridge's traffic at only about 200 cars a day. So this could be a pleasantly hassle-free access; plus there appears to be space on either side to ground an overpass - space that doesn't exist at 26th.
Just east of 21st Street, there already is a plan in gear to run a path under Highway 24, following the path of Fountain Creek from the north side to the south side of the highway.
An overpass at 25th would likely mean a greater number of Midland pedestrians of all ages and mobility crossing to Old Colorado City to go to jobs, shop, run errands, attend school (such as at West Middle/Intergenerational Center) or visit friends they haven't seen for 40 years.
Preliminary presentations of this “editiorial campaign” have met with success. Supporting the concept so far are the board of the Old Colorado City Associates merchants group, the board of the Organization of Westside Neighbors, West Intergen-erational Center Director E.D. Rucker, West End Annex (post office) Manager Sue Luck and Midland-area neighborhood advocate Anna England. Luck said it would especially benefit her operation, which has offices on 25th Street on both sides of the highway.
Westside Pioneer article