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City builds 'shortcut' to Midland Trail from Highway 24 and 26th Street

       A roughly 50-foot concrete path, recently poured by a city contractor, provides a new “shortcut” to the Midland Trail from the northeast corner of 26th Street and Highway 24.
       With approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), according to Tim Roberts of City Traffic Engineering, the project
The northeast corner of Highway 24 and 26th Street is viewed by looking along the new "shortcut" from the city's Midland Trail.
Westside Pioneer photo
cut open a section of fence that had previously prevented formal access from that location.
       “One of the recurring comments in our public meetings regarding the bike system is the connectivity, or lack of connectivity, of our trail system with the on-street system,” Roberts explained in an e-mail. “This location was an easy connection to make, and connects two busy routes - the Midland Trail and 26th Street.”
       Funding came from city bike tax funds. The cost was just under $5,000, Roberts said.
       Previously, the Midland Trail's formal connections from 26th were either through Vermijo Park or from Vermijo Street over to 25th Street.
       Fence openings in that area to access the trail also exist at 25th-and-24 - resulting from people crossing the highway there - and at the northwest corner of 26th-and-24. However, these are not city-authorized access points.
       Other than a gap between Ridge and Columbia roads and a couple of roadway segments, the Midland Trail provides an off-road trail through the Westside between Manitou Springs and downtown.
       In other bicycle news, Roberts said that the city “will be installing a warning beacon on 26th Street prior to the steep S-curves [farther south on 26th] to warn drivers that bicyclists are present within the curves. This is an area with high ridership (180+ on Saturday) with blind curves and narrow lanes that warrants additional measures to raise awareness.”
       The sign is currently bagged but is collecting count data, Roberts noted. “We are working on the detection device to recognize the cyclists as they cross the sensor.”
       Funding for the device is coming from Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority On-Street Bike System funds, he said. The project cost is about $11,000.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/23/15; Outdoors: Trails)

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