Gold Hill Mesa developer raises questions about installing raised median on South 21st
Partly for his own project, partly on behalf of his neighbors, Gold Hill Mesa developer Bob Willard has proposed that the widening he is required to accomplish on
South 21st Street not include a raised median down the middle of the road.
The area to be widened is between Broadway Street and Lower Gold Camp Road. Colorado Springs Traffic engineers have wanted to convert the current two-lane road to four lanes with a 17-foot-wide raised median. Most of the new right of way would be on the (east) Gold Hill Mesa side. But this would require the developer to move large amounts of fill dirt and lose usable space on the property, Willard said in an interview this week.
Having a narrower, striped center lane (instead of a raised median) would free up more of his space while allowing businesses along the west side of 21st Street to retain their current unfettered access, he explained.
With a raised median, left turns would not be allowed from the businesses, and left or u-turns into them could only occur at the occasional breaks in the median. Additionally, people leaving businesses could make right turns only.
“The neighbors kind of like the idea (of no median),” Willard said. But there would still be bike lanes, he added.
The Gold Hill Mesa Township Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), which Willard represents, is on the hook to pay the widening costs as part of its development approval agreement with the city.
Engineers from the city and the LLC are scheduled to meet next week to discuss the matter, Willard said.
The city doesn't necessarily plan to put up a fight on the median, according to Tim Roberts, senior transportation planner for the city. A key goal, in addition to traffic management, was “an enhanced appearance, a feeling that you were entering a neighborhood,” he said. “Without medians, you're just looking at a wide road. For a good example, look at Eighth Street.”
He added that at prior meetings on the street widening, to which the city invited 21st Street business people, “only two” who attended spoke out against the medians. Note: When the Westside Pioneer asked four South 21st Street business people for their opinions in spring 2005, three expressed opposition (only two of whom were willing to go on the record) and the fourth was ambivalent.
Westside Pioneer article