Bus stops, ped ramps upgraded in project

       A $155,000 project to improve bus-stop accessibility on Mountain Metro's Route 3 is continuing along West Colorado Avenue between 8th and 31st streets. A pedestrian ramp, with a “dimpled” surface at the base (to
help a blind person recognize a street crossing) was recently installed by a Mountain Metro contractor at
Colorado Avenue and 13th Street. Similar ramps are going in along both sides of the avenue between 8th and 31st
streets as part of a federally funded project to make the bus company’s Route 3 more handicapped-accessible.
Westside Pioneer photo
       The work chiefly focuses on enlarging the concrete pads at bus stops to make access easier for wheelchairs and building or replacing pedestrian ramps at numerous street corners, according to Bill Bottini, Mountain Metro construction coordinator. In addition, using a separate contractor, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) will repair sidewalks near stops (as needed), said Mike Chavez, a city engineer with RTA maintenance.
       Bottini estimated that the Mountain Metro project will continue into December. The contractor, Eastern Colorado Builders, started on the north side of the avenue, moving west, and crews are now working on the south side, moving east. One exception is at the northeast corner of 31st and Colorado, where additional planning is required because a fire hydrant needs to be moved and there's a storm drain issue, Bottini explained.
       The concrete ramps are the modern kind that have “dimples” at the bottom, so those who are blind “will know they're coming to a street,” he said.
       Some of the work has involved replacing existing ramps. These are older ones that are gray in color and don't meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards because they are too steeply sloped. Not being replaced are less old ramps, red in color, that have the right slope but lack the dimples, he said.
       Under the Mountain Metro contract, ramp or pad upgrades will also be built farther west on Colorado Avenue up to 34th Street and at Route 3 locations in Manitou Springs. With one exception, Route 3 stops in the so-called “No Man's Land” area, roughly between 34th and easterly Manitou, will not receive improvements because the area lacks sidewalks, Bottini explained.
       An exception could at the Ridge Road/Colorado Avenue intersection, where Bottini's understanding is that the county has a public upgrade in the works. Asked about this, County Commissioner Sallie Clark said a grant is being applied for.
       In all, improvements are being made at or near about 60 stops on Route 3, he said.

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