EDITORíS DESK: The pedestrian overpass, one more time

       Well, we're up on our soapbox again. As you may have noticed in the article starting on Page 4, the Westside Pioneer gave a presentation to the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) recently (thanks for the support, OWN board!) about the 25th Street pedestrian overpass we first proposed in 2004.
       In doing so, we hauled out some of our old arguments, including:
       Apparent demand. Jaywalkers have even broken down the fence on either side of Highway 24 so they can dash across at 25th Street.
       The minimal amount of green time for pedestrians at the 26th Street stoplight now. Knowing this, how can Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) engineers say it will be "safe" there on foot when pedestrians must cross six highway lanes, not "just" four?
       Commercial benefit. A pedestrian overpass could help end Midland's isolation and in turn lead to economic upticks for Old Colorado City.
       Fits future greenway plans. I admit a lot of that is pie in the sky with no project funding, but if things like an ampitheater and creekside amenities do materialize north of the Highway as CDOT proposes, wouldn't the overpass be nice to have?
       Of late, we have worked up a new argument. CDOT says it can't justify the roughly half-million-dollar expense of our proposed ped overpass. OK, fine. The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) plans to replace the bridge at Naegele and 25th within three years, at a cost of $464,000. Yet CDOT would rip out that same bridge in its expansion project 20 or fewer years later. Why not save that money - perform interim repairs as needed - and set the balance aside to cover the larger cost for the pedestrian overpass (CDOT-estimate: $500,000)?
       What do you think, local officials? Are you ready for a walk on the wild side... er, Westside?

- K.J.