Pioneer article spurs city upgrade work

       The Westside got a kind of Christmas present from Colorado Springs Engi-neering in December.
       In response to information in a Westside Pioneer news article (Oct. 28 issue), Engineering issued a change order on an already- planned Westside project to include access upgrades in the area of 26th Street and Highway 24. The finished product, including the sidewalk’s metal-plate 
“bridge” over the gutter drainage where it flows into an adjacent ditch.
Westside Pioneer photo
       The improvements included a sidewalk connection across a small drainage to a previously isolated handicapped-ramp/ island on the southwest corner of the intersection and the seamless joining of previously height-differentiated sidewalks on the north sides of the 26th Street bridge over Fountain Creek, according to City Engineer Gary Haynes.
       Because this work was bridge-related, it became a late addition to a budgeted upgrade project at the nearby 25th Street bridge.
       “We found those obstructions as you (the Pioneer) stated,” Haynes said of the 26th Street area. “It was not safe there…. 26th Street and Highway 24 are an important intersection, with plenty of vehicles each day. You have to think about the safety of pedestrians, especially disabled pedestrians.”
       As a result, Hayne said he asked his staff to add 26th Street improvements (costing just over $3,000) to the 25th Street project “if it was within our budget.”
       When this turned out to be the case, “we decided to get it done once and for all, just go ahead and do it while we're in the neighborhood,” he said.
       He shrugged off the “Christmas present” analogy. “Sometimes we can do it (an extra project like this one), sometimes it goes the other way,” he said.
       The handicapped ramp/island at the southwest corner of 26th and 24 had been installed this fall by the Colorado Department of Transporta-tion (CDOT). A CDOT spokesman at the time had said he did not like the design - unconnected to the city sidewalk about 10 feet away - but state workers had been constrained to only working in their right of way.
       Haynes' response initially was that the city had not been approached by the state about the project and that sidewalks in front of private property (a restaurant is on that corner) are not city concerns. However, on closer scrutiny, the city found that the sidewalk in front of the restaurant is in the public right of way; thus, he said, the city was the only entity that could fix the connection problem. The repair includes a short metal-plate “bridge” over the place where water from the gutter crosses into a ditch just west of the ramp.
       Haynes was not sure if another potential safety problem - the lack of barriers between the ramp area and the ditch on both the southwest and northwest corners - had been addressed in the change order. He said he would look into it.

Westside Pioneer article