Roundabout big enough for buses seen for main Garden of Gods intersection
The concept emerged from a continuing $700,000 study on major upgrades to 30th Street between Fontanero Street and Mesa Road. Priced at just over $1 million, the roundabout was recently added to the 30th Street construction budget, which had previously been set at about $7.1 million. To find the funding, City Transportation reallocated a portion of its “STP-Metro” (federal/local) funds, according to information in the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) February meeting packet.
30th is a two-lane thoroughfare with average speeds of 35 to 40 mph. Gateway is the main access into the Garden of the Gods.
City engineers and consultants believe a roundabout will make the intersection safer, move traffic more efficiently and could be designed and landscaped to give travelers a “sense of arrival” for the Garden.
“I think it would be beautiful,” said city project manager Robin Allen, expressing the belief that it would enhance the national status of both the park and the adjacent Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center.
“I feel very confident it will work,” said Tim Roberts, a city traffic engineer who wrote the grant request to the state that produced the $7.1 million for 30th. A stoplight was considered, but it didn't meet a technical set of “warrants,” based on such concerns as accident numbers and delay issues, he said.
The current intersection layout has a stop sign for eastbound Gateway, but none for 30th. Gateway does not continue east. The Visitor Center is on the other side of 30th.
The most common traffic problem there, because of often-steady traffic on 30th, is cars trying to turn left from the Gateway stop sign, according to Steve Murray, whose Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig (FHU) is the 30th Street project consultant.
He believes a roundabout would solve that problem. It would slow traffic in either direction to 15 to 20 mph, and typically there would be no congestion, he predicted.
However, Murray pointed out, temporary traffic controls will probably be needed to aid Gateway Road's flow during special events. Those details are still being analyzed.
As for pedestrians crossing 30th, a roundabout would be simpler than at present because people “would only have one direction of traffic to look out for,” Murray said.
The roundabout idea has already been supported at meetings of the city and consultants in recent months with 30th Street “stakeholders,” which includes the Visitor Center, Rock Ledge and the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association, Murray noted.
Currently the city has at least 100 roundabouts on various streets, Roberts said.
One of the few Westside versions is on Mesa Road in the Kissing Camels neighborhood, See photo on Page 8. The roundabout envisioned for Gateway and 30th would be larger than that because of the need to handle buses, Allen explained.
An exact size has not yet been determined.
Murray said the design effort is occurring in concert with a separate study that's considering a park shuttle service. See story, Page 8.
Public meetings will be set for the 30th Street project, but probably no sooner than April, Allen said.
The main goals for 30th include improving intersections, fixing drainage problems (including the incorporation of storm drains), stabilizing the hillside and widening the roadway to create paved shoulders that bicycles can also use. The traffic lanes would remain as one each way.
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