Camp Creek study: Roundabout top priority for 31st, but city to review street as a wholeJune 16, 2018
Among several planned upgrades along the Camp Creek corridor through Pleasant Valley, a roundabout at 31st and Fontanero streets is the most likely to be built first,
Speaking at the city's public open house June 5, Chaves termed the intersection project a “priority for the city” that would be safer and smoother than the current four-way stop.
The concept attracted pushback from some of the 75 open-house attendees (many of whom live in Pleasant Valley). It was pointed out that even if the roundabout does move cars better through 31st and Fontanero, there will be no gain unless the city solves the way 31st backs up at rush hour around Colorado Avenue and Highway 24.
The city had no answer to that at the meeting, but Tim Roberts of City Traffic Engineering said a week afterward that he's since gained management approval to look into 31st Street's capacity as a whole, which could involve the help of a hired consultant.
No funding sources exist currently for a 31st-and-Fontanero roundabout, but the $2 million estimated cost would be relatively affordable, “as opposed to
The Camp Creek corridor, as defined by the city, takes in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood as well as the area of the creek's channel north of there, through the Garden of the Gods and Rock Ledge Ranch.
The open house at Holmes Middle School presented three “refinements” (as City Engineering terms them) to the corridor plans for Pleasant Valley that had emerged from a consultant study and several public meetings in 2013-14.
Two of these - the roundabout and a proposed extension of the pipe that currently carries Camp Creek's flow underground at Bijou Street - were unchanged from the way they'd been presented before the open house. (See Westside Pioneer article at this link.)
The third refinement, related to Water Street in Pleasant Valley, was redefined at the event itself by Vancel Fossinger, project consultant with Wilson & Company. Still planned, he told the audience, are moving the current 31st Street bridge at Water Street north about half a block to discourage Water as a commuter-traffic cut-through and adding another traffic bridge a short distance to the south.
What was different about what was presented at the open house was building that added bridge at 31st and Adams Drive. Before the meeting, it had been suggested at Pike Drive, but this would have put the bridge right in front of Howbert Elementary. School District 11 officials would prefer Adams because it's farther from Howbert's student drop-off zone, Fossinger explained after the meeting.
On another traffic-bridge issue, the city asked open house attendees to fill out a comment form asking what they thought of eliminating the Westmoor Drive crossing at 31st Street. Like Water, Westmoor is used by commuters cutting between 30th and 31st; taking out the bridge would end that practice. Also, eliminating the Westmoor crossing, Fossinger said, would “maintain the same number of street traffic bridges with the 31st Street reconstruction project instead of increasing the count by 1.”
Previously implemented Camp Creek projects since 2014 are a channel stabilization project completed in 2016, with another such effort scheduled in 2019 at the lower end of Rock Ledge Ranch.
Also, the city now foresees construction to start in 2019 on a large storm detention pond at the north end of the Garden of the Gods that is expected to reduce the number of Pleasant Valley homes in the floodplain. It has been on hold since 2016, when a city contractor found some artifacts from the 1800s in that area. Chaves has since explained that the find was not major, but the time delay - and about $50,000 expense to pay a consultant - were required to document the information under state and federal government historical regulations.
Pleasant Valley attendees at the open house did not voice outright opposition to what was presented. However, in addition to the questions about 31st Street traffic congestion as a whole, several concerns were raised, such as:
City recommendations from the 2013-2014 Camp Creek study called for bridge replacements along the corridor, floodplain reduction measures, improved emergency access and a naturalized waterway through Pleasant Valley, with rock walls and landscaping replacing the current concrete slabs.
Westside Pioneer article