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Westside Avenue Action Plan: Gateway to Revitalization!
A road improvement study that will result in construction of roadway improvements
The Westside Avenue Action Plan is a 10-month study to develop short-term transportation and safety improvement recommendations and a long-range livable, walkable, economic vision for the 1.5 miles of US 24 Business West (W. Colorado and Manitou avenues between N. 31st Street and the US 24 interchange). This plan will lead to the construction of roadway improvements in this area.
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This vital link between the national historic districts of Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs is in need of revitalization if it is to be a viable connection between these two vibrant and popular destinations. The Westside Avenue Action Plan is the first step toward infrastructure improvements to address safety and efficient travel in the corridor. These improvements will set the stage for economic revitalization and other future corridor enhancements and positively contribute to the region’s economic vitality.
Although the challenges in this corridor are many and diverse, and transportation improvements alone will not solve all of them, the improvements are intended to serve as a catalyst for other enhancements. The desired result will ultimately bring a renewed identity and vitality to this corridor.
Citizens, businesses, community groups and other stakeholders are encouraged to get involved and provide ideas and opinions about the best way to shape the corridor to meet current and future transportation needs. Throughout the study, the project team will solicit public input on how to best address the lack of sufficient pedestrian and bicycle access, storm water drainage, auxiliary lanes and mobility, access to businesses and residences and street lighting, as well as environmental and historical sensitivities.
This study is a collaborative effort among multiple agencies that have jurisdiction along the study segment: El Paso County, the City of Colorado Springs, the City of Manitou Springs, and the Colorado Department of Transportation. Agency representatives have made a high level, regional commitment to work together and with area residents, businesses, community groups, and other stakeholders to develop a citizen-driven plan based on community values for the much-needed improvements along this vital corridor.
Community Open Houses: Two Community Open Houses were held during the first phase of the Westside Avenue Action Plan study: September 18, 2012 at Manitou Springs City Hall and March 20, 2013 at the Westside Community Center. Numerous businesses representatives, citizens, elected officials and other stakeholders attended each of the two open houses and actively engaged in discussions with the project team about needed transportation infrastructure improvements along the corridor and to view the progress of the study to date, and to learn of the process stakeholders took leading to their recommendation of the 3-lane preferred option.
Stakeholder Committee Update: Transportation and infrastructure improvements for the corridor are being planned with a long-term community vision. Approximately 40 citizens, residents, business owners and groups, elected officials and others are participating in a series of Stakeholder Committee Workshops to help shape the future function of this stretch of W. Colorado/Manitou Avenue and to connect the historic neighborhoods and economic zones located at both ends of the corridor.
Stakeholder Workshop #1, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, covered in detail here.
Stakeholder Workshop #2, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, also covered in detail here.
Westside Avenue Action Plan — Project Status
The first phase of the study concluded with a Public Open House (March 20, 2013 at the Westside Community Center) in which the preferred 3-lane option, as recommend by citizens and stakeholders, was presented to the public. The 3-lane option involves one traffic lane in each direction eastbound and westbound and a center left-turn lane. A dedicated left-turn lane would reduce accidents, primarily caused by cars stopping to make left turns on the current cross-section. Click on the Documents tab to view the presentation and meeting summary from the March 20 Public Open House.
- Summer 2013: Stakeholder Workshop to review/discuss options for the “Bridge to Ridge” segment of the corridor (Columbia Street Bridge to Ridge Road). To receive meeting notifications, send an email to: info@WestSideAvenuePlan.com
- Late 2013 or early 2014: Preliminary and final design
- Early 2015: Contractor selection and anticipated construction start
Stakeholder Workshop #3 took place from 4-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. Participants reviewed preliminary concepts and potential implications for the three roadway cross-sections brought forward following Stakeholder Workshop #2. Each of the three remaining alternatives (3-lane, 4-lane and 5-lane) include adding curb and gutter, sidewalks, provisions for bicycle lanes, and buried utility lines. While a final decision by the project team has yet to be made, stakeholders overwhelming recommended the 3-lane option be carried forward for the next level of more detailed design analysis (Midland Trail connection, under grounding utilities, intersection designs, drainage issues, street lighting, sidewalks and signage). The option preferred includes one through traffic lane east- and west-bound with a center left-turn lane. Stakeholders preferred this option because it slows traffic, improves vehicle and pedestrian safety, and provides room for amenities business owners and residents identified as important considerations for the future economic vitality of the corridor.
Stakeholder Committee Workshop agendas, presentations and meeting summaries are posted in the Documents tab of this website.
El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark, whose District 3 encompasses Westside Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Ute Pass voices her appreciation for the commitment and participation of resident and business stakeholders in developing a good plan for the Westside avenue corridor. “Residents and businesses in the area have long recognized the need for traffic and safety improvements through this area. Not only will it be a better place to live and do business, but it also helps us attract more tourism dollars to the entire region.”
Click on the “How to Participate” tab above for more opportunities to get involved and provide input.
Tour the Corridor. Click to view 5-minute project video.