Colorado Springs residents pushed back Wednesday at a city open house on a proposal to make major changes to the Platte Avenue corridor to help accommodate more traffic as the city grows.
The controversial Platte Avenue proposal would turn it into a one-way eastbound corridor from Wahsatch Avenue to its intersection with Boulder Street. Boulder Street would carry westbound traffic from its intersection with Platte to Wahsatch Avenue.
Some neighbors have found this option unpalatable as they expect it to increase speed on both roads and make them less safe.
“Platte is going to look like a highway,” said Chris Conboy, a neighbor of Middle Shooks Run.
If Platte were designated a one-way street, the city could also provide a dedicated bus lane and a bike path. City renderings show the bike lane between bus and car lanes, an option Cyndi Long, neighboring Middle Shooks Run, has deemed unsafe. She expected one-way streets would also encourage higher speeds. The city plan appears in this section to include two vehicle lanes as well as a bike path.
“It’s a disaster,” she said.
UCHealth is also concerned about the turning of Boulder Street into a one-way street and the impact it could have on Memorial Hospital Central.
“We anticipate that the conversion of Boulder Street to one-way traffic will cause critical delays for patients accessing the only Level I comprehensive trauma and stroke center in southern Colorado,” said Kelli Christensen, spokesperson for the health system in an email. She said hospital staff would share their concerns with the city.
Not everyone shared this view. Dennis Palsgrove, who lives on Institute Street, might see a need for more space to move east-west traffic.
“The city is growing so fast that they have to divide the traffic,” he said.
City Engineer Gayle Sturdivant said the city is aware of concerns from neighbors and the hospital and staff are working on a revised proposal that would keep two-way traffic on Boulder Street and potentially add a bus lane and cycle paths.
“There is capacity available on Boulder to do other things. This may not solve our traffic problems in the future on Platte, but it still gives us an opportunity to make the corridor more usable,” she said.
The city also needs to repair aging bridge infrastructure in the area, including the El Paso Street Bridge over Platte that was hit by a truck earlier this year. One option could be to upgrade Platte and eliminate the underpass, she said. With those needs in mind, Sturdivant said she expects a general Platte Avenue/Boulder Street project to be included in an upcoming ballot question to expand sales tax revenue dedicated to the projects. regional roads.
The city is taking a comprehensive look at its transportation needs to help shed light on the tax issue, and voters can get a feel for those plans at upcoming open houses. Some of the projects include the expansion of Marksheffel Road and a study that would look at extending Constitution Avenue to connect to Interstate 25 to create another east-west corridor.
Voters should consider an extension of part of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority’s sales tax in November, which could raise $535 million over 10 years through 2034 for Colorado Springs projects, officials said municipal to the municipal council in March.
The city expects the bulk of the funding, about $153 million, to go to road expansion and improvement projects, followed by road preservation projects expected to cost $117 million and bridge preservation projects expected to cost $75.5 million. Multimodal projects — including transit, trails and other non-motorized projects — are expected to receive about $47.5 million in total, officials said.
Transportation improvement plans include increasing the frequency of bus service along corridors such as downtown Platte Avenue to The Citadel shopping center, Academy Boulevard between Pikes Peak Community College and Fort Carson, Colorado Avenue from downtown Colorado Springs to Manitou Springs and downtown North Nevada. at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Residents can learn about the city’s transportation plans during three open houses, all from 4 to 6 p.m. The next will be Thursday at Fire Station 18, 6830 Hadler View in the Community Hall. On Tuesday, an open house will be held at 21c Library, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, in the “Venue” room. On June 7, a final open house will be held at the Colorado Springs Police Department, Stetson Hills Division, 4110 Tutt Blvd.