Westside Avenue Action Plan Team Seeks Stakeholders Willing to Commit to Workshop Participation
El Paso County has initiated a process to analyze potential transportation infrastructure improvements to 1.5-miles of W. Colorado and Manitou avenues between N. 31st Street and the US 24 interchange. Representatives of organizations, business groups, citizens and other constituents in the study area are being sought to serve on the Westside Avenue Action Plan Stakeholder Committee to help provide a vision for the corridor. Anyone interested in serving as a stakeholder should RSVP to info@WestsideAvenuePlan.com.
“Stakeholders commit to attending three workshops during the study to help shape the future of this segment of W. Colorado Avenue and Manitou Avenue. Stakeholder participants agree to provide input from their respective organizations, and report back to their organizations and constituents as plan development progresses,” said Andre Brackin, El Paso County Engineer and the County’s Project Manager for the study.
The first Westside Avenue Action Plan stakeholder meeting is Monday, Aug. 6, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. This meeting is rescheduled from June 25 due to the Waldo Canyon Fire. Additional stakeholder meetings will be scheduled during the fall and winter. The stakeholder meetings also are open to anyone who wants to follow the discussions. Two public open houses also will be scheduled toward the end of summer and in January 2013 for citizens to see how the plan is progressing and to provide input.
The W. Colorado Avenue/Manitou Avenue arterial supports about 23,000 average daily trips and provides access to about 75 businesses. Stakeholders and citizens will provide input on the best way to address infrastructure improvements such as the lack of sufficient pedestrian and bicycle access, storm water drainage, auxiliary lanes and mobility, access management and street lighting, as well as environmental and historical impacts.
Over the years, the US 24 bypass has been improved, while the lesser-used business route infrastructure has deteriorated. In addition, the multi-jurisdictional ownership along the corridor has made zoning laws difficult to enforce. The land along the 1.5-mile corridor being studied is located in unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, yet the road is the responsibility of the Colorado Department of Transportation. Representatives from all the jurisdictions believe infrastructure improvements to this corridor will serve as a catalyst for economic revitalization in the area while continuing to support the residential neighborhoods, businesses and the region’s vibrant tourism industry.
“The Westside Avenue Action Plan’s success will be influenced by and depends upon public involvement and public input,” Brackin said. “Our Stakeholder Committee will play a key role in representing the organizations, businesses and residents along the corridor. Their input and the community values identified during our discussions will influence the plan’s outcome.”
The result of the 10-month study will be a Westside Avenue Action Plan that will include short-term transportation and safety improvement recommendations and a long-range livable, “walkable” vision for economic vitality for this corridor.
“The Westside Avenue Action Plan is the first step toward the potential revitalization of the corridor,” Brackin said. “Once the plan is finalized and funding is available, a final design would be developed, which would be the next step before construction begins,” he said.
The Westside Avenue Action Plan is a collaborative effort among El Paso County, the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and residents, businesses, community groups and other stakeholders.
Goals of the Westside Avenue Action Plan recommendations are to:
· Provide for safe and efficient transportation along the corridor
· Create a compatible link between the two vibrant historic districts of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs
· Serve as a catalyst for economic development and other future corridor improvements
To receive periodic progress e-newsletters and learn how to get involved, visit the project website www.WestsideAvenuePlan.com and click the Weigh In link to be added to the contact list or, call the project message box at 719.629.7566 and leave your contact information.