El Paso County is nearing another milestone in the Westside Avenue Action Plan, and it comes in the form of a closure.
Starting on Monday, Jan. 8, Ridge Road will be permanently closed between Colorado Avenue and West Pikes Peak Avenue. The short stretch of road will be transformed into a transit and trail plaza with bus, pedestrian, and bicycle services.
The idea to shut down this part of Ridge Road came from a Colorado Springs traffic study that included public comment.
“The City held neighborhood meetings on this issue and received overwhelming support from the residents near Ridge Road,” said city traffic engineer Kathleen Krager.
With the road shutting down it was determined a plaza was needed in the area to increase safety for both drivers and pedestrians.
“The plaza serves as a pedestrian, transit and bike connection point along the corridor and improves the aesthetic of the area. It will also improve overall traffic flow with the addition of a bus lane for pickup and drop off that will be coordinated with traffic signal phasing,” said Dennis Barron, project manager.
The transit and trail plaza will include a new aesthetic wall between Pikes Peak and Colorado Avenues, street lighting, sidewalks, landscaping, bike racks, a bike repair vending machine, and a Mountain Metro queue jump. A queue jump is a separate lane for buses to allow for safe passenger loading, unloading and easy transition back into traffic with a new coordinated signal system.
“This new bus stop will enhance safety for those using the bus service in the area and will provide an additional pull off lane so traffic on the road is not disrupted,” said District 3 El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf.
To get around the closure, motorists can take Colorado Avenue to South 36th Street or South 34th Street to connect with West Pikes Peak Avenue and Ridge Road.
The cost of the plaza is part of the $31-million budget for the Westside Avenue Action Plan. The plaza is expected to be open in the fall of 2018. The entire WAAP project that stretches for about 1.3 miles of West Colorado and Manitou Avenues is expected to be complete in December 2018.