Woodland Park Traffic forum attracts huge crowd
By Beth Dodd
Woodland Park kicked off a new $80,000 study, aimed at addressing its local traffic situation, with a heavily attended public brainstorming session last week.
More than 100 people participated in small group discussions on March 18 regarding the future of transportation in the city. The goal of this latest “traffic circulation” study is to decide the next phase of improvements as the town’s population continues to grow.
The public meeting, held at the Ute Pass Cultural Center, began with a short presentation by Edward Hocker of AECOM, the consulting group who is helping the city with the traffic study. Hocker presented an overview of the goals of the project. The study seeks to identify feasible alternate routes that improve traffic flow and safety in and around Woodland Park , while at the same time improving access to local businesses and other destinations.
The new traffic study will not re-examine the possibility of a bypass, or propose any specific construction projects in the near future. However, it is hoped that the document will help with future planning and gathering community input. It will also help to position the city for possible future funding opportunities by planning ahead for growth and development. However CDOT has official jurisdiction for the highways and would have to be involved in any changes to the roads.
As anyone who has tried to get through town on a Friday evening in June knows, U.S. Hwy. 24 is heavily congested during tourist season and rush hour. With the new 168-unit Trail Ridge Apartments, the upcoming aquatic center and family entertainment center and other Woodland Station projects, the new auditorium at Charis Bible College, and the new extended care facility next to the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital, all funneling traffic onto Hwy. 24, the problem seems likely to get worse before it gets better.
Over 27,000 average annual daily trips were made through downtown Woodland Park on Hwy. 24 in 2013. Woodland Park is expected to grow from its current population of about 7,200 to around 12,600. Traffic delays, difficulty making left turns, safety concerns, noise, pollution, and difficulties for pedestrians are predicted to get worse.