COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Shopping, dining, tourists and a festive atmosphere are hallmarks of Old Colorado City on the western end of Colorado Avenue.
But speeding drivers, lack of parking and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists are the biggest concerns city officials have about the busy corridor.
As a result, officials are undertaking the Midland Corridor Transportation Study to solicit feedback about ideas that could improve safety and make visiting the area more pleasant for tourists and residents of the adjacent neighborhood.
City officials emphasized Monday that they haven't reached a consensus about what changes to make. However, one idea that seems to be catching on is to remove a lane of traffic in each direction on West Colorado Ave. and add bike lanes.
The city began taking public input last month and will continue doing so through the end of this week, with hopes of creating an action plan and determining cost estimates by the end of the year.
The area targeted for improvements on West Colorado Ave. is between Cimino Avenue (the entrance to America the Beautiful Park) and 31st Street.
Sara Vaas is vice president of the Old Colorado City Partnership, an organization representing businesses and residential neighbors. She said she likes the idea to remove two lanes of traffic on West Colorado Ave.
"We have motorcycles speeding through here and it's hard to sit outside on the patio and eat your lunch," she said. "And the limited parking makes people reluctant to come here and shop. So we're asking for ideas to improve the situation."
Tim Roberts, the city's transportation planning manager, said that the city is receiving many responses and is giving citizens more time to submit their ideas.
"It's a very important corridor for us," he said. "Our data shows that current and future traffic volumes of 18,000 vehicles don't support having four lanes and a center turn lane there. So we'll be looking at many options."
Roberts also said that another goal of the study is to determine exactly what West Colorado Ave. is.
"Is it a roadway that serves U.S. 24 traffic? Is it an economic development corridor that provides business access? Is it a corridor that connects downtown Colorado Springs with Manitou Springs? Or is it a neighborhood? We need the public's help in determining that."
The city is considering expanding bike access to the corridor, which may include adding more bike rental stations and filling the gap on the nearby Midland Trail between 21st and 25th street.
"After a second public meeting next month, we hope to have the study finished and an action plan developed by the end of the year," Roberts said. "Then we can have a cost estimate ready for the next round of Pikes Peak Rural Transit Authority projects."
The city has at least two safety projects planned for the West Side -- a roundabout at the intersection of 31st and Fontanero Streets, and a pedestrian/bicycle-activated crossing signal at the intersection of 31st Street and Pikes Peak Avenue.
For more information about the study, visit: https://coloradosprings.gov/project/midland-corridor-transportation-study.