We hope that the citizens of Colorado Springs will recognize the value of preserving its historic areas. Colorado Springs has some of the best preserved, most beautiful, and largest historic neighborhoods in the country. These are a vital city asset, comparable in value to natural features such as Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. Currently, most of the historic areas in Colorado Springs have extremely serious traffic problems. Modern neighborhoods have cul de sacs, winding narrow roads, and limited access to prevent their use for arterial traffic. Our older neighborhoods have wide straight centrally located streets based on a grid system, making them irresistibly tempting targets for accommodating increased traffic at no direct expense to the city. Modern neighborhoods increasingly are fighting new schools, group homes, apartments, and other development that might increase their traffic by, say, 80,000 cars a year, claming that such an increase endangers their neighborhood. But most of the historic areas in the city already have numerous schools, group homes, and apartments, and receive more than 80,000 cars EVERY DAY. The historic neighborhoods cannot remain healthy if the city continues to trample on the fundamental principles of residential use with its traffic policies.
The historic neighborhoods in Colorado Springs have traditionally been a locus for city leadership and have provided stability during economic downturns. Because of the large military and missionary presence, many Colorado Springs residents are transient, they never get involved in the larger community, many never even visit the older areas to see what “old” Colorado Springs is all about. Such transients cannot provide leadership for Colorado Springs, and they’ll leave when times turn hard. The best thing Colorado Springs can do for the long term is to enhance its older neighborhoods, via sensible traffic policy, so that they can continue to serve their traditional roles in the city. It doesn’t make sense to focus just on new growth to the exclusion of preserving what’s already here – its like stooping to pick up dimes while quarters fall out of your pockets. We hope the North of Downtown Traffic Task Force can participate in building a role model for such traffic policy, implemented successfully in a limited area, which can then be duplicated in historic areas throughout the city.
Traffic Related Efforts Guided by the ONEN Master Plan: