Ute Pass Regional Trail–UPDATE

Ute Pass Regional Trail–UPDATE

UPDATE October 14:

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 (Glenn voted no) on October 13th to endorse the Ute Pass Regional Trail Master Plan as recommended by the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board. We are very pleased that the Commissioners recognized the importance of this trail connection to the entire county and its residents. the Ute Pass Regional Trail is a vital link in the completion of the Ring the Peak Trail system.

Action steps now include:

  • Initiate design development phase of Trail alignment #4–Frontage road, Chipita Park Road, Colorado Springs Utilities property, CO Department of Transportation (CDOT) right of way.
  • Pursue development of Ute Pass Regional Trail head within CDOT right of way adjacent to Spring Street (Just north of the Pikes Peak Hwy exit from US 24)
  • Continue to pursue US Forest Service trail connections which may involve private trail easements.
  • Install Trailhead signage  to encourage usage of existing area trails.
  • Encourage CDOT to provide bicycle lanes on US 24 as part of the Governor’s Biking Infrastructure Improvement Plan.
  • Make related safety and buffer improvements along US 24 right of way.

 

The Ute Pass Regional Trail is a bit closer to completion after a unanimous vote of support yesterday (Oct 7) by the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board. After hearing from  the opposition at last month’s meeting, the  Parks Board questioned County Parks staff’s suggested alignment and asked for additional process and information. Yesterday Parks Staff promised to do its best to address design concerns with neighbors as the trail goes forward, and to look for opportunities to connect with recreational trails in the National Forest. The BoCC is expected to make a final decision on Tuesday October 13th. Please come to the meeting and ask the Commissioners to approve the Parks Advisory Board recommendation. The item is near the end of the agenda for that day.

Board of County Commissioners (“BOCC”) Meeting
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 9:00 AM
Centennial Hall Auditorium
200 S. Cascade Avenue

The El Paso County Parks Board had voted unanimously on Sept 9th to “shelve” the Ute Regional Trail project and asked parks staff to hold one additional public meeting, and try harder to find a preferred alignment that takes the trail away from a high-traffic road.

The “preferred” route is not scenic–it’s along Highway 24–but it seemed that it was the best chance to get a trail connecting Manitou Springs and Woodland Park. The Parks Board decided that staff needs to try harder to find a trail route that takes in the natural beauty of the area rather than the road.

Completing the 11-mile Ute Pass Regional Trail is a TOSC priority and a part of El Paso County Parks’ Master Plan. Closing the 5-mile gap between Longs Ranch Road and Ute Pass Elementary School in Chipita Park is one step closer to achieving the goal. After numerous public meetings, a “preferred route” for that gap has been chosen and is now available for you to read and comment.

TOSC has been advocating for the preferred route. It’s not the most scenic of the four choices, but it is the one that we think has the best chance of getting completed. The other options have private ownership challenges and big construction costs.

More info and links to the draft Master Plan at this link.

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