Folks in Woodmoor are upset. The focus of the snit is 350 feet of dirt with a big steel gate in the middle.
This is no small time quarrel. Woodmoor is one of the largest unincorporated communities in Colorado with 3,000 homes, a lake and golf course. Traffic is a big deal.
And so is the Doewood Gate.
The strip of dirt connects the northern and southern sections of Doewood Drive. It’s a right-of-way established in 1996 when the area was developing.
The dirt and the gate were built to allow Doewood to be completed as a north-south through road once the neighborhood was fully built and traffic volumes made the connection necessary.
In November 2009, the county transportation folks took ownership of the roads as the Doewood Estates was deemed completed. And they started making plans to complete Doewood and open it.
The folks who live on Doewood were not happy. They don’t want the estimated 650 cars a day traffic engineers say would use Doewood once it is opened.
They collected 118 signatures on a petition to convince the El Paso County Commission to keep Doewood as is. In fact, they want the gate removed, the dirt plowed and seeded and the land deeded to adjacent neighbors, forever ending the Doewood Gate Debate.
Folks who live on the streets around Doewood are equally passionate about the gate.
They want the dirt paved and the gate removed. They are tired of commuters using their side streets to reach County Line Road on their way to Interstate 25.
They circulated their own petition and collected 160 signatures.
Experts who studied the question for the county concluded the road should be opened. They say emergency vehicles will have quicker response times to crimes, fires and medical emergencies.
And access will make increase the safety on surrounding streets they say were not designed for all that traffic.
They also recommend Doewood be smoothed of a dangerous curve and that it be widened and resurfaced. Cost estimates are around $600,000.
The county will take up the issue during an informal work session and then before the formal board in May.
I’m expecting fireworks.
WHAT: Board of County Commission work session
WHEN: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., May 17
WHERE: County Office Building, 27 E. Vermijo Ave. downtown, Third Floor, Commission Hearing Room
NOTE: No formal action is taken during work sessions. The commission is scheduled to formally consider the Doewood Gate issue at its May 24 meeting.
In 1996, the El Paso County Planning Commission made provivisions for the completion of Doewood Drive. But it held out the possibility it might never be built as a through-street:
Click here to read a 16-page report prepared in March.
Read an extensive study of the traffic patterns and the impact of opening the gate.
In January 2010, the county hosted a standing-room-only public meeting. Here is the presentation made at the meeting.