In September, city engineers riled up residents of Parker Street in the Mesa Springs neighborhood when they unveiled plans for rerouting Chestnut Street to unclog a dangerous intersection with Fillmore Street and Interstate 25.
Back to the drawing board they went and now they are back with refined plans.
The new design for the Chestnut Street Bypass will be formally unveiled at a public meeting scheduled 5-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the El Paso County Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods, Room 1019. (Use the west entrance.)
Hopefully it won’t get testy like the September meeting.
Folks were cranky because the original design showed Parker becoming a cul de sac with a poorly thought-out access lane for two houses stuck at the end.
Some felt the city had yanked them around, telling them one day to look for a new house because they were in the path of the bypass; then they were told later they were staying put.
Some felt the city was ignoring their need to be able to park in front of their homes.
A couple homeowners pleaded to be bought out by the city because they are convinced the project will ruin their property values and they would rather move than get left behind.
It seems the city has done a better job communicating with neighbors about the revised plan. Those who have seen previews are a tad happier with the new drawings.
In the new plan, there is room for cars to get all the way down Parker and turn around, unlike the original plan.
“It’s better than the previous version,” said Ruth Wagner, whose house will be at the end of Parker Street’s cul de sac.
“We won’t be backing down the street to our house,” she said, referring to the September drawing. “That was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. In this plan, we’ll have a parking area. It’s totally changed.”
Other neighbors echoed Ruth’s opinion that the revised design looks better.
But all seem to dread a year of brain damage once construction starts in the spring with the demolition of seven houses and two gas stations.
When it’s done, some worry about the noise they’ll have to endure from the traffic that will zip up and down the bypass to the large American Furniture Warehouse store to the south.
Others expect to be frustrated at their loss of direct access to Fillmore Street.
Some fear the bypass will be a favorite short-cut route and wonder why the city doesn’t complete the roughed-in southern leg of Centennial Boulevard to Van Buren Street or even to Fontanero Street.
I asked Mike Chaves, acting city engineer, about the neighbors’ concerns. He said the city has tried to respond to all concerns about the bypass.
“We’ve met with most of the residents,” he said. “We want to give everyone a final view to show where we’re headed and hopefully answer any questions.”
I wrote about plans to extend Centennial Boulevard in this 2009 blog.
Follow this link to my September column about the unhappy Parker Street residents.