A recent fatality at the intersection of North Gate Boulevard and Colo. 83 has been a reminder of traffic problems on North Gate, especially where it interacts with the Discovery Canyon Campus.
The four-lane boulevard lies between the Flying Horse subdivision where many of the school's students live and the elementary, middle and high school they attend. Under other circumstances, students living in the neighborhood would walk to school but instead they are bused to and from school.
Larry Larson, DCC campus security, said the school has crossing guards at some of the smaller streets such as Silverton Road at the east end of the campus, but there are no crossing guards anywhere on North Gate.
DCC High School Principal Jim Bailey said the school has been working with Colorado Springs to find a safe solution for children crossing North Gate.
“It's a four-lane street, there are no crosswalks and no traffic control devices so the city said no to crossing guards,” he said. “That's why we bus kids across. The street is most dangerous to our elementary and middle school kids.”
“It's weird to live across the street and have to take the bus,” said Sean Flaherty, DCC parent and member of the campus' Parent Involvement Team. “It happens all the time because of major streets.”
Bailey acknowledges that some children are crossing the busy street. “Unfortunately, without crossing guards and signals we have no way to control where children cross once they leave the campus,” he said. “Obviously we're all looking for ways to fix the problem.”
He said he expects less traffic on North Gate when Powers Boulevard is completed to I-25 but he isn't completely sure that will help.
“The big question is the Bass Pro Shop,” Bailey said. “What is the access there going to look like? Development of that whole area is a mystery to me but I would guess that most of the traffic on North Gate is coming from 83. There isn't a lot of industry to draw people to North Gate otherwise. If Powers is built as it has been in other areas with overpasses, traffic on North Gate should improve.”
Even with less traffic there is another issue.
“The kids have to have something to cross to,” he said. “From the campus where Old North Gate and new North Gate meet there are no sidewalks. The students would have to cross Old North Gate and then new North Gate to get to sidewalks. Once development in that area is complete there will be sidewalks on both sides but that will take time.”
Flaherty expects traffic to get worse before it gets better.
“When they open the Bass Pro we're going to see a lot more traffic,” he said. “Even if we could agree on installing traffic control devices I'm not sure where we would put them.”
Flaherty and Bailey each said they will continue working with Colorado Springs traffic engineers to find a safe solution to the problem.