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Gate blocking public road near UCCS campus raises concern

Gate on Stanton Road links two parts of campus

UCCS students upset about gate on popular shortcut

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Some students at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs are upset about a gate installed on a public road that provides a popular shortcut between two sections of the campus.

Students said the gate, bordered by "road closed"-type barricades, is on Stanton Road and separates the Eagle Rock neighborhood from campus property.

The road connects the West Campus to the Central Campus, students said.

A July 26 article in the campus newsletter reported that the city is installing the gate at the request of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Association, because of concerns about traffic, noise and safety from the growing campus.

Ron Toman, the association's president, said the gate is part of the university's master plan and that the neighborhood approves of it.

"Originally, the university was going to install the gate," Toman said.  "But the city took the lead because (the city) wanted the gate accessible to police, firefighters, other emergency vehicles and university vehicles."

But UCCS spokesman Jared Verner said the university never planned to install or pay for the gate because Stanton Road is a public road.

"We plan to build an interior campus road that will bypass the neighborhood anyway," he said.  "We know traffic is a big concern for them.  We've been asking faculty and staff to not use Stanton Road."

The city plans to contribute one-third of the $1.5 million estimated cost of building the future campus road.

"Because we know that road will ease traffic congestion on Austin Bluffs Parkway and Nevada Avenue around the campus," said Kathleen Krager, city traffic engineering manager.  "That congestion is why Stanton Road was so popular for students."

Toman also said Stanton Road has no sidewalks and the university is concerned about safety for student pedestrians.

Students are upset that the gate is on a public road. 

"If we're going to start building gates in every neighborhood that's upset about traffic, then when is it going to stop?" said student Skyler Digirolamo.  "Who's to say that we're not going to put gates everywhere because it's too loud on my street?  It's not that loud and there aren't many cars."

Students said they would consider the installation of sidewalks on Stanton Road to be an acceptable compromise, but Krager said there are no plans to do that.

"Stanton Road was in the county before it was annexed by the city," she said.  "It was a quiet road and was never meant to handle the traffic it gets now."

Students have organized a petition drive to force the gate's removal.  As of Thursday evening, the petition had 270 signatures toward its goal of 500.

Krager said the gate will cost no more than $20,000 and should be ready by the end of next week, before the start of the fall semester.

Only emergency vehicles and UCCS maintenance vehicles will be allowed to pass through the gate, she said.

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