MANITOU SPRINGS — The Manitou Incline closed in mid-March to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. As the state begins the process to reopen, a proposal by the City of Manitou Springs suggests putting a paid reservation system in place to help limit the traffic on the Incline and the area surrounding it.
"With the current [COVID-19] issue and with past capacity problems, we could easily change the per hour incline user limit at a touch of a button," the proposal states.
In an average year, the city says the Incline sees over 300,000 people who visit "one of the most challenging recreation sites in the nation." City leaders have evaluated the Incline's impact to congestion, parking, enforcement and other concerns, according to the proposal.
A paid reservation system is being considered to help alleviate the congestion on Ruxton Avenue for those who are visiting the Incline, to prepare for the return of the Cog Railway and to continue efforts of social distancing. The reservation system would help initially to "manage the number of users to maintain social distancing" and to manage the number of people using shuttles to keep distance between parties.
The plan outlines allowing 25 to 49 hikers on the Incline per hour during the safer-at-home order. Gov. Jared Polis is expected to address the order Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. since it is set to expire. News5 will be streaming this live on air and online.
Under consideration in the reservation system would be to charging visitors a daily fee of $5 to $10 or issue multi-use and annual passes for residents. The revenue from these fees would go toward costs to "operate, maintain and manage the Incline as well as other Park and Recreation systems."
The city council will review this proposal Tuesday night during its council meeting.