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Parking permits and shuttles considered as arena project moves forward

Posted at 6:56 PM, Jan 07, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS – If everything goes according to schedule, the CC Tigers Hockey team could be celebrating their goals in a brand new $39 million ice arena on campus during 2021 season.

The college hosted a neighborhood meeting over the weekend to announce their plans to build Robson Ice Arena on land it owns at Dale and Tejon Streets.   College officials and their land development contractors were on hand to answer questions and gather public feedback. The biggest concern raised by many neighbors was parking.

Rather than build a large lot on site, traffic engineer Todd Frisbie of Felsburg Holt & Ullevig told the crowd that he believes the best approach is to use a dispersed parking model. Hockey fans would park in smaller campus lots, on-street spaces, and in private lots around the neighborhood. Frisbie explained that by spreading things out, traffic jams won’t be as bad after the games.

“When you spread that parking out, you can spread out the traffic as well,” he said.

The dispersed parking model proposed in plans for the new Robson Ice Arena calls for hockey fans to park in smaller lots on the Colorado College campus, in public spaces on nearby streets, and in private lots around the neighborhood.

That idea was met with some skepticism. Wendy Mike lives in the neighborhood and serves on the board at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church which is located across the street from the construction site. She was one of many neighbors who raised concerns about parking and the impact of this development on the neighborhood character.

“People do live and work in this neighborhood and have been for many, many years,” she said. “I haven’t heard how that’s going to be accommodated.”

Chris Coulter, the Facilities Services Director for CC, thanked her for her comments.

“What you are talking about is absolutely what the college wants to be a part of,” Coulter said. He adding that he wants this development to enhance the fabric of the community and that only happens with strong participation from neighbors.

One solution may be to issue residential permits similar to how Manitou Springs enforces parking during peak tourism months.  City Council President Pro Tempore Jill Gaebler explained that city code already allows permits for neighborhoods where they are requested. Such a move wouldn’t even require council approval.

Another option would be to add a shuttle service to city-owned parking garages downtown.   Gaebler pointed out that the development is still in the very early stages of this process.

“Council will ultimately have to approve the development plan and if there isn’t parking alotted for the project, then they would have to request a variance,” she said.

Saturday’s meeting was the first of five public events planned for early 2019 surrounding the ice arena development. The project is slated to go before the review board and the City Council later this summer.

The next public meeting will be held Saturday, January 19th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Tutt Library on the Colorado College Campus.