Residents along Buffalo Park Road would prefer that additional parking planned at Alderfer/3 Sisters Open Space Park be large enough to accommodate all vehicles rather than continuing to allow …
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Residents along Buffalo Park Road would prefer that additional parking planned at Alderfer/3 Sisters Open Space Park be large enough to accommodate all vehicles rather than continuing to allow parking on the busy road.
They voiced their concerns at a recent Jefferson County Open Space meeting that cars parked long Buffalo Park Road make it hazardous for drivers, and they say in an emergency, evacuation would be gridlocked if cars are parked on the road. They asked if vehicles could be towed, but a look at Jeffco requirements says a notice must be on a car for 72 hours before towing can occur.
Jefferson County Open Space, which owns the 1,123-acre park that has 16 miles of hiking trails, is planning to increase parking in the lots at the two entrances on Buffalo Park Road to 150, doubling the current number of available spaces.
Couple that with 39 spaces available at Wilmot Elementary School when school is not in session and potentially keeping 46 spots available along Buffalo Park Road, and the park would come much closer to accommodating the high volume of people coming to the park, JCOS officials said.
The west parking lot is expected to be redesigned this year with construction in 2022, and the east parking lot would be designed in 2022 with construction in 2023.
JCOS is planning to move the west entrance from LeMasters Road to Buffalo Park Road and to create a 115-space parking lot east of the current lot, which will be returned to a meadow. This will put the parking lot closer to the planned restrooms and prevent people from parking along LeMasters, officials said.
The east entrance parking lot will double in size, though planners are now sure what that will look like.
JCOS Executive Director Tom Hoby told eight residents that JCOS was navigating the push and pull of local interests versus visitors who want to enjoy the park.
Nancy York, JCOS' planning supervisor, told the group that the vast majority of comments about the parking-expansion proposal favored the work, with commenters continuing to voice concern about Buffalo Park Road parking.
York said JCOS was looking at other options to “flatten the parking bell curve” with some being piloted at other parks that are overused: parking reservations, timed entry, and special entry for those using means other than cars to get to the park such as walking, riding bikes or taking public transit.
She noted that the Evergreen Local Improvement District had as a priority project creating safe alternatives from Highway 73 to the park.
Residents also were concerned about whether the parking lots would be paved, noting that horses needed a softer surface as they leave trailers, and they suggested permeable pavers rather than asphalt to help with drainage.
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