Pilot program designed to enhance visitor experience
Following a transportation study conducted earlier this year, the Garden of the Gods Foundation and the City of Colorado Springs’ Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department will partner in implementing a free public shuttle this summer in Garden of the Gods Park. The optional shuttle will be offered for approximately 90 days between the end of May and beginning of September, which is when the park experiences the greatest number of visitors. An estimated 5.8 million people visited the park in 2017.
“Launching the shuttle system this summer is part of our incremental approach to apply small-scale pilot programs to gauge impact and measure feedback on utilization patterns,” said Kim King, parks and recreation manager. “We know we won’t have all the answers right away, but because we want to increase alternative ways to experience the garden, it’s critically important to test programs like this shuttle.”
The shuttle fleet will be comprised of two 14-passenger vans that will take approximately 30 minutes to complete a three-stop loop at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center and the intersection of Gateway Road and Juniper Way Loop, which connects to a trail into the Central Garden zone. To accommodate parking for shuttle users, a temporary parking lot with the capacity to hold 400 vehicles will be constructed near the intersection of 30th Street and Gateway Drive at Rock Ledge Ranch. Shuttles will depart the free Rock Ledge Ranch parking lot approximately every 15 minutes daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Adventures Out West – which currently offers guided, purchasable jeep, Segway and trolley tours from the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center – will manage and operate the shuttle. It will be funded by both the Garden of the Gods Foundation, a 501(c)(3) created in 1994 to preserve and maintain the park, and the parks department. The foundation also owns and operates the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center.
Shuttle users will be encouraged to participate in a text-based survey to share their feedback. Additional information will be available at gardenofthegods.com and coloradosprings.gov/gogtransportationstudy.
The transportation study, funded by the Garden of the Gods Foundation, was conducted by Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. In addition to the study, the Parks department also sought feedback from residents in March about proposed ways to alleviate congestion, enhance access and reduce emissions.