Meeting Monday night hopes to address transportation issues at Garden of the Gods

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs' most well-known park has become even more popular in recent years.

But if you've ever taken visiting friends or family to Garden of the Gods on a weekend, you know that's not necessarily good news.

The city says there's been a spike in tourism over the last few years, and with that has come fewer parking spots and more congestion on the trails. And unless you happen to prefer driving around looking for parking to walking around admiring the scenery -- it's a problem.

Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation conducted a study last summer about transportation at the park after getting negative feedback from staff and rangers. In 2017, nearly 6 million people visited.

To help alleviate the congestion, the city is thinking about adding more parking, a new ADA-accessible trail and a shuttle service. With the proposal for a shuttle service also comes the matter of how to pay for it.

"We've talked about is it something where there might be a fee associated with a shuttle," said Colorado Springs Recreation Manager Kim King. "We've looked at whether or not there could be some kind of funding, either from a private entity -- could it be contracted?"

The shuttle service would take people from the visitor's center to Rock Ledge Ranch and other areas of the park.

Before anything is implemented, King and others who work for the city's Park and Recreation say they really want to hear what the community thinks. The public is invited to a meeting Monday night at the Westside Community Center in West Bijou from 5:30-7.

One local said she thought a shuttle would be beneficial on the weekends.

"Weekdays aren't so bad," Monica Traw said.

Sara Dement, visiting for just her second time, said that with how spread out the park was, she saw the benefits of a shuttle.

"I know we parked on the other side and then we had to walk all the way down, so I could see [a shuttle] being really functional, especially with a baby."

That's the kind of feedback city officials are hoping to get at the Monday night meeting.

"Not just from a resident's but from a visitor's perspective: what would they maybe look for to help them better experience the park to help them access it easier?" King said.

Based on feedback at the meeting, King said the city would decide whether they do some small pilot projects "just to kind of experience it on a very small scale" how much a shuttle and extra parking would actually be used.

Again, that meeting is from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Westside Community Center.