During a half-hour period on Friday afternoon, 44 cars, four walkers and one cyclist used a 3,000-foot stretch of West Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard that cuts between the Broadmoor's golf courses south of the hotel.
That's not much traffic compared to some other city streets. But if a wildland fire broke out to the west, the two-lane road could become a crucial escape route and provide access for heavy firefighting apparatus. And that fact isn't lost on the Broadmoor as it plans to upgrade its courses, with an eye toward attracting some of golf's biggest tournaments.
So even as he asks for permission to make the road generally inaccessible to the public — a step that's called road vacation and needs City Council approval — Broadmoor president and CEO Steve Bartolin Jr. plans to install fencing that can be removed during emergencies. It's a decision inspired by last summer's Waldo Canyon Fire.
"It sure made us focus on it [keeping the roadway available]," he says. "It made us think about it. I think we came up with a great solution to that."
Bartolin doesn't give details, but says the resort's plan calls for removing the pavement while preserving the road bed for use if need be. Details will be outlined at a meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 30, at Broadmoor West; 1,700 people have been invited.
"We wanted to get as many people engaged as we can," Bartolin says. Subsequent meetings scheduled for May 7 and 8 and June 4 and 6, he adds, will give the resort a chance to address resident questions.
Mike Schultz, a planner in the city's Land Use Review Department, says street vacation is a fairly routine procedure: Two applications have been received so far this year, and five were received last year. But, he notes, "Seldom do we see a vacation request for an entire active street," or at least such a long stretch of an active street.
Schultz says the Broadmoor has given the city a "heads-up," though no timetable, on its plans. Once it receives an application, city departments such as police, fire and streets, will be asked to weigh in.
While Fire Chief Rich Brown refused to comment on the prospect of vacating the street, Police Chief Pete Carey said Monday that multiple departments will review plans regarding evacuation needs. He added that the city may hold its own town hall meeting about it.
Hundreds of homes lie west of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, on streets like Old Stage Road and Penrose Boulevard. All are two lanes — unlike Centennial Boulevard and Garden of the Gods Road, four-lane northwest-side streets that were jammed with cars as 26,000 people evacuated last June 26 during the Waldo Canyon Fire. Penrose Boulevard, for example, leads to El Pomar Road, which winds around the hotel through traffic circles.
Along those roads is evidence of changes the Broadmoor has started en route to its 100th anniversary in 2018. "Planned investments" include expansion of the Golden Bee pub; renovation of the Tavern's Garden Room; the opening of a new restaurant/bowling alley/game room called PLAY. Also on the docket is development of a lodge at Cheyenne Mountain's summit called Cloud Camp, and of cabins and a lodge at The Ranch at Emerald Valley, west of the resort.
As for improvements to the Broadmoor's golf courses, the April 30 meeting's invitation states the road closure would help the resort qualify for prestigious tournaments that "significantly contribute to the local economy." The Broadmoor has already hosted the U.S. Women's Open in 1995 and 2011.