Once upon a time, if you lived in Village Seven and worked downtown, you could make that drive either way in 10 minutes. Without even really breaking the law — just going 40 in a 35.
That was in the late 1970s, and those days, sadly, have gone the way of Sea-Monkeys. But that doesn't mean our fate is to sit in stop-and-go traffic on Woodmen Road, Austin Bluffs Parkway, Platte Avenue or Fountain Boulevard. There are other, lesser-known options for going east to west, or vice versa.
This feels a little like revealing a secret fishing hole. But in the interest of being good neighbors, here are some routes to consider:
• Palmer Park Boulevard-Uintah Street: My wife insists this is by far the best way from, say, Powers Boulevard to the west side, even around rush hours. It's a tight four-lane street in places. But the lights aren't that plentiful, and the waits are tolerable. Stay on Palmer Park west of Union Boulevard, and it juts to the southwest before intersecting Uintah, where a right turn sends you onward.
• Constitution Avenue: It's so easy to forget Constitution, whether you're heading west from Powers or Academy boulevards. But it often has light traffic, because it doesn't seem to go anywhere west of Union, even though it does. Where it dead-ends (just north of Patty Jewett Golf Course), veer left onto Paseo Road and south to either Fontanero Street or further to Uintah.
• Hancock Expressway: Not really an expressway at all, but if you're around Widefield or the airport, it's shorter and often faster than going north on Academy and then west. Main Street northward out of Widefield turns into Hancock (north of Drennan Road), goes through Academy and then works northwestward (going underneath Circle Drive). Turn west wherever you choose.
• Maizeland Road-Circle Drive-Fillmore Street: Perfect if you're heading more to the northwest. Most drivers don't even think of turning west off Academy onto Maizeland, which dead-ends at North Circle. Turn right, stay on Circle until it hits Union, and voila, now you're on Fillmore, often faster than other routes (especially at busy times).
• Airport Road-Printers Parkway-Pikes Peak Avenue: You're coming back from Powers (either Peterson Air Force Base or the airport itself), it's rush hour, and there's a jam on Platte or Fountain. Just go to Airport Road and turn west. It runs straight from Powers to Academy, onward to Circle. Just before reaching Memorial Park, you can turn northwest on Printers Parkway, which takes you up to Pikes Peak. From there, you're going straight into downtown.
• Galley Road-Cache la Poudre Street: Yet another way westward from Powers. It's a straight shot all the way to Academy, then on through Circle, where Galley actually becomes Cache la Poudre. At Union, after a quick right-left, you can make it to Nevada or Cascade avenues.
They all might sound complicated. But they're not. Even if you can't get from Village Seven to downtown in 10 minutes, you'll enjoy feeling smarter than the average Colorado Springs driver.