Would a roundabout make this downtown Colorado Springs intersection safer?

William Jackson Palmer statue in Colorado Springs
David Zalubowski/AP
Traffic flows past the statue of William Jackson Palmer, a Civil War general, railroad tycoon and founder of Colorado Springs, Colo., late Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.

Changes could be coming to an intersection in Colorado Springs noted for the statue in the middle of the road. The city has launched a feasibility study to determine the potential benefits of a roundabout at Nevada and Platte Avenues, where a statue of city founder General William Palmer sits proudly atop his horse Diablo.

The city said the intersection sees 14,500 vehicles traveling north and south on Nevada Avenue daily. Platte Avenue serves 11,500 east and westbound vehicles. Data shows the statue has proven difficult for drivers to navigate. 

According to Todd Frisbie with the Colorado Springs Traffic Engineering department, close to half of the crashes at the spot between 2018 and 2022 involved drivers trying to turn left into on-coming traffic where visibility would have likely been impacted by the statue. Of those, nine resulted in an injury. There was one fatal crash at the site.

Last year, the city began prohibiting left-hand turns onto North Nevada from Platte.

A petition calling for the roundabout  that recently began circulating online has several hundred signatures.

"This is a common-sense change and would vastly improve this intersection and the entire downtown. It is long past time that we address the statue in the middle of the road," the petition reads.

The petition cites a 2006 study from the Federal Highway Administration that found roundabouts can lead to a nearly 40 percent decrease in crashes and a more than 75 percent reduction in injury crashes.

Frisbie estimated the roundabout could cost between $2.5 and $3.5 million, an amount he said could be limiting. The statue was installed in 1929 and funded by private citizens.