This article was posted yesterday on the Gazette's website outlining the Incline rules: http://articles.outtherecolorado.com/articles/ready-2175-criminals-scofflaws.html
There are a few rules that are posted in the article (and that have also been posted on the new sign at the bottom of Incline) that have never been followed, will probably continue to not be followed, and I question the importance of these rules:
1.) "Uphill access only. Help keep trail traffic jams to a minimum by descending on Barr Trail." I see people going down the Incline all the time. Often, people who want to get a super-punishing workout by going up and down the Incline multiple times go up and down the Incline to save time. The article seems to mention that the reasoning behind this rule is that people going down the Incline cause "traffic jams", but even on the busiest days I have not noticed any "jams" caused by people descending. Occasionally one steps to one side to let another pass, but this does not create any conflict or unsafe conditions. There are just as many such "jams" created via the ascent when people have to pass one another on the narrower sections.
2.) "No dogs allowed. Waste became a serious concern on the trail, as did the potential of injuries from off-leash and leashed dogs." I am not a dog-person (in fact, I'm a cat-person), but I know that dog owners have always loved bringing their pets along on the Incline and I want to stick up for them. I have personally only witnessed responsible handling of dogs by their owners and have never seen any harm caused by dogs on the Incline. I have seen a few instances of waste not picked up and owners need to take of that business a bit better, but it's pretty draconian to ban dogs altogether.
3.) "Hours are dawn to dusk. Pre-dawn car doors and hikers’ head lamps disturb neighbors, and is it really safe to be 2,000 feet up a steep trail in the dark?" Yes, it's safe if you bring a headlamp; I've done it many times. I know one of probably many people who regularly train for the Pikes Peak Ascent by doing the Incline twice in the pre-dawn morning before going into work on a weekday. If one is working a full day, doing the Incline before or after dark (especially in the wintry months) is a necessity. I've also done dayhikes up Pikes Peak via the Incline as well, and a pre-dawn departure is a necessity for that. What's more, the Barr Trail parking lot is available for pre-dawn hikers (also a necessity for doing a day-hike of Pikes via Barr), so why not at least allow people who park at the Barr Trail Lot to hike the Incline pre-dawn? They've just added a nice connecting trail between the lot and the bottom of the Incline, so what additional harm is caused by that? For no one that has ever done it, it's a great experience watching the sun rise over the city from the top of the Incline.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that the Incline is at least legalized, but these 3 rules seem a bit ham-fisted/uncompromising and don't reflect how I typically have seen people enjoying the Incline. Like I said, I still see plenty of dogs, descenders, and early-risers using the Incline and the fact that the article mentions that law enforcement may be used in the future to regulate these rules has me concerned that people may be getting fined for doing what they've been used to doing. I think of the Incline as more of a mountain trailhead and feel like it's trying to be regulated more as a city park. It's hovering somewhere in the middle, I suppose. Has anyone on this site sat in on the public meetings when these rules were being hammered out? I'd be interested to hear your 2 cents.
One more thing I should highlight from the article that I found interesting: Parking along Ruxton Ave. is eventually going to be metered. I foresee parking in downtown Manitou Springs becoming more congested once that happens!