A new study will look at how to ease traffic by creating more transit connections between communities in Southwest Colorado.
"This is about issues related more to regional services, not local," said A.T. Stoddard, an engineer with LSC Transportation Consultants, which has been hired to conduct the study. He led a brainstorming session Wednesday night at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. "Whatever happens has to fit on transit systems that already exist."
About 10 people attended Wednesday's meeting. The Region 9 Economic Development District is coordinating the study, which is paid for by a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and several local governmental entities, including Durango.
"I drive around to a variety of nurseries," Steven DiSanto said. "From Aztec to Durango, Mancos to Durango and Bayfield to Durango are the most congested sections." DiSanto would also like to see a route that provides transportation from Durango West, where he lives, into town.
Some of the attendees came to advocate routes for specific populations. Lynn Urban, the director of the Southwest Campus of Pueblo Community College, said that she has students who come from Cortez and Mancos for all-day classes in programs such as nursing. Some form of transit would make it easier for those students to make their commute.
"Speaking for Durango, I hear a lot of wanting routes from Hesperus, Hermosa, Elmore's Corner and Edgemont," said Kent Harris with Durango Transit.
Other suggestions were routes from Aztec or Farmington, Cortez and Pagosa Springs. If an industrial park is built around the Durango-La Plata County Airport, transit to and from there might be a good idea some people said.
Because one deterrent to people using transit systems is the need to transfer from a regional carrier to a local one, other people thought that asking every transit system to have bicycle racks might be a good idea.
Harris said the Durango Transit Center, which is now under construction on Eighth Street, will have space to store 150 bikes.
Some solutions were as easy as coordinating radio technology between Durango Transit and Roadrunner Transit so they could make it easy to transfer where the two systems intersect. Harris said that Durango's going to 800 megahertz radios and is encouraging Roadrunner to do the same, so drivers can communicate.
"We need to get traffic off of the 550/160 joint corridor," Dick White with the Sustainability Alliance said. "Park 'n Rides at either end with constant shuttles from both might work, or parking garages at the Transit Center and maybe another at the north end of Main and another in Grandview. Maybe we could make transit more attractive by showing people it's a way to save time and money, possibly by dedicating a lane through Bodo."