The city of Durango has a few ideas about how to improve pedestrian safety on north Main Avenue, but it wants to hear from residents first.
The city is considering five different options for a new pedestrian crossing near the intersection of 30th Street and north Main Avenue. It’s an area where no crossings exist for a quarter-mile along the busy road.
Residents can weigh in on the crossing project until Feb. 26, and so far, they’re split between prioritizing students, businesses, transit and resident needs.
“I am very excited this is finally happening!” said Kristiana, who did not share her last name on the city’s survey. “There are so many of us that live in this part of town and walk/ride a lot and it’s treacherous trying to get across Main. Thank you.”
The area around the 30th Street intersection is home to a school, several hotels, transit stops, north City Market, residential neighborhoods and restaurants such as Bird’s, Zia Taqueria and Taco Bell.
Vehicles tend to speed up between 27th Street and 32nd Street without crossings and stop lights to slow them down. Pedestrians and cyclists, meanwhile, have no easy place to cross along the same stretch – making access to nearby businesses, services and the Animas River Trail more precarious.
Durango, along with the Colorado Department of Transportation, intend to install handicapped-accessible curb ramps, a beacon or a signal, and a median near 30th Street and north Main Avenue.
The project aims to increase visibility, reduce traffic speeds, improve access and increase driver awareness, according to the city’s 30th Street Connect webpage.
With diagrams and pro/con lists, the city has outlined options for three mid-block crossings and two crossings at the 30th Street intersection.
About 60 people had weighed in on the options in an anonymous survey as of Jan. 11. Residents can find the survey on the city’s 30th Street Connect webpage.
About 13 people said student safety should be the top consideration because Mountain Middle School is nearby. A crossing might shift school-year traffic into neighborhoods or cause more traffic jams, some said.
Fewer than 10 people said the city needed to watch out for negative impacts on businesses: A median or pedestrian refuge might make it difficult for vehicles to turn into and out of restaurants.
One crossing option, on the north side of the 30th Street and north Main Avenue intersection, was the most popular. The crossing would address pedestrian safety for students and others while minimally impacting businesses. But it might also make some turns more difficult for drivers.
Overall, almost everyone agreed: Improving pedestrian safety along north Main Avenue needed to be a priority.
“Whatever can be done to slow the traffic or make it obvious to stop will need to be done for a non-intersection crossing,” one person said.