Cyclists will now have an easier time navigating two of Durango’s busier intersections.
Where Camino del Rio intersects Ninth Street and College Drive, cyclists can ride within new bright green bike lanes and use painted bike boxes to safely enter the intersection. Two-stage bike boxes allow cyclists to make left turns.
The project is the product of a partnership between Durango’s Multi-Modal Division and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The city had voiced a desire to CDOT to have more organized intersections, said Amber Blake, Durango’s multi-modal administrator.
Because of the traffic volume and commercial activity in the area, the project made complete sense, said Nancy Shanks, spokeswoman with CDOT.
“We are hoping that it will reduce the conflict between cyclists and drivers, and that it will make the road easier for cyclists to navigate,” Blake said.
On Monday, CDOT crews began painting segments of the intersections with bright green paint, defining lanes for bikes only. Crews finished the work Friday.
The bright green paint is designed to heighten motorists’ awareness of cyclists on the road, and it identifies areas of potential conflict.
Motorists are expected to yield to bicyclists at these marked locations.
“I think that it emphasizes the awareness of the fact that bicycles are vehicles, and that everyone has a right to the road,” Blake said.
The colored bike lanes draw more attention to the area where cyclists are riding. Dashed green lines designate a potential conflict zone where vehicles merge right and cross a bike lane to enter a turning lane.
For now, the green bike lanes are located only at the two sections where Camino del Rio intersects Ninth Street and College Drive.
If the new lanes are successful and city has the funds, more green bike lanes will be implemented, Blake said.
When approaching one of the intersections, cyclists will find they can ride within the green lanes to the bike boxes at the head of the traffic lane by the crosswalk.
This allows cyclists to wait safely in a visible space and get through the light first or alongside the vehicles, Shanks said.
The bike boxes help increase the visibility of bicyclists at the traffic lights and minimize obstruction to vehicle traffic.
The two-stage bike boxes were implemented to improve the cyclists’ ability to safely and comfortably make left turns at multi-lane intersections, Blake said.
When cyclists need to turn left, they will enter the safe bike box and wait until the through light turns green, Shanks said.
When the through light turns green, cyclists can finish their left turns.
Instead of making one left turn, cyclists make a two-step movement, she said.
A radar detection system will turn the traffic signal green for cyclists using the bike boxes.