Bike lanes, more medians and more stoplights could all help slow down traffic on north Main Avenue, according to consultants working for the city.
A conceptual map of north Main, showing both jaywalking hot spots and potential street improvements, lined the walls at Carver Brewing Co. on Tuesday, and residents were invited to leave notes on maps.
The maps with potential ideas were prepared by Alta Planning + Design, and the problems and solutions were compiled based on meetings with business owners and Durango School District 9-R staff members, said Cheryl Sharp, a senior engineer with Alta. The consultants are designing a plan that will address north Main from 14th Street to Animas View Drive.
Some residents were excited by the prospect of safer bicycle lanes and more opportunities to safely cross the street.
“When I ride my bicycle there, I’m always checking my mirror and looking over my shoulder, which isn’t the safest thing,” said Antonia Clark, who is the president of the Business Improvement District board of directors.
Improved bike lanes could separate bikes from traffic by planters, parked cars or flexible poles. But they could also narrow the lanes on the highway slightly.
The lanes were one of many conceptual ideas floated at the open house, that also included HAWK (high-intensity activated crosswalk) lights triggered by pedestrians, like the one outside River City Hall.
The city currently does not have the funding to implement the entire mobility plan, but city staff will be applying for grants to help build the projects, said Amber Blake, transportation and sustainability director.
The mobility plan is funded by the Sonoran Institute, and it will be completed in July. But it is only one piece of the city’s larger vision for a revitalized corridor.
Slowing traffic down and creating a safer pedestrian atmosphere is logical place to start because it can encourage private businesses to design more appealing storefronts instead of street-facing parking lots, Blake said in an earlier interview.
But a few improvements for north Main are already in the works.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning to replace the traffic lights at 22nd and 32nd streets in the next few years. The state agency plans to work with the city in redesigning the intersections.
Attendees Cari Powell and Roseann McDermott, who live near north Main, were both happy these are on the docket for safety improvements because they see so many Durango High School students use the 22nd Street intersection.
More stoplights, in general, would help solve the rampant jaywalking problem along the corridor, Sharp said.
But John Monroe, a local marketing consultant, urged caution because while the street improvements and bike lanes sound good, the noise and sound pollution may deter people from using them.
“They are problems that need to be addressed,” he said.