On Tuesday, August 28th, the Granby Board of Trustees had a workshop on traffic calming measures that could be implemented along the ¾ mile downtown stretch of Highway 40/Agate Avenue. The ultimate goal is to make the downtown more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly and several options were presented for consideration.
Jeff Wood and Krista Flint, from CU-Denver’s Technical Assistance Program, funded by DOLA, gave a presentation of the initial concepts of several options they had put together for the town. The options ranged from narrowing or reducing lanes to creatively placed medians and bulb-outs. Depending upon what the Town selects, the costs vary from minimal to million(s).
Wood told the Board that they had taken measurements throughout downtown and found Highway 40 to be generally 76-77’ across, from curb to curb, and, the town’s current four lanes each measure 12’ across. Flint told the Trustees “CDOT recommends 11’ lanes, so by narrowing the lanes, the town could easily add a one-way bike lane”. Recognizing that it is a busy road, the proposed bike lane would be placed “between the parking lane and sidewalk, for rider safety”.
Another consideration is placement of mid-block medians which would allow turns only at intersections. Placement mid-block in the center “suicide lane” would help slow traffic and give pedestrians safe harbor when crossing the street. Town Manager, Aaron Blair, provided the Trustees with a map showing proposed locations for mid-block placement.
CDOT reports that US 40 through the town of Granby sees about 9,000 travelers per day, and, two thru-lanes are not required in towns with less than 20,000 per day. This gives the Trustees the option to re-evaluate the necessity of four lanes. Reducing the number of lanes would cut down the distance pedestrians have to cross, but since the lanes are already there, CDOT would require a pretty good explanation as to why the town would want to remove one or both lanes. However, “the result is you end up with a true downtown Main Street”, said Blair.
Reduction of one or both extra lanes would allow the Town to utilize the additional space for parking, a two-way bike path and more design features such as benches, flower planters, etc. These options would take some time to complete, where others, like re-striping, could be accomplished much sooner.
Blair told the Trustees the purpose of the workshop was to start the conversation. The Trustees did not hesitate to give well-thought commentary and insight on the options presented.
Trustee O’Flaherty stated that with “4 schools and a pre-school, having two bike lanes would be one of the nicest things we can do for our town”. She went on to say it achieves connectivity and improves the quality of life and would be an overall benefit to residents and visitors. “People want to be downtown”, said O’Flaherty.
Trustee Raible said “This is fantastic. How do the bulbouts stand up to snow plows?” Wood told him “Not good, the plows dislike them”. His recommendation is to create the bulb-outs on one side of the road, eliminating some of the hassle. Wood told the Trustees that most mountain towns have them, and, when polled, have stated they would keep them.
Reduction of the lanes to 11’ was recognized to be a fairly easy fix and helpful in reducing speeds. Drivers tend to act more cautiously when there are various features throughout and feel they need to pay attention.
The Trustees did indicate a level of concern for traffic, if there was a need to close a lane. Wood described a similar project in Lamar, where they had closed a lane during construction. “No one complained”, said Wood, and, “some found ways to go around”. A “traffic accident would be about the only thing to cause a slow-down”, said Wood.
Both Wood and Flint stated that a bypass is not a good solution for the Town to consider, if the focus is to attract visitors to the downtown.
Knowing this is just the initial discussion, there’s still a long way to go before any decisions are made. “This is not the kind of thing to rush into”, said Blair.
Overall, the Trustees favored bike lanes, keeping businesses accessible with no full block median placement, friendly, pedestrian safety features such as mid-block medians, and slowing people down through engineering as the main goals of the project. They were also open to looking into elimination of one of the eastbound lanes through town, since it already narrows to a single lane just before the bridge. “Make the town, instead of the road, the dominant feature”, said Wood. “We want to proceed with what you want.” The Trustees will continue to discuss the project with staff and Wood’s team, and will provide updates as they work through options.
To learn more, visit townofgranby.com.