Calming Traffic on 32nd

12/28/2021

Early plans are in the works for a proposed traffic-calming design along 32nd Street, with the goal of improving traffic conditions and reducing traffic infractions. Sponsored by Closets Plus and Happy Pappy’s Pizza and Wings

A new plan is in the works to change the busy 32nd Street corridor to something less like a racetrack, and more like a neighborhood street. The proposed plan will make it easier to travel by foot, bike, or car. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Closets Plus and Happy Pappy's Pizza and Wings. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. 32nd Street well-known as a hotspot of congestion in the summer for river recreation enthusiasts, runs from North City Market to County Road 251. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but many cars zoom past at five or even 10 miles an hour faster than the posted speed limit. Multimodal administrator at Devin King says, "That the roads openness and lack of visual obstruction along the roadway, lulls drivers into a false sense of security, leading to faster driving."

And this project specifically is taking a look at traffic calming. The speed limit on this road is 25 miles per hour, but this road is a little bit different. It handles a lot of traffic, but at the same time, looks a little more residential, it has a lot of driveways, and a lot of houses directly onto the roadway. And then you have this long stretch of just openness for drivers to feel pretty comfortable to go at higher speeds. So just standing out here, I mean, we've seen people go at all different speeds.

The city of Durango's Multimodal Authority met in September to discuss a plan that would make 32nd Street safer for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists who use the main thoroughfare throughout the year.

So what we're looking at on the 32nd Street traffic calming project is we're looking at intermittent medians, so not medians throughout the whole thing, but in certain locations. And then we're also looking at expanded buffered bike lanes. And then we're going to take a look and see what possibilities we have with roundabouts, at a couple of the intersections, like Third and 32nd, and then potentially at Sixth or Seventh and 32nd. The main concerns were just about driveways and being able to, you know, access their driveways, get in and out. And so we've been working a lot with individual property owners to make sure that they're in our access isn't impacted and you know, they're still able to get their cars in and out, but also hopefully we can improve their safety when back in their driveways as other vehicles are coming down the road, especially at busier times, you know.

The idea of traffic calming combines elements like speed deterrence, such as roundabouts and speed bumps with trees and medians to reduce a driver's line of sight. Although narrowing the line of sight may sound dangerous, King said, "The method is similar to placing blinders on a horse. The less open space around the road, the more likely drivers will pay attention to their surroundings, and that makes biking and walking safer."

I think the main thing with this project is just that we, you know, this isn't just safety for bicyclists. It isn't just safety for pedestrians. This is just kind of safety for every road user on this road and this section. And you know, this road's only probably going to get busier. I mean, we all know that, right? Durango and the surrounding area is growing, and we have a limited amount of roads into town. And I think for us, like making sure that this road and corridor support everybody, support the residents that live here, support the people that use it from one end to the other, whether they're biking, walking, using transit or driving. We want to make sure that it's just a safe roadway for everybody, and so that's kind of the goal of this project.

Residents will have more opportunities to comment on the proposed plans in the New Year. Information and meeting schedules may be found@durangogov.org. Search 32nd Street traffic calming. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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