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Downtown's Next Step

Downtown Next Steps logo - color, horizontal

Current Status

The consultant team wrapped up surveying and inventorying of Downtown Main Avenue this fall. City staff and the consultant team are working on converting the conceptual design to engineering plans for the 600 and 700 blocks on Main Avenue. This requires looking at turning radiuses at intersections, materials for sidewalks and facilities, water quality treatments, and maintenance to determine how the conceptual design translates to reality. 

The conceptual design includes elements to make Downtown Main Avenue more accessible and safe with curb extensions at the intersections, widened sidewalks, cycling improvements, festival blocks, additional landscaping, and accessible parking. 

Downtown's Next Step Final Preferred Concept

Vision Statement 

The flexible and resilient Downtown Main Avenue streetscape strengthens the heart of Durango as a safe, inviting, and memorable place for all users that supports thriving businesses, fosters resident pride, and enhances the visitor experience.

FAQs

Is the City designing a pedestrian mall?

No. A pedestrian mall, closure of Main Avenue to cars, was discussed during the initial conceptual design stage but was determined to not be economically suitable for Durango. Pedestrian malls have had some success across the country, but many have been reverted back to Main Streets due to their negative economic impact.

Will this project remove parking on Main Avenue?

No. This project will remove some parking spaces along Main Avenue, but not all of them. At this time, there is not a definitive number of parking spaces that will be removed; however, it will be fewer than the bump-out program currently removes during the summer.

Will this project affect the buildings or general look of Downtown Main Avenue?

No. This project is only designing roadway and sidewalk improvements for construction. The purpose of this project is to expand sidewalks to increase pedestrian space and safety, increase accessibility along Main Avenue in the right-of-way, improve safety for bicyclists, and reduce vehicles speeds. No part of this project will affect Downtown Durango’s historic facades, and existing trees will be retained as much as possible.

How is this project being paid for?

This project was budgeted by City Council in the 2022 budget for engineering design out of the 2015 Half Cent Sales and Use Tax Fund. The 2015 Half Cent Sales and Use Tax Fund is dedicated to multimodal and parks and recreation projects. Money from this fund cannot be used on projects like a parking garage or standalone utility projects.

When will this project be constructed? 

There is not currently an established timeframe for construction. The engineering design will determine a cost estimate for construction and will help identify how construction should be phased. City staff will pursue available grant opportunities for construction.

  1. About the Project
  2. Conceptual Design
  3. Public Meetings

Project design cost: $520,000 (Phase I)

Project funding: 2015 Half Cent Sales and Use Tax Fund

About

Durango's Downtown Main Avenue has gone through many changes since the 1880's. Through all of these changes, Downtown Durango has kept it's Southwest charm with the sweeping views of Smelter Mountain, Perin's Peak, the Hogsback and the brick façade buildings. In more recent times, Downtown Durango has seen the need for increased outdoor space, expanded pedestrian zones, and slower speeds as the number of people downtown has increased and the world saw a global shift of people wanting to be outside more. 

Pedestrian improvements to Downtown Main Avenue have been discussed in city plans for years, including the Multimodal Transportation Plan and Comprehensive Plan. These plans discuss the need for safety, accessibility, and greater pedestrian space downtown. In December 2021, a conceptual design and visioning process was started for Downtown Main Avenue. Through this community process, a conceptual design was created. 

This project will survey and inventory Downtown Main Avenue from 5th Street to 14th Street, conduct a corridor traffic study, and design a few blocks based on the conceptual design. This design phase will include 2 public meetings and online opportunities to provide feedback on the design. 

What are curb extensions? an image of an intersection with curb extensions on the Downtown's Next Step conceptual design

Curb extensions commonly occur at intersections where the curb line is extended into the parking lane next to the edge of the travel lane as shown in the image. There are many benefits to curb extensions such as shorter crossing distance and exposure to traffic for pedestrians, better visibility of pedestrians preparing to cross, pedestrians can see traffic easier before crossing, narrows the field of vision which slows traffic, and tightens the turning radius slowing turning traffic. Additionally, curb extensions add space for pedestrians and other amenities like bike racks and benches. More information about curb extensions can be found here

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