College and 8th Traffic Calming
College and 8th Safety Project
Total Project Cost: $2.1 million
Project Grant Funding: Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Grant $779,877 and FASTER Grant $300,000 and Multi Modal Options Funds (MMOF) $75,000
Local Match Total (Half Cent Sales and Use Tax Fund): $1,020,123
The City of Durango will be implementing a lane reconfiguration, reconfiguring the roadway from 4-lanes to 3-lanes, with an emphasis on accommodating all modes equally, to improve safety and accessibility along College Drive from East 3rd Avenue to East 8th Avenue and along East 8th Avenue from 2nd Street to College Drive.
Final design plans are here! No bids were received for the 2023 construction season. Construction is anticipated in the summer of 2024.
The 90% design plans, found here, have been reviewed by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
A public meeting was held on August 30, 2021, to provide information on the 60% design plans and receive feedback from the public. PowerPoint slides from the meeting are available in Spanish here and in English here. The meeting was held virtually.
This "L" shaped corridor underwent a traffic study in 2016 (PDF) to analyze the feasibility and potential impacts of implementing a lane reconfiguration. SEH Engineering is at the 60% phase of design for this project in 2021.
The first public meeting was held on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 for the project design. During the meeting on September 12 at the Durango Community Recreation Center, 44 neighbors and community members voiced their input on how they'd like safety and accessibility improved. Interactive stations and a presentation provided information on this important project.
Watch this video to learn how a lane reconfiguration increases safety
Examples from other communities:
- West Mulberry Street Improvements and Pilot Project in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Mulberry St project was implemented in summer 2018. Since that time, preliminary travel times have been collected (attached) that demonstrate travel times on Mulberry from College to Shields are about the same or even reduced 10-15 seconds during peak traffic. The worst case for traffic in the study shows travel times increasing 20-25 seconds during the peak traffic.
- Division Avenue Road Diet in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The results include decreased vehicle speeds (-1 to -4 mph), decreased traffic volumes (-18% to -29% north of Wealthy Street) and increased parking. After the Division Avenue Road Diet installation, the City of Grand Rapids reported that businesses along the corridor are generally happy with the project because of the perceived improvement in the quality of life attributes and livability of the community.
- View Federal Highway Administration's Road Diet Informational Guide: includes information regarding maintaining traffic flow and improving safety.
- View Guidelines for Road Diet Conversions: Includes a full range of mainline and 6 side street volumes, as well as left turn percentages.
- View Road Diet Case Studies: includes 24 case studies highlighting road diet implementations throughout the United States.
- View Road Diet Overview with Case Studies: includes results from previous research efforts, analyses of safety and traffic operations and case study evaluations.
- View Feasibility of a Lane Reduction "Road Diet" on Centre Street, West Roxbury: includes data showing road diet didn't cause traffic congestion on the corridor.
- View Designing Road Diet Evaluations: Lessons Learned from San Jose's Lincoln Avenue Road Diet: includes before and after traffic volume and speed data.
Designing to Reduce Speeds & Increase Safety
What's a road diet? Quite simply "a road diet is anytime you take any lane out of a road" say traffic-calming expert Dan Burden in a recent video shot with Streetfilms.
A road diet is generally described as "removing travel lanes from a roadway and utilizing the space for other uses and travel modes" according to Federal Highway Administration's Road Diet Informational Guide. The most common road diet lane reconfiguration is the conversion of an undivided four lane roadway to a three-lane undivided roadway made up of two through lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane (TWLTL). The reduction of lanes allows the roadway to be reallocated for other uses such as (protected) bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, transit uses and/or parking.
The first time people hear about a road diet, their initial reaction likely goes something like this: "How can removing lanes improve my neighborhood and not cause traffic backups?" It seems counterintuitive, but taking away lanes can actually help traffic flow smoother while improving safety for everyone.
And here's something to keep in mind during this era of lean budgets: road diets are a highly-effective infrastructure improvement that can be implemented quickly and at low cost.
Historically, road diets have been shown to enhance safety and access for all users, forming a welcome environment for various transportation modes and creating more livable spaces. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), road diets typically reduce collisions by 19 to 47 percent.
Road diets are good for pedestrians:
They reduce speeding and make vehicle movements more predictable while shortening crossing distances, usually through curb extensions or center median islands.
They're good for cyclists: Many road diets shift space from car lanes to create bike lanes.
They're good for drivers: Less speeding improves safety for motorists and passengers, and providing left-turn pockets allows through traffic to proceed without shifting lanes or waiting behind turning vehicles.
Road diets have been done on roadways across the U.S. that carry nearly twice the traffic volumes, up to an average daily traffic (ADT) of 23,000 vehicles per day (vpd), as College Drive (10,558 ADT) and East 8th Avenue (13,629 ADT) in Durango. They have been found to be more successful than the previously existing conditions in terms of improving business visibility and access, improving left-turn capabilities, maintaining and, in cases, improving traffic flow, reducing rear-end and sideswipe crashes, and improving bicycling conditions and safety, among other benefits.
The traffic study (PDF) in 2016 showed that level of service on the roadways will maintain an acceptable level of service (projected out to 2030) with a lane reduction. This means that traffic can flow at current levels even with a road diet. The road diet project will provide the opportunity to implement necessary pedestrian crossing enhancements to improve access across East 8th Avenue at 3rd Street (Horse Gulch Medical Campus) and along College Drive, and improve overall safety for all road users. Moreover, the project was identified in the 2012 and 2016 Multimodal Transportation Plan and as such moved towards project implementation in the 2017 budget cycle.
The recommendations from the City of Durango's Traffic Study align with FHWA conclusions as the safety study suggests that 24 percent of the total traffic collisions during the study period are preventable by a road diet.
For more information, please call (970) 375-4955 or email Multimodal.