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Rachel Hultin

CDOT: Making strides across the state

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As the Active Transportation Manager at Bicycle Colorado, I’ve come across a number of projects that have me excited for the future of active transportation in Colorado. The staff and leadership at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is working to adapt designs and practices to embrace 21st century transportation which prioritizes moving people and multimodal connections.

For Colorado Bike Month, I’ll be highlighting projects in each CDOT region that are having a positive impact for people traveling by bike and on foot as we work together to fulfill our mutual goal of CDOT becoming the most bike-friendly DOT in the country. CDOT is responsible for 23,000 lane miles of roads and 3,447 bridges. No single agency has more potential impact on Colorado’s goal to be the best state in the nation to ride a bike.

Region 2: Reconnecting Main Street

Project Name: Walsenburg Pedestrian/Bicycle Improvements [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][I-25C & SH 160]

Challenge: Like many small towns in Colorado, Walsenburg’s Main Street District is bisected by a busy state highway. In Walsenburg’s case, it’s in fact two highways. The steady flow of vehicles and freight trucks creates real barriers for people traveling on foot and by bike who want to access local businesses and services downtown.

In 2014, the LiveWell Huerfano County Bike and Pedestrian Advocacy Team presented findings and recommendations to CDOT, the City of Walsenburg, and Huerfano County regarding challenges for pedestrians and bicycles crossing I-25C (Main Street/Walsen Avenue) and US 160 (7 th Street).

Waslenburg walkerProcess: Spurred on by the recommendations, CDOT was able to obtain funding in 2015 for a pedestrian/bicycle study and initial construction project. Safe crossing locations, improved sidewalk connections, ADA accessibility along the highway, improved routes to schools and opportunities for on-street bicycle lanes were evaluated as part of the study. Opportunities to reassign space within existing right-of-way to accommodate and balance all transportation modes were evaluated where feasible.

Solution: In January 2016, the project team engaged the local community, presenting project goals, benefits and alternatives and seeking public input. With local feedback in hand, the team evaluated and prioritized alternatives based on a set of criteria established at the beginning of the project. CDOT is currently pursuing design of improvements at up to three locations in the study area for work to begin in 2017:

  • Improved crossings with rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB’s) at the library and City Park
  • Sidewalk connectivity between the library and the high school on Pine Street
  • Adding a shared use path across an existing box culvert in this segment will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists who currently have to use vehicular lanes

Walsenburg Xsection

CDOT Complete Streets Champion: Matt Jagow, Region 2 Traffic and Safety, Resident Engineer “CDOT staff worked with the City of Walsenburg, Huerfano County, the local bicycle advocacy group and the Walsenburg Community in an effort to achieve a context sensitive solution for bicycle and pedestrian safety/mobility. Through this collaboration, we identified mutually agreed improvements which will be moving forward into design and eventually implementation within the City of Walsenburg.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Rachel Hultin

About the Author: Rachel Hultin

Rachel works with agencies, organizations and communities to ensure Colorado becomes the best state in the nation for riding bikes. Her passion for all forms of active transportation fuels opportunities for successful collaboration. When not talking shop, Rachel enjoys hunting for street art with her family and volunteering in her community.

COMMENTS (2)

Joe Dilly - Reply

oh for gods sake, just switch the parking with the bike lane already…why would we not protect our cyclists? this is nothing innovative for “the most bike-friendly DOT in the country”…

    Rachel Hultin - Reply

    Thanks for the response and especially for your passion to improve safety for people on bikes! This article celebrates the fact that a community advocacy coalition presented concerns about bicycle and pedestrian safety on a state highway which resulted in collaboration between the community, local agencies and CDOT.

    The outcome of any community planning process is impacted by the participants, civic leadership, context, right of way and funding. The more people engage with these processes in a thoughtful and informed manner, the more we can and should expect higher quality outcomes.

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