US 160/550 Intersection Redesign UPDATE

UPDATE 1/3/13

Last night the Durango City Council approved the redesign of the 7th street intersection as part of the 160/550 CFI redesign to be completed this year. Read this article for more info:

As a cyclist and as DWC Director I have been pushing for full bike lanes at the new 160/550 intersection both as a practicality for cyclists and as a visual demonstration to visitors that Durango really is a cycling friendly city. Currently, I think we fall way short of our gold medal status in terms of infrastructure and I feel that this intersection is an oppertunity for the city and state to demonstrate that Durango values cycling as a practical, safe alternative to motorized vehicles. I have been in discussion with the City and CDOT and the feedback has been very good. However, until I see bike lanes included in the design I will continue to push for full accommodation for cyclists.




On 12/12/12 Tommy Humphrey (CDOT Traffic Engineer) presented the CDOT project proposal for the redesign of the intersection of US 160/ US 550 along with the redesign for the Camino del Rio / 7th Street/ College Drive intersection. Amber Blake (City of Durango Multi Modal Coordinator) introduced Tommy and was available for questions before and after the presentation.

The presentation by Tommy gave a detailed explination of the methodology and reasoning behind the current proposal. Use this Link for a description of the CDOT project proposal and video:

Myself and Colin Cassidy attended the meeting along with a few dozen other members of the public. Colin and I spoke separately on behalf of cyclists and we both expressed our dissatisfaction with the proposed redesign.

During the meeting John Mahoney suggested that a roundabout (circular intersection) would be a good solution and gave a laundry list of stats as to why. Tommy said that according to a CDOT spreadsheet the rotary was not a viable solution and it was not considered. I would like to see that idea seriously considered because I agree that a roundabout would be a good solution.

I pointed out that the proposed design fails to accommodate cyclists and fails to reach the “Project Goal”; to “Improve the safety and operational efficiency for all transportation users.” I also said that the Animas River Trail was not an acceptable alternative for commuters. I stressed that the intersection needs proper bike lanes in all directions.

I did not comment on the redesign of Camino and 7th. From what I saw the plan was good; it includes space for bike lanes in both directions along with a much improved pedestrian crossing.

I spoke with Tommy before and after the presentation regarding the 160/550 intersection and he said that nothing was in stone and if the public provides different solutions that they would be seriously considered. He followed up with an email on 12/13 with a graphic depicting bike lanes for an intersection similar to the one proposed which looked like a good start. He also reiterated his desire for feedback from the cycling community.

I also spoke with Amber and she said that if the cycling community wants to see this plan changed that we need to start writing letters now. I’ll determine who the letters need to go to and what they should say. I’ll also find out what she can do to push for a change to the plan.

In my opinion an intersection like the one proposed on 12/12 would be a huge mistake because it would remain dangerous for cyclists and it would do little to let visitors know that they are entering a Bicycle Friendly Community.

I’ll be adding updates to the DWC blog as soon as I learn anything new, along with things that people can do to change the project.

If anyone has comments that they would like added to this post please send them to me by using the Contact link.