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32nd Street traffic calming and safety redesign nearly complete

Project scope includes mini roundabout, buffered bicycle lanes and road medians
Traffic travels east and west on 32nd Street in Durango as a car waits to turn off East Third Avenue on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Durango. The city of Durango has made plans to add a mini roundabout at the intersection, which is just one piece of a 2021 traffic calming and safety design project that is now nearly compete. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

A redesign of 32nd Street launched in 2021 to curb speeding and reduce accidents on the arterial road linking northeast Durango to north Main Avenue is almost finished.

The new design is 90% complete, Durango Multimodal Manager Devin King said on Thursday.

He said the project to redesign 32nd Street kicked off several years ago because of frequent speeding and several crashes that resulted in injuries.

The design features a miniature roundabout at the intersection of East Third Avenue and 32nd Street, pedestrian refuge islands, intermittent medians and buffered bicycle lanes on both sides of the road from East Second Avenue to Holly Avenue.

All that’s left is a final decision about what art could be installed in the planned roundabout, King said.

The city received four applications from artists, which are under review. Durango Multimodal Division staff members and the city’s consultant Bohannan Huston are reviewing the applications on design and engineering terms. The Multimodal Division will also seek input from the Durango Creative Economy Commission and other groups, he said.

Once the art piece is decided on, the project would essentially be ready for the city to issue construction bids. However, the project isn’t prioritized for construction until 2026 and construction funding still needs to be secured, King said.

The project had a design cost of $198,070, funded by the city’s 2015 half cent sales and use tax fund, according to the city’s website.

The pedestrian islands were designed for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, King said. The cement roundabout will be nearly flush with the road to allow larger vehicles such as rafting trailers easy navigation over it.

The bike lanes are expected to have 2-foot painted buffers. Vertical buffers could be installed at a later point but are not part of the current project.

The medians will narrow the field of view for the road, making it less tempting for drivers to punch the gas, King said.

He said mini roundabouts are being built more often in other towns and cities because they don’t require expanding intersections or acquiring rights of way for installation, pointing to examples in Castle Rock and Manitou Springs.

32nd Street is a wide road that invites speeding, King said.

Crash data between 2010 and 2019 shows about five crashes resulted in 15 injuries over the nine-year period, which is 15 more injuries than desired, he said. An analysis of traffic data over the same time frame shows 69% of drivers traveling along 32nd Street were going 10 mph to 19 mph over the speed limit.

Another traffic and speed study conducted in 2020 showed the average travel speed on 32nd Street is 27 mph and about 71% of vehicles exceeded the posted speed limit of 25 mph.

Since the project started in 2021, it has attracted its fair share of concern from residents living on and near 32nd Street. But after working heavily with people living along the road, King is confident the redesign accommodates residents while meeting the project goals of reducing speeding and accidents, he said.

Original plans called for more medians in the middle of 32nd Street. But residents, many of whom own boats and trailers, were concerned about backing in and out of their driveways efficiently, he said.

“We had a lot of positive feedback on the project and the design. And I think one key component to that is, is we worked a lot with the neighborhood,” he said. “ … We did want to accommodate them while still trying to meet our goal of safety and traffic calming.”


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