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Durango seeks feedback for proposed ‘Malfunction Junction’ fixes

Public meeting to focus on mini roundabout, 14th Street realignment and other improvements
A cyclist braves “Malfunction Junction,” the intersection of East Third Avenue, 15th Street and Florida Road in Durango, in August 2023. The city of Durango will seek public feedback on two alternative solutions to traffic congestion and safety concerns at the troublesome intersection at a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Durango Community Recreation Center. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The city of Durango is holding a public meeting on Wednesday about what to do with “Malfunction Junction,” the troublesome intersection at Florida Road, 15th Street and East Third Avenue.

The city is seeking public feedback about two alternative designs for the frustrating intersection many have come to know as Malfunction Junction.

Residents have been critical of the first proposed alternative, a mini roundabout in the intersection, saying the intersection is too small to accommodate such a feature.

Another proposed alternative, the elimination of a northbound left-hand turn lane from East Third Avenue onto 15th Street in favor of a left-hand turn lane on East Third Avenue to 14th Street, has had a more positive reception.

Durango Multimodal Manager Devin King has said the intersection as it functions now often causes traffic congestion on Florida Road and poses safety risks to pedestrians and drivers.

Notes from an Oct. 23 city-led focus group meeting say residents described the intersection as “dangerous” and “confusing to navigate,” and many commuters opt to avoid the intersection altogether.

Currently, the intersection includes a stop sign for left-turning westbound traffic and a yield sign for northbound traffic on East Third Avenue. Traffic often stacks at the stop sign while westbound Florida Road traffic spills onto 15th Street or splits left onto East Third Avenue.

Crossings for cyclists and pedestrians further complicate the intersection, which received an “F” for “Failing” from the Colorado Department of Transportation because of frequent traffic congestion.

Durango Transportation Director Sarah Hill said on July 2 the city has reached a 60% design level for the two alternative fixes for Malfunction Junction as well as for design elements for East Second Avenue, another focus area of the project.

Other elements of the project include a two-way bike lane on East Second Avenue; improvements to sidewalks and curbs for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; improvements to the 14th Street transit stop; and cyclist lanes on streets within the Midtown area, according to the city’s project description.

Those improvements, along with the pros and cons of each alternative for Malfunction Junction and cost estimates, will be discussed at the meeting on Wednesday, Hill said.

The public feedback will be brought to Durango City Council for consideration on where to take the project next, she added.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 Main Ave.


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