US Hwy 50/Oak Street (SH-291) Intersection

US Hwy 50/Oak Street (SH-291) Intersection Preferred Alternatives

Press Release

Salida, Colorado 1/27/20

For Immediate Release

US Hwy 50/Oak Street (SH-291) Intersection Preferred Alternatives

Salida, Co – The City of Salida and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) continue to plan for a safe, vibrant, and multi-modal gateway along Oak Street (CO 291) beginning at the intersection with Rainbow Boulevard (US 50) and continuing north to Walnut Street near downtown. 

 

An online survey was conducted in August 2020 to get residents’ feedback on alternatives presented for: traffic-flow design at the intersection of the two roads; the type of landscaping at the gateway; and roadway and pedestrian facility design along Oak Street, along with other amenities. The alternatives were all designed with safe, functional, and accessible access for vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists in mind, while being aesthetically pleasing. Traffic projections, long-range planning models, and CDOT traffic code were reviewed to ensure that the improvements will be viable for many decades into the future. The design team also made sure to align plans with the “Future 50” plan for US 50/Rainbow Boulevard, which was completed in 2019.

Over 200 survey responses were received, and the intersection option that garnered the greatest support was the 5-legged roundabout (Alternative #2). Native, drought-tolerant landscaping was the preference for enhancing the gateway’s appearance. Lastly, most desired to see bike lanes and a sidewalk along the Oak St. corridor, bordered by shade trees and “dark sky” compliant street lighting. 

Transportation consultants, Stolfus & Associates, have provided a summary of their findings along with 3D renderings of how the 5-legged roundabout could look and function, as well as additional information on the project. We invite the Salida community to view the StoryMap and images, and to provide any additional input, via the link on the City’s website or directly at: https://arcg.is/1a4aam.

Consultants will provide a final report on their findings to the project team at the end of February. It is anticipated that this report and any corresponding recommendations will be presented to City Council sometime in March for potential adoption as part of the overall planning process. Completing that planning process will be the next step for considering improvements at a later date, to be determined.

Comments

  • This is one of the most asinine things to come down the pipe, right up there with the mess they created at 1st and F, and the re-striping of highway 50. 200 responses to a poorly advertised and circulated survey is reflective of the entirety of folks in the area, and users of the highways ? Pure and unadulterated B*llsh*t..

    Changing stuff simply to change it seems to be the CDOT mantra, an agency that as of late has been bringing us solutions in search of problems that don't exist, and creating different and unique problems to be mitigated that didn't previously exist . Never ending cycle of waste of tax payer money, create problems that didn't previously exist, undo the mess you created initially.

    They had this exact issue on the ballot recently, IIRC was Prop 109 or something like that. Didn't pass, so now they are going to jam it down our throats anyway, citing their "survey" of a tiny part of the populace as representative of the entirety of users of the highway, and the town it runs thru.

    You wanna do something, repave the highway thru the canyon, the potholes are unbelievable, and the bridge transitions will knock your teeth out.

    I grew up on the east coast with many traffic circles. None of them exist today, want to guess why? It's a bad idea that creates problems where none previously existed. For some reason, Colorado seems hell bent on snarling traffic, and no, calling it a round a bout doesn't make it any more palatable. It's an obstacle to be overcome, that is onerous, expensive and completely unnecessary.

  • edited January 31

    Without commenting on the objections raised by ElectricMayhem, it's worth noting that one (older, limited) study found that "modern roundabouts experience 39% fewer vehicle collisions, 76% fewer injuries and 90% fewer serious injuries and fatalities" relative to other styles of traffic junctions. [1] Roundabouts have fewer points where traffic can collide, and lessen or eliminate the opportunity for dangerous t-bone collisions.

    According to the same article, modern roundabouts may decrease fuel consumption, pollution, delays, and traffic speed while increasing traffic capacity relative to traffic lights.

    I wasn't party of the survey, but I would like to see somewhat slower traffic on Hwy 50 through town.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout

  • Trey,

    Points well taken. When traffic slows to a crawl from 50MPH to negotiate the circle, it increases the possibility of rear end collisions for one thing, as far as slowing down traffic on the state highway, it has been my observation that drivers speed right back up to whatever speed they were going when they entered the circle, in this case 45 MPH or more.

    The only thing that's going to slow people down thru Salida is to lower the speed limit, and to do that they have repeatedly stated (CDOT) that Salida does NOT want a speed study, as many are exceeding the speed limit, which would not result in a reduction in the speed limit, it would increase the current speed limit. The law of unintended consequences as it were.

    In a roundabout, drivers are to yield at entry to traffic, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.

    Five safety risks at roundabouts include:

    1. Driver uncertainty about yielding. When approaching a roundabout, drivers are to yield to traffic already in them. However, some drivers believe you have to stop completely at roundabouts while others may not know who has to yield the right of away, dangerously entering the intersection into oncoming traffic.

    This is particularly true with drivers unfamiliar with roundabouts. Think tourists... Given the lack of understanding of the Right of way at a 4 way stop in Salida by both residents and tourists, it's not unreasonable to extrapolate this uncertainty of Right of way to the roundabout. Yes, they will have scads of attractive large green direction signage, with little graphics one needs to physically stop, grasp and then try to apply to the actual view they have from the windshield.

    2. Too many merge points, especially in roundabouts with more than four streets and multi-lanes. The more traffic coming onto a roundabout, the greater the risk of collisions. There are also drivers that change lanes in multi-lane roundabouts which adds to the danger. This impacts pedestrians and bicyclists as well.

    3. Driver speed. While roundabouts to force drivers to slow down, many drivers still enter and proceed through them at too high a velocity imperiling others. This IS a major east west corridor for transportation, not a small city street. I can see semi traffic and RVers that can't drive their rigs on a straight road causing rollover accidents due to speed issues in the circle easily.

    4. Drivers may try to ‘cut’ the roundabout. At smaller intersections, instead of going around them in a counterclockwise manner, some drivers turn left in front of the circles to save time. This endangers other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

    5. Shoulder lane for bicyclists and pedestrians can be narrow, if existent at all. Roundabouts need more space than traditional intersections and this lack of a defined shoulder can put others in peril.

    Well, there's sure not a lot of space where they propose this, so it's likely to be too small initially for one thing, and for another, it confuses the tourists who come from places other than Colorado where they have decided this isn't a good idea and don't have any.

    I still fail to see the need for this in the first place. It's certainly not beautifying anything, or creating an "Artistic Portal" so to speak to Salida. The renderings are very pretty, and designed to put the project in it's best light, but in reality, this thing will quick become an eyesore... Snow removal in these is generally difficult, and leaves gravel and salt all over the center wheel and sidewalks just like along the rest of Highway 50. Then there's the signage I described above. Hardly a scenic "gateway" to the town.

    It's not solving any problem that exists currently that couldn't be solved with a traffic light, and even that's not currently called for. Like I said previously, a solution in search of a problem..

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