In 2013, Colorado College hired a transportation consulting firm to conduct an extensive review of transportation function throughout our region, and they included numerous stakeholders and advisers. Their result, issued in September of 2013, was that the technically correct approach was to promote “traffic calming” throughout the Old North End and through the Colorado College (CC) campus. This was to be done by reducing the number of lanes on all of our minor arterials from 4 to 2. This is known as “safety sizing” or “road dieting”. They demonstrated that the traffic volume was well under critical threshold for causing delays or diversion. In 2011 and 2012, the average daily traffic (ADT) on Nevada was 16,583 trips per day (TPD). This is well below the threshold for causing diversion to other streets (20,000 TPD).
In 2016, the City Traffic Engineer produced a proposal to implement much of this plan. Cascade and Weber were to be reduced to one lane in each direction in the summer of 2016, and Nevada and Wahsatch would get similar treatment in 2017. At that time, the ADT on Nevada was 16,526 TPD; a bit farther below the threshold. Unfortunately, during preparations to implement the plan, the City transferred two bus lines to Nevada (and further increased their frequency). This caused a significant disruption in the neighborhood, and somehow derailed the project while the bus conflict ran its course.
Later in 2016, the City Traffic Engineer produced another proposal to safety size only Cascade through the CC campus, while neglecting residential neighborhoods. Since the CC Transportation Master Plan stipulates that any improvements to transportation infrastructure through CC must be reviewed by City Planning Commission, the City Traffic Engineer presented her proposal to the commission on 6/16/16. After her presentation, the Planning Commission refused to permit the plan to proceed, by a vote of 6 to 2.
Nevertheless, traffic engineers persisted. In order to ensure that Cascade was reduced through CC, a new project was initiated by Traffic Engineering rather than by Colorado College. By so doing, it was then not required to pass review by the Planning Commission. This plan was developed in parallel with a “vigorous public input” process, which included 3 public meetings. More about that here. These three meetings were announced to address “Pedestrian Safety and Bicycle Infrastructure”, but also to develop a “Near / Old north End Transportation Plan”. Although no mention of “safety sizing” or “road dieting” was made during the first two meetings, the results presented at the end of the third meeting were headlined by a plan to safety size Cascade and Weber.
The City has also proposed a “work session” on Nevada for spring of 2018. It is curious that the City just completed the official North End Transportation study, and we are only just now getting a proposal for a meeting to address Nevada. Isn’t Nevada an important component of Old North End transportation infrastructure? How can an ONEN transportation study be completed without addressing concerns of Nevada Avenue?
The right thing to do is to safety size all four N/S minor arterials through ONEN. Traffic volume through Nevada is at a historic low. Observations of January 31st, 2018, showed 13,517 TPD, far below the threshold for degraded service or diversion. Recent reductions have resulted in increased speeds, which heightens the danger and negative externalities of living on a high traffic street. Let’s fix the whole neighborhood!