Jane Reuter Some drivers might view bicycle trail improvements as projects with little bearing on their everyday travels, maybe as a waste of …
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Some drivers might view bicycle trail improvements as projects
with little bearing on their everyday travels, maybe as a waste of
transportation money. But traffic experts say separating streets
and trails eases travel woes for everyone.
Construction on C-470 trail underpasses at both Colorado
Boulevard and Quebec Street are set to begin in late 2012 or early
A trail bridge over Erickson Boulevard east of Santa Fe Drive
already is under construction, part of a larger project to improve
the C-470 and U.S. 85 interchange. Future plans also show a trail
underpass at Santa Fe, though money for that project isn’t in
sight. Likewise, talks are underway for an overpass at Yosemite
The less often pedestrians and cyclists cross major
thoroughfares, the better traffic flows, transit experts say.
Studies show crossings at Quebec Street, for example, can cause a
chain reaction of signal delays. All it takes is one push of the
pedestrian crossing button.
“If a bike or pedestrian crosses, particularly during rush hour,
traffic signal timing is messed up for 5 to 10 minutes before it
recovers,” said Art Griffith, capital improvements project manager
for Douglas County. The underpasses are “a huge benefit to
improving traffic operations,” he said.
“It’s always our goal to improve the whole system,” said Paul
Jesaitis, CDOT’s program engineer for the Denver metro area.
That’s why the agency changed its name in 1991 from the
Department of Highways to Department of Transportation, he
“We’re very much a transportation organization,” Jesaitis said.
“I think the drivers out there think we spend too much on trails,
and the cyclists think we don’t spend enough. There’s got to be a
CDOT spent about $6 million in the last year rebuilding a
retaining wall along the trail behind Park Meadows Mall and raising
box culverts near Chatfield Reservoir to put the trail above the
Nevertheless, don’t expect to see grade-separated C-470 trail
crossings at University Boulevard or South Broadway any time soon.
While Jesaitis said he hopes those will happen someday,
construction at the two interchanges will be complicated and
expensive, and no money is available.
The $2 million Colorado Boulevard and Quebec Street projects are
funded by a partnership between Douglas County and the CDOT.
The $26.7 million Santa Fe Drive interchange project pools funds
from Douglas County, CDOT, the Denver Regional Council of
Governments and the Federal Highway Administration. More than $5
million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also was
secured for the project.
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