Downtown Traffic Improvements Project
The City of Montrose views the downtown area to be a very important asset to our community. The cultural heritage, unique business atmosphere and civic campuses of the downtown make it a highlight of our community and a center of local activity.
The primary focus of the Downtown Traffic Improvements Project was to improve traffic flow on Townsend Avenue by relocating the existing traffic signals from North and South First Streets to North Second and South Second Streets. The project also addressed traffic conflicts and congestion on South First Street adjacent to the post office. Changes to secondary downtown intersections, particularly along Cascade Avenue, have been implemented to address changes in traffic patterns that occurred when the Townsend signals were relocated.
Intersection improvements along Cascade Avenue were installed in 2010 and the remaining major construction activities were completed in 2011. In 2012, Skip Huston Construction will install ten decorative street lights on both sides of North First Street between Townsend Avenue and Cascade Avenue, park benches in the newly constructed bulb-outs, and bike racks in the downtown area.
The City hired a traffic engineering consultant, PBS&J, to conduct a detailed traffic study for the downtown area. In addition to moving the traffic signals on Townsend, four alternatives for improving traffic flow were proposed. The traffic study results and specific information about each of the proposed alternatives were detailed in a traffic study presentation
and a subsequent Downtown Traffic Study Report
that were presented at a public meeting held on March 4, 2009.
Cascade Avenue Improvements
A roundabout was originally proposed as the most effective device for handling increased traffic flow at the South First and Cascade intersection. This and other conceptual design features were presented at a public open house. Due to citizen concerns about the loss of parking spaces in the downtown, plans for a roundabout were eliminated in favor of a stop-controlled intersection and a revised design was presented at a third public open house held on January 20, 2010.
Traffic data indicated that a stop-controlled intersection at this location would function at an acceptable level, although delays would be longer than with the original proposal. The shift to a stop-controlled intersection required a change to a right-in/right-out access on the east leg of the intersection at Townsend and South First.
The construction plan also included bulb-outs at each intersection along Cascade Avenue from South Second to North Second. Bulb-outs serve to improve pedestrian mobility between downtown parking lots and businesses.
Cost and Funding
A $1,150,000 Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance (EMIA) grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs was awarded to the City for this project. Matching funds were provided by the City’s Capital Improvement Fund.