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College and 8th Traffic Calming

College and 8th Safety Project

Total Project Cost:
$2.1 million
Project Grant Funding: Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Grant $779,877 and FASTER Grant $300,000
Local Match Total (Half Cent Sales and Use Tax Fund): $1,020,123

College and 4th
The City of Durango is considering a lane reconfiguration to improve safety and accessibility along College Drive from East 3rd Avenue to East 8th Avenue and along East 8th Avenue from 2nd Street to College Drive.

To improve safety and accessibility, the first step is to consider two roadway tradeoffs:

  1. Maintaining a 4-lane configuration, requiring an access control plan to manage the location and design of intersections and driveways (access points).
  2. Reconfiguring the roadway from 4-lanes to 3-lanes, with an emphasis on designing for all modes equally.

Status: This "L" shaped corridor underwent a traffic study in 2016 to analyze the feasibility and potential impacts of implementing a lane reconfiguration. Russell Planning & Engineering is in the beginning phases of design for this project in 2018.

The first public meeting was held on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 for the project design. During the meeting on September 12 at the Durango Community Recreation Center, 44 neighbors and community members voiced their input on how they'd like safety and accessibility improved. Interactive stations and a presentation provided information on this important project. 

View Public Comment Log (updated as comments are received) 
View PowerPoint Presentation from September 12 Public Meeting
Watch this video to learn how a lane reconfiguration increases safety

Examples from other communities:

  1. West Mulberry Street Improvements and Pilot Project in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Mulberry St project was implemented in summer 2018. Since that time, preliminary travel times have been collected (attached) that demonstrate travel times on Mulberry from College to Shields are about the same or even reduced 10-15 seconds during peak traffic. The worst case for traffic in the study shows travel times increasing 20-25 seconds during the peak traffic.
  2. West 38th Avenue Lane Reconfiguration in Westminster, Colorado. The City collected data for a variety of metrics, including traffic counts, speeds, new businesses, sales tax, and bicycle/pedestrian counts to assess the 3-lane section. Collection of the data continued from 2012 to 2016 until the metrics stabilized. The project remains in place today.
  3. Division Avenue Road Diet in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The results include decreased vehicle speeds (-1 to -4 mph), decreased traffic volumes (-18% to -29% north of Wealthy Street) and increased parking. After the Division Avenue Road Diet installation, the City of Grand Rapids reported that businesses along the corridor are generally happy with the project because of the perceived improvement in the quality of life attributes and livability of the community.

Additional Research:


Next Steps:
30% Design will be ready to review in 2019, and construction is anticipated in 2021. Stay tuned for design updates! The City will continue to provide updates on the design process.

For more information, please call (970) 375-4901 or email .


Designing to Reduce Speeds & Increase Safety

What’s a road diet? Quite simply “a road diet is anytime you take any lane out of a road” say traffic-calming expert Dan Burden in a recent video shot with Streetfilms.

A road diet is generally described as “removing travel lanes from a roadway and utilizing the space for other uses and travel modes” according to Federal Highway Administration’s Road Diet Informational Guide. The most common road diet lane reconfiguration is the conversion of an undivided four lane roadway to a three-lane undivided roadway made up of two through lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane (TWLTL). The reduction of lanes allows the roadway to be reallocated for other uses such as (protected) bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, transit uses and/or parking.

The first time people hear about a road diet, their initial reaction likely goes something like this: “
How can removing lanes improve my neighborhood and not cause traffic backups?” It seems counterintuitive, but taking away lanes can actually help traffic flow smoother while improving safety for everyone.

And here’s something to keep in mind during this era of lean budgets: road diets are a highly-effective infrastructure improvement that can be implemented quickly and at low cost.

Historically, road diets have been shown to enhance safety and access for all users, forming a welcome environment for various transportation modes and creating more livable spaces. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), road diets typically reduce collisions by 19 to 47 percent.

Road diets are good for pedestrians: They reduce speeding and make vehicle movements more predictable while shortening crossing distances, usually through curb extensions or center median islands.

They’re good for cyclists: Many road diets shift space from car lanes to create bike lanes.

They’re good for drivers: Less speeding improves safety for motorists and passengers, and providing left-turn pockets allows through traffic to proceed without shifting lanes or waiting behind turning vehicles.

Road diets have been done on roadways across the U.S. that carry nearly twice the traffic volumes, up to an average daily traffic (ADT) of 23,000 vehicles per day (vpd), as College Drive (10,558 ADT) and East 8th Avenue (13,629 ADT) in Durango. They have been found to be more successful than the previously existing conditions in terms of improving business visibility and access, improving left-turn capabilities, maintaining and, in cases, improving traffic flow, reducing rear-end and sideswipe crashes, and improving bicycling conditions and safety, among other benefits.

The traffic study in 2016 showed that level of service on the roadways will maintain an acceptable level of service (projected out to 2030) with a lane reduction. This means that traffic can flow at current levels even with a road diet. The road diet project will provide the opportunity to implement necessary pedestrian crossing enhancements to improve access across East 8th Avenue at 3rd Street (Horse Gulch Medical Campus) and along College Drive, and improve overall safety for all road users. Moreover, the project was identified in the 2012 and 2016 Multimodal Transportation Plan and as such moved towards project implementation in the 2017 budget cycle.

The recommendations from the City of Durango’s Traffic Study align with FHWA conclusions as the safety study suggests that 24 percent of the total traffic collisions during the study period are preventable by a road diet.

View Federal Highway Administration's Road Diet Informational Guide

For more information, please call (970) 375-4901 or email .