Rio Grande Trail intersection near Carbondale due for facelift
July 18, 2009
CARBONDALE – A particularly dangerous road intersection along the popular valleywide Rio Grande Trail is scheduled for some safety upgrades later this summer.
The town of Carbondale will use the remaining $280,000 of a state grant awarded last year and partner with Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) to complete the work.
The intersection where Main Street, County Road 100 and Snowmass Drive meet the trail on the east end of Carbondale has been of concern since the paved bike and pedestrian trail opened a number of years ago.
The county road enters town at an awkward, uphill angle just as the trail merges and crosses the road. Motorists leaving town or turning right from Snowmass Drive cannot see cars coming up the hill, and the situation is equally confusing for trail users.
The planned fix will involve straightening the curve at the intersection, reducing the grade on the county road, designating crosswalks and installing a three-way stop-controlled intersection.
“It is a hazardous situation from a safety perspective,” Carbondale Mayor Michael Hassig said. “The work will provide for a degree of safety for pedestrians and bikers.”
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He acknowledged that motorists may not like the idea of yet another stop sign on Main Street leaving town. However, once the work is done the town will likely remove the Main Street stop signs a block to the west at Second Street, he said.
“The new stop/controlled intersection should allow us to review the stop signs at the Second Street intersection,” Carbondale community development director Doug Dotson said in a memo reviewed by the town board earlier this week.
“The objective is to slow traffic before it gets into town and to improve the pedestrian crossing,” he said.
Town officials are also looking at the possibility of using raised crosswalks along Main Street through downtown Carbondale, like the ones recently install on Midland Avenue in Glenwood Springs. That may be a more effective way of controlling traffic speed through downtown than the current series of stop signs, Dotson said in his memo.
Carbondale town manager Tom Baker said the project will be put out to bid soon, and work could begin by late summer. He said the town hopes to be able to keep the streets open during the construction.