City of Aspen moves toward timing its own traffic signals on Main Street
The city of Aspen plans to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation, which will allow the municipal government to take control over the stoplights on Main Street so the timing benefits pedestrians over vehicles.
Aspen City Council agreed during a work session Monday for the local government to pursue a partnership with CDOT, as well as enter into a contract with TS&L, a firm that will make improvements to the traffic signals.
There are four Main Street stoplights that will be affected — at the intersections of Galena, Mill, Monarch and Aspen streets.
But only one of those intersections has a battery backup, according to Pete Rice, a senior project manager in the city’s engineering department.
Under the IGA, CDOT will fund the installation of battery backups at the other three intersections and an initial signal retiming study.
The cash-strapped CDOT would contribute roughly $74,000 toward the total of $114,000 to upgrade the traffic signals, Rice said.
Over the years, citizens and council have indicated that Main Street’s traffic signals should have increased pedestrian focus.
CDOT focuses on general vehicular movement and meeting requirements for standard intersections, according to Rice.
Under the IGA, the city would be able to control and optimize traffic signal timing.
Council also Monday signed off on making Hallam Street from Monarch to Seventh streets in the West End neighborhood a dedicated pedestrian bikeway from spring until fall each year.
In 2018, as the Castle Creek Bridge project was being done, the city did an experiment over the summer and fall by placing signs in the middle of Hallam Street indicating that cars should not travel for more than one block.
Rice said by creating a bikeway on Hallam Street, it achieves a connection through the north side of the city, including the Post Office Trail, the Red Brick Building, Yellow Brick Building and Clark’s Cutoff Trail.
City officials said residents of that neighborhood reported during last year’s “living lab” that they wanted an established pedestrian and bicycle corridor, which mimics Hopkins Avenue on the south side of Main Street.
City officials also report that bicycle usage doubled over a similar experiment done in 2017.
In July, 5,800 bicyclists used Hallam Street. In August, 6,750 people came through on bikes.
Council agreed to make Hallam a permanent pedestrian bicycle corridor, noting that as more people ride bikes around town, more vehicle-zones are needed.
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