Town envisions traffic calming for Granby
Granby’s government is looking for a way to beautify main street and transform the road into a safer place for bicyclists and pedestrians.
When US Highway 40 runs through Granby, it becomes Agate Avenue and functions as the town’s main street. The 76-foot-wide stretch of asphalt provides four lanes, on-street parking and a turning lane, but it’s a less than friendly experience for many pedestrians.
Tuesday night’s Granby Board of Trustees workshop continued preliminary discussions about streetscape and traffic calming on Agate Avenue.
Jeff Wood, an architect with the University of Colorado at Denver, along with two landscape architecture students from UC Denver, outlined some ideas. Discussions for the design began about a year ago, with the board of trustees highlighting beautification, bike lanes and making the street more pedestrian and biker friendly as priorities.
The designers set out to make Granby a more inviting place while preserving the assets already along the main thoroughfare.
“We’d like to make it more like a main street serving the community rather than just being a highway through town,” Wood said.
The group presented three different designs with various ideas that the town may chose to implement. All included adding medians like those in Fraser or Winter Park as a way to both beautify the town and slow traffic.
The first plan would create bike lanes on the south and north sides of Agate Avenue that could be buffered near intersections. The plan also keeps space for parking and new bike parking spaces as well.
The second plan would put a bidirectional bike lane on the south side of the street, while the third would move the bike lanes off main street entirely and keep the focus on pedestrians instead.
To fit the bike lanes onto Agate, designers suggested removing one of the eastbound lanes through town while keeping both of the westbound lanes. Some participants in the discussion raised concerns with removing this lane when traffic continues to increase in Granby, while others asked why not remove a westbound lane as well.
The Colorado Department of Transportation recommended Granby remove the eastbound lane as a way to slow traffic and make it easier to navigate the road for the majority of residents living north of Agate. At the same time, CDOT was against removing the westbound lane, as it would slow traffic down too much.
Town Manager Ted Cherry explained that traffic counts indicated to CDOT that when drivers head west into Granby, they do it at about the same time. However, when they’re going east, it’s slightly more staggered. Wood added that it is generally best to follow CDOT’s recommendations if the town wants designs to be approved.
A few audience members said they would rather have bike lanes off the main street. Other options brought forward detoured bicycles to Jasper Avenue or south of the railroad tracks.
While it was agreed that medians would help pedestrians, the placement of those medians and where left turns would be permitted is something that would have to be discussed thoroughly. Other ideas from the design team included extending sidewalks, adding greenery, creating curb extensions at crossing points and drainage improvements.
Each recommendation comes with pros and cons, which the designers acknowledged. Following a busy Labor Day weekend, it was clear the traffic will continue to increase in Granby.
“One of the overriding principles is to make Granby more of a pedestrian friendly community and not make it a highway friendly community,” Wood said. “Eliminating a lane does create traffic … I don’t love traffic either, but I think it’s just one of the strategies.”
No decisions were made during the workshop, but the designers are planning followup discussions with town staff.
Recommendations will likely be implemented in phases over many years. Any major changes to Agate Avenue are a long way off, as they would also require CDOT approval, engineering and funding before they could happen.
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