WALSENBURG — Stolfus and Associates, a traffic engineering firm, was contracted by Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to study and make suggestions on improving the safety of non-motorized transportation within Walsenburg. CDOT, Stolfus and Associates, City of Walsenburg, LiveWell Huerfano County and Huerfano County representatives met several times late last year to identify needs. As a result of the meetings and study, Stolfus and CDOT made a presentation to citizens at a public meeting January 20. The $1,000,000 Walsenburg Pedestrian Project planning stage is almost complete. The proposed bike lanes and improved crosswalks can make multimodal travel in Walsenburg safer and more accessible. However, some of the proposals for downtown Main Street are controversial. City workers and business owners are concerned about sidewalk “bumpouts” (traffic calming devices that push the sidewalks streetward at intersections) that may impede snow removal and take out precious parking spots. The engineering firm also suggested bike lanes down Main Street which could also cause
problems for downtown parking. To cloud the issue of traffic in downtown further, a proposal by the county commissioners to close off West Fifth Street for construction of a new judicial center is now under consideration. (see related story page 1) Other potentially controversial ideas involve redoing the corners at Main and Fifth Street and Main and Seventh Street to increase the turning radius and sight lines for traffic. The other proposals put forward for the project cover three other areas in the city. The first is to repair and improve sidewalks along both sides of W. 7th St. at the water park with a signalized crosswalk at Ysidro. Another area is near Spanish Peaks Library where they suggest putting in a sidewalk along the east side of Walsen Avenue with a signalized crosswalk in front of the library. The third area is also on Walsen Avenue, south of Pine Street where a narrow bridge over a flood control ditch makes it difficult for pedestrians or bikes to cross safely. The proposal is for a sidewalk to be placed on the east side of Walsen with signalized crosswalk on the south side of the bridge connecting to a continuous sidewalk on the west side. The sidewalk then goes all the way to the school complex on Pine. CDOT and Stolfus will take the public comments submitted since the January meeting to refine their plans. Turn them in to Cindy Campbell at Washington Underground or at the Outreach Clinic. The one million dollar allotment will not fund all these proposals. It is up to the officials of CDOT and the City of Walsenburg to choose the plan that best fits the community. Citizens who want to see the proposed plans can see them at Washington Underground and Spanish Peaks Library.