Dillon works on improving Lodgepole Street walkability and safety
Construction company chosen for Town Park project
Dillon Town Council continues to give its town a makeover, and Lodgepole Street is one of the next items on the agenda. The plan is to improve drainage, walkability, safety, access to the Dillon Marina and more.
The Town Council discussed modifying the street during its Jan. 6 work session. The plan is to have perpendicular parking spaces that are 22 feet long to accommodate bike racks and other hitched equipment that extend the length of a vehicle. There would be no parking on the north side of the street.
Sidewalks are planned to run along both sides of the street, connecting to existing sidewalks and improving walkability. A 6-foot sidewalk would be added to the north side of the road, and there would be a 7-foot sidewalk on the south side. Three pedestrian crossings would connect the sidewalks and include landscaping.
For more beautification, the west end of Lodgepole Street can be reprogrammed to provide additional park amenities. Narrowing the intersection of West Buffalo, West LaBonte and Lodgepole streets is also proposed in the plan.
Council wanted to see how the street would look if it was made into a one-way street. Staff presented that information to council at a work session Tuesday, Feb. 1. A main change under that plan was orienting the parking spaces diagonally and having them on both sides of the street, increasing parking from 73 spaces to 105 spaces.
To get the spaces to fit, however, the sidewalk on the south side of the street is no longer an option. Three crosswalks would still allow pedestrians to reach the waterfront.
Though it helps deal with high-traffic events such as concerts at the Dillon Amphitheater, the one-way design comes at a cost to safety. Summit Fire & EMS told Town Council that having parking on both sides of the street means the road wouldn’t be 26 feet wide, as needed by code to place outriggers for trucks to deploy rescue ladders. Emergency services would also be restricted to a single point of access to the amphitheater and surrounding area.
Coeur Du Lac condominium residents also submitted letters to Town Council voicing their opposition to the parking on the north side, citing increased disturbances. Additionally, council members like Renee Imamura mentioned how the one-way road poses problems for cyclists as they aren’t allowed to ride against traffic.
Narrowing the intersection of West Buffalo, West LaBonte and Lodgepole streets, as well as possibly including raised crosswalks to slow traffic, will be revisited. However, Town Council ultimately decided to stick with the two-way design to address safety issues, among other concerns.
“I like having sidewalks on both sides,” Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said. I think it encourages what we want to see, which is pedestrian traffic.”
Town Council still liked some aspects of the one-way design, such as additional parking to alleviate event crowds. However, it was pointed out that events are a small portion of the year. Council discussed signage to direct visitors to other underutilized areas of town since the west end of Lodgepole Street is 1,200 feet from the north gate of the amphitheater. Town Engineer Dan Burroughs said they could do a study this year to get a better feel for where people are parking and know how many concerts cause parking problems.
Temporary parking spaces were also brought up as a possible solution. When a concert is happening, the town could spray paint roughly 15 spots on the north side of the street.
“If we could put a dozen or more of those cars here for events, I think that’s a reasonable compromise,” council member Steven Milroy said.
Costs are still to be determined, but Burroughs said they have about a $2 million budget.
“I’m sure, if we go this way, that $2 million is going to go a long way,” Burroughs said. “I think we’ll have some extra money.”
Lodgepole Street wasn’t the only construction topic of the evening. After being pushed back last year, Town Council on Tuesday approved a contractor to work on Town Park improvements, such as landscaping, pathways, a multiuse athletic field and playground enhancements.
American Civil Constructors won the bid, and the project will cost $2.64 million from the capital improvement fund. Work is planned to begin in the spring and be done by the end of summer.
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