After deadly hit-and-run, Breckenridge questions Airport Road safety
In the wake of a deadly hit-and-run this month, Breckenridge police chief Shannon Haynes told the town council on Tuesday that she is concerned about traffic safety on Airport Road.
“I know people are speeding out there,” she said.
On Aug. 31, Christina Martinez Hernandez was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in the 600 block of Airport Road. On Dec. 26, 2014, another pedestrian, Laura Hamilton, was also hit on Airport Road but survived the accident.
Gavin Dalgliesh, events manager for the Breckenridge Tourism office, agreed with Haynes. He said the road configuration lends itself to high speeds.
“I’ve noticed people driving very fast on that road,” he said. “It’s a pretty wide road that’s very straight.”
Haynes said the police need to take action to limit excessive speeds on Airport Road.
“I want to have a zero tolerance,” she said.
Council member Elisabeth Lawrence said that improved lighting could make the road less dangerous.
Rick Holman, Breckenridge assistant town manager, said an investigation is warranted.
“It may not be speed related,” he said. “We could be jumping to conclusions.”
Holman said a previous speed study was conducted on Airport Road.
“In the past, we found most people weren’t speeding,” he said. “It might be time for a new speed study.”
Haynes said the population density has increased around the Airport Road area.
“I’d like to get ahead of this; I want to be proactive,” she said. “I don’t want to have this conversation in two to three months, and we still haven’t reached a conclusion.”
Also on Tuesday, Dalgliesh presented a recent occupancy report to the council.
He said this July was the best on record, with an occupancy rate of 54.8 percent, a sharp increase over 50.5 percent for July of 2014. The 2015 August rate was at 38 percent, which was up from 35.3 percent in August 2014.
Dalgliesh said the overall summer occupancy rates were 28 percent, up from 25 percent in 2014.
Despite the apparent improvement, he said there has been some market share erosion.
“We’re losing 2.5 percent to our competition,” he said of other towns.
He also shared results of a survey conducted at the 14th annual Breckenridge Main Street Arts Festival which was held from July 24-26.
“It was well received by those there for the event and those who chanced upon it,” he said.
Of those surveyed, 47 percent said they came specifically for the arts festival, Dalgliesh said.
Council member Wendy Wolfe said — despite elevated numbers in July — there is still room to improve.
“At 54 percent occupancy, we’re just not knocking them dead,” she said.
The study, which cost more than $3,000, also found that 34 percent of festival attendees ventured into local art galleries.
Lawrence said the money invested in the survey was well founded.
“I think this is a low cost for some very valuable information,” she said.
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