Keystone residents call for rename of Hwy 6

Caddie Nath

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Residents of the Keystone area are pushing to have the main road through their community, state Highway 6, renamed the Keystone Parkway.

Members of the Keystone Citizens League and the Keystone Owners Association say the renaming effort is just one part of an ongoing initiative to make the highway safer and improve the visibility of the community that surrounds it.

“You have 300 or 400 full-time single-family homes, you have another 2,500-3,000 condos in the area, and there is no sense as you come into Keystone that you’re actually in a community,” said Ken Riley, who sits on the board of directors of the owners association. “Renaming Hwy. 6 as the Keystone Parkway is just one step of a long-range goal to start having the feel of Keystone be a community and a safe place for families.”

The Hwy. 6 initiative is taking shape a year after a visitor was killed at an area crosswalk residents had long complained was unsafe. Romanian national Mircea Basaram, 33, was killed on Saint Patrick’s Day last year when he was hit by a drunken driver while crossing the intersection of Hwy. 6 and Rasor Drive.

His death spurred state transportation officials to action. The intersection is now heavily marked with flashing signs, a sensor-activated cross bar, narrowed lanes and on-pavement warnings of an upcoming pedestrian crossing.

But neighbors say the area is still dangerous. People don’t always use the crosswalk, residents report, drivers speed through the rural four-lane highway well over the speed limit and the thoroughfare is a corridor for hazardous materials vehicles coming from Loveland Pass.

Officials and Keystone residents agree landscaping, increased signage and a more urban feel along Hwy. 6 will help make drivers more aware that they’re passing through a populated resort area and, locals hope, cause them to slow down.

“If it feels like just a rural, four-lane highway, which is kind of what it feels like now, then people tend to drive faster,” assistant county manager Thad Noll said. “(When) it feels like a more built-up zone people tend to drive slower and that helps with pedestrian safety.”

The residents’ associations — who say they have the support of Keystone Resort, though ski area officials have not confirmed it — plan to start the improvements with landscaping and aesthetic enhancements at the “Four Corners” area, the location surrounding the first stoplight coming into Keystone from Silverthorne. If funding becomes available, upgrades could be made to the first corner this year. Locals say there are plans to spruce up the medians on Hwy. 6 and to resurface and reopen a set of tennis courts in the area as well.

“All the things we want to do are trying to continually address Hwy. 6 safety,” Keystone Citizens League president Bill Goslau said.

Renaming plans are still in the early stages, but Keystone residents have support from the county government. It’s not an unprecedented project in Summit County. Several state highways have been adapted with local names, including Park Avenue through Breckenridge and Summit Boulevard in Frisco, both of which are segments of Highway 9.

The naming process will go through the Colorado Department of Transportation, which manages Hwy 6.

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