Pedestrian safety top issue facing Main Street Breck, ‘voters’ say
BRECKENRIDGE – Scores of little blue dots, each representing a vote, confirmed to Steven Spears what he thought he already knew: Breckenridge needs to make Main Street friendlier and safer for pedestrians.The project was the culmination of a four-day series of meetings in which representatives from Design Workshop of Aspen met with citizens, business owners, town officials and numerous others to determine the biggest concerns surrounding Main Street.The process, called the Downtown Revitalization Project, is designed to make Main Street more pedestrian friendly, integrate its transit systems with the downtown core and link the Riverwalk Center with the Blue River Plaza, Main Street and the arts district on Ridge Street. The ultimate goal is to animate downtown, make visitors feel more comfortable – and encourage them to open their wallets a little wider at the cash register.”It was extremely clear that the pedestrian safety issue is critical,” said Spears, a landscape architect with the firm. “Now that Breckenridge has control of Main Street, it has a great opportunity to ensure the safety of pedestrians.”The public workshop last week attracted about 75 people who were directed to look at comments culled from other meetings, then at a hypothetical drawing of how Main Street could look.The Design Workshop representatives outlined what the typical commercial mix is in a resort community and asked participants to compare Breckenridge to that.At the end of the evening, people were given six blue dots – each one considered a vote – and told to place their dots on large sheets of paper outlining the various issues. Each dot represented a vote for what they believed was the top issue facing Main Street.Besides pedestrian safety and parking, other top vote-getters were signage at the new roundabout to be built next summer, developing active public spaces, keeping the Victorian lighting, making it easier to understand how to get from the parking lots into town and offering more places for people to relax.Someone took the opportunity to place a Post-It note on one of the sheets saying, “More retail variety. Fewer T-shirt and real estate shops.” That note garnered four votes.Because so many people said their top concern was pedestrian safety, it is likely the design team will concentrate on that first, Spears said.”We’re already starting to throw out options that don’t give full attention to pedestrians,” he said. “We could just keep striping the crosswalks, but that’s not enough for this community. Now we’re looking at using bulb-outs (oversized corners at intersections), completely changing the intersection material, maybe even consider using a snowmelt system.”Other things that have been considered include installing more street furniture, removing conifers that block the views of storefronts, create pocket parks, build wider sidewalks, enhance view corridors, install infrastructure for banners and change street space for use for festivals.Breckenridge is unique in that every block has a different feel to it, Spears said. That could result in evaluating each individually as the process continues.The design team will now compile the data and present it to the town council at a later meeting.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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