Dillon Residents voice mixed opinions on blocking off Buffalo Street to through traffic as a solution to event traffic issues

Buffalo Street in Dillon connects West La Bonte Street to Lake Dillon Drive. The town surveyed residents of Buffalo Street and Three Rivers Street to see how they'd feel about closing down the road to through traffic by creating a dead end.
Luke Vidic/Summit Daily News

The residents of West Buffalo and Three Rivers streets in Dillon offered varied opinions in response to closing the streets to through traffic. Concerns about excess traffic flowing through residential neighborhoods during events, like shows at the amphitheater and during farmers markets, sparked the conversation.

The town sent out an anonymous survey to residents July 8 and reviewed the feedback at its council meeting Tuesday. Following discussion, council took no action.

The town asked residents their thoughts on turning Buffalo Street into a dead-end road. If enacted, all traffic to the residential area would come and go from West LaBonte Street, since a barrier would go up on Buffalo Street between the area where it intersects with Three Rivers Street and Lake Dillon Drive.

The proposed road closure location would separate the commercial town center area from the West Buffalo and Three Rivers residential area, according to the questionnaire.

The town said surveys were sent out to 31 properties and 24 responses were received, a 77% response rate. Of the responses received, 13 respondents supported the proposal to close the street and 11 did not support the proposal to close the street.

“It was really pretty split down the middle,” Dillon Events and Recreation Director Jessie Klehfoth said.

“This would be great! It’s a busy road and lot of folks cut through, and the farmers market traffic is a lot as well,” one response stated in support of the proposal.

“I will be very happy to see Buffalo Street calm down without a threat to a major traffic accident with vehicles traveling well over the speed limit to get to work or commercial trucks cutting through a residential neighborhood,” another said.

Others were concerned that the town is small and contains few roads, and people against the idea said blocking off routes through town might make congestion on larger roads worse.

“I think it is inconvenient for me personally because I want to go out my driveway and head to Keystone,” one anonymous opponent said. “Dillon already has traffic problems, and closing down a road will just cause congestion and move cars to other already-busy streets.”

Several responses identified speed-reducing measures, like bumps, as an alternate solution.

“If it is not closed, please install some speed bumps on Three Rivers Street and, if desired by the residents, on W. Buffalo Street,” one resident responded.

A sign marks the intersection of Buffalo Street and Three Rivers Street in Dillon.
Luke Vidic/Summit Daily News

“I would prefer speed bumps to stop fast driving, but maybe a closure is good. I would like to prevent construction traffic if (Uptown) 240 ever gets going again,” another resident added.

Public Works Director Scott O’Brien said the town would not consider speed bumps but would consider speed “humps.” Humps have a gradual incline with a 6-foot-long table top in the middle. They’re easier to plow, he said, and cars don’t break as hard, minimizing noise.

“There are several different approaches we could try,” O’Brien said.

The town could also consider some residential signage that says “no through traffic” to minimize the number of cars. In addition to other techniques, narrowing the road and widening sidewalks have also been shown to calm traffic speeds, O’Brien said.

Other residents proposed alternate solutions, ranging in topics.

One considered the possibility of a parking garage to keep cars off the roads.

I think a better solution is to create some kind of parking structure near the new hotel/Scrappy’s Pizza so that every car coming to Dillon doesn’t need to drive through the town.”

One resident emphasized a need for non-motor vehicle access and a way for first responders to be let through a gate if they are needed in the area.

“If this does happen: please … allow clearance for bikes and pedestrians through a fire gate.”

Several other residents were happy with the idea to install signs indicating no through traffic is allowed, while others said the proposed ideas are a waste of time and government resources.

“Money would be better spent to remove debris from Lake Dillon (Drive) in front of the abandon(ed), hazardous, rodent-infested, failed (Uptown) 240 project,” one said.

Residents mentioned construction and commercial vehicles passing through the area and a desire to keep them out. O’Brien said the town could also consider creating a truck route through town, keeping large vehicles out of residential neighborhoods. Although, he said, trash trucks, plows and busses may still need access to Buffalo and Three Rivers.

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