Castle Rock has a newly adopted plan for getting people around the downtown area, and it places an emphasis on making life easier for pedestrians and bicyclists. Council approved the Downtown …
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Castle Rock has a newly adopted plan for getting people around the downtown area, and it places an emphasis on making life easier for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Council approved the Downtown Mobility Master Plan on July 16 after hearing a presentation on goals for downtown mobility and proposed policy changes. The document will inform council as it makes future decisions related to transportation in the downtown area.
Transportation Planner Thomas Reiff said the document came about because the downtown area is different in layout and character from the remainder of Castle Rock.
“We realized the approaches we were taking at some of the improvements around town didn't really apply to downtown,” he said. “We could come in, widen roadways, widen intersections. That would kind of destroy the character of downtown.”
The project study area spans from Wolfensberger Boulevard to the north, Plum Creek Parkway to the south, the Union Pacific railway to the east and Interstate 25 on the west.
Residents listed bicyclist and pedestrian safety, improved crosswalks, congestion, poor sighting at intersections and the positioning of future public transit as priorities during public outreach.
When it comes to vehicular transportation, the guide suggests additional roundabouts and turn restrictions, but also public transit.
“We're working with CDOT on trying to get a Bustang stop here in Castle Rock,” Reiff said.
For those who opt to stroll through downtown, the plan suggests curb extensions to reduce pedestrian crossings and improved street lighting at crosswalks. It also proposes constructing missing sidewalks.
“I think it's important for us to look at, as a conservative-minded council, if people are walking it saves us money,” Mayor Pro Tem Jason Bower said. “Then we're not spending money on infrastructure with people driving all over the place.”
Reiff said staff is recommending the town take up a new policy of providing at least one handicap parking space to a block and a streetscape design manual to bring consistency to the area.
When it comes to bike infrastructure, the downtown is lacking, Reiff said.
“We have some really good trails that come into downtown but once you're off the trails there really isn't a good network of bike circulation,” he said.
To fix it, the mobility plan proposes increasing trail access to the downtown, adding bike parking, looking into shared use of streets and revamping alleys.
Mayor Jason Gray, who owns a downtown business, Crowfoot Valley Coffee, said biking and walking should be better supported in Castle Rock.
“We get bikers every single day and I get complaints every single day about how hard it is to ride a bicycle downtown,” Gray said. “They feel like they're putting their lives in their hands riding downtown.”
The plan points to trends like biking, ridesharing (Lyft or Uber) and automated vehicles as issues that could affect the area in the future. Improvement suggested in the plan range in cost from $20,000 to $200,000 to conduct studies and up to $1.9 million for capital costs.
“We've got a lot of people moving into downtown. We've got a lot of development being proposed,” Reiff said. “By improving walking and biking, that really helps the folks out who are going to be moving.”
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