Vail Daily column: Traffic still a problem
Ryan Summerlin January 10, 2014
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vailhomeowners.com.
Effective traffic management is a continuing community problem. As this is an area of town planning calling for comprehensive solutions, Vail Homeowners Association continues to support interactive dialogue to seek improvement. The association works to identify issues of concern and facilitates discussion of all parties involved with the goal of reaching a collaborative positive conclusion.
Efforts by the Homeowners Association are under way to further the implementation of relocating more on-street truck traffic to the now completed system of enclosed loading and delivery terminals in Vail Village. The Vail Police Department and Town Council have recommended that the effort be pursued.
Residential owners complain about traffic congestion, engine and delivery noise, exhaust fumes and contributing contaminates to urban storm drainage runoff. The current method of regulating truck deliveries is in need of additional public capital investment, i.e. electric delivery carts, along with changes to operational regulations (all of which are being evaluated by the town of Vail). This approach is needed to correct imbalances in areas where commercial and residential uses are experiencing incompatibility issues.
Since the town is considering mandatory recycling regulations, the Homeowners Association suggests that the town may want to assess the feasibility of putting recycling compactors in the loading and delivery terminals. These types of facilities may have the benefit of reducing the trash truck traffic in the village. The electric carts could be used for deliveries as well as loading out certain recyclables from the businesses.
In a similar vein, Vail Homeowners Association is in discussions with Vail Resorts in an effort to remedy the impact of mountain service vehicular traffic on the Forest Road neighborhood. The association is supportive of efforts to encourage the United States Forest Service to reopen public access roads on Vail Mountain that have been affected by its road closure policy. Efforts remain ongoing to ensure that vehicular traffic to the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail building proposed for redevelopment remains compatible with the Golden Peak and golf course neighborhoods.
Frontage road and I-70 issues
A major breakthrough has been accomplished in advancing the Vail Homeowners Association’s desire for long-term improvement of the community traffic circulation system. The Colorado Department of Transportation granted $14.6 million to be matched by the town of Vail’s $6.2 million to construct the Simba Run underpass.
The project allows the South and North frontage roads to be interconnected midway between the Main and West Vail interchanges. The interconnection will reduce traffic congestion, improve pedestrian safety and circulation to residential neighborhoods, increase the efficiency of shuttle bus service and reduce travel time between commercial centers. As currently planned, some private property will have to be acquired.
Vail Homeowners is facilitating discussions between the affected residential property owners and the town engineer. We are hopeful that a favorable outcome is a result of these discussion. The design of the underpass will also be influenced by Vail Resorts’ plan to straighten the South Frontage Road in connection with their proposed Ever Vail development in West Lionshead.
Once completed, the Simba Run underpass will afford the opportunity to make further improvements to the joined sections of the North and South frontage roads. The Town of Vail Transportation Plan long-range calls for additional roundabouts, turn lanes, crossings, landscaped medians and variable message signs that will further improve traffic flow from Ford Park to the West Vail commercial shopping center. Upgrades to the town’s directional signage is currently under way, which will include permanent, real-time, variable message signs to replace the portable ones. Landscaped medians are to be installed along the Lionshead portion of the South Frontage Road this coming year.
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