Eagle’s Sylvan Lake Road set for traffic-calming improvements | VailDaily.com

Eagle’s Sylvan Lake Road set for traffic-calming improvements

The Eagle Town Council approved the above concept design for Sylvan Lake Road streetscape improvements on March 14. Project leads are now pursuing additional funding options.
Courtesy Photo / David Evans and Associates
Traffic-calming elements considered for Sylvan Lake Road right-away:
  • Raised curb extensions would shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians
  • Road narrowing can slow traffic and encourage driver alertness
  • A striped median would separate traffic and discourage U-turns in the area
  • A designated bike lane would encourage drivers to slow down and share the road with cyclists

A stretch of Sylvan Lake Road in Eagle is under review for ways to improve the experience of pedestrians and cyclists as well as to calm traffic coming through the area. Between Eagle’s Gamble Street and Eagle Ranch Road, traffic-calming techniques will be layered to create a safer transportation environment. 

Last October, a public engagement process kicked off the Sylvan Lake streetscape improvement process. A pop-up community event was held outside of Color Coffee in Eagle Ranch on Oct. 18, 2022, and an online map allowed community members to give feedback on the impending project.

Safety and usability concerns about the area’s current design were expressed by community members throughout the engagement process. Notably, the project aims to address issues such as long crossing distances for pedestrians, speeding vehicles, drivers failing to yield, and gaps in available sidewalks.

On March 14, staffers on the Sylvan Lake Road streetscape improvement project presented the Eagle Town Council with two concept designs for the project. Both concepts aimed to address concerns brought forward by users. The first concept utilizes a painted striped median. The second concept uses a raised median to slow traffic along the road. 

After examining the pros and cons of the two options, project manager Martha Miller recommended the first for the Town Council’s approval, explaining that it would be preferred for the project. Ultimately, the striped median alternative would be more cost-effective and alongside other traffic-calming improvements, is expected to work similarly to a raised median. 

Support Local Journalism

Miller said the expected project cost with a raised median would be $1.3 million. With the striped median, it’s $790,000. 

“We realize this may be more than what Town Council anticipated for the improvements in this area, but we want to start with these designs and see if we can find some funding,” Miller said. “If we can’t, we’ll go from there.”

On March 8, Miller submitted a request to the Town Council for a financial match from the Colorado Department of Transportation through a Transportation Alternatives Program grant. Town staff reviewed the project with CDOT in a pre-application meeting — during which CDOT representatives said the Sylvan Lake project would be a strong applicant for its funding and suggested the town request $750,000 for the streetscape improvements. 

“The primary intent of (the) Transportation Alternatives Program is to fund design, planning and construction of pedestrian or bike facilities,” reads a town of Eagle resolution outlining the town’s agreed financial match to the grant request.

On March 14, the Town Council approved the design recommended by Miller and other project leads, allowing the project to move forward with pursuing additional funding options, Miller said. 

The approved design is meant to boost and improve pedestrian and cyclist use. Part of doing so involves integrating more pedestrian amenities. 

“At each of the four intersections, which would be Gable, Capitol, McDonald and Eagle Ranch Road, the raised concrete callouts — that’s to shorten the distance and the safety of the pedestrian,” Miller said. 

Sarah Rachel-Dormand is a transportation project engineer for David Evans and Associates. She said that specifically at Capitol Street, shortening the crossing distance for pedestrians would enhance the safety of Sylvan Lake Road right away under review.

Rachel-Dormand noted that with the senior living facility there and a proposed future transit stop at the East end of Capitol Street, safer crossing conditions would be useful there. Additionally, the plan involves including a sidewalk between MacDonald Street and Capitol Street, Miller said. 

The changes are also set to make improvements for cyclists who make their way through the area. A designated bike lane would establish a safer environment for cyclists and also narrow the road — a traffic-calming technique to increase driver alertness and speed compliance.

Transportation planner Hannah Polow explained that as the project commences, additional details also geared toward traffic calming will be fleshed out and incorporated if deemed necessary. 

“The traffic calming effect is coming from multiple things — the narrowing of the traffic lanes, adding the bike lane and then the curb extensions, which really creates that sort of visual narrowing,” Polow said. 

An example of an additional traffic-calming element for consideration could be a rectangular flashing pedestrian beacon, Polow said. 

As changes are being made, the project leads explained that alongside boosting safety, a major goal of facilitating Sylvan Lake streetscape improvements was to maintain the availability of on-street parking in the area.

With the tentative project design approved by the Town Council, project leads have the recommendation to seek out additional funding for the Sylvan Lake streetscape improvements.  

Support Local Journalism