Road re-striping under way on Beaver Creek Boulevard in Avon
AVON — This summer, the road diet will not involve a helping of aspen leaves.
Re-striping efforts are under way on West and East Beaver Creek Boulevard, where the town council has approved a plan to narrow the travel lanes, widen the sidewalks and add on-street parking to the road, among other changes.
The design currently being painted on the roadway will closer resemble the final product that engineers have in mind. The project was presented to the Avon Town Council in February and March and received unanimous support from the five of seven council members present for the voting. The project was originally budgeted for $2.5 million but was recently revised to be about $3 million.
“I moved to Avon 24 years ago and I’ve been waiting for this for 24 years,” council member Sarah Smith Hymes said.
POST OFFICE UNAFFECTED
When the road diet took form last summer, re-striping was used to delineate on-street parking, shortened pedestrian crossings, a reduction in the number of approach lanes to the Avon Road roundabout from three to two, and a closing of the post office entrance on Beaver Creek Boulevard.
After several workshops, some of those ideas were scrapped, including the post office closure and the back-in parking. Three workshops were held.
“This has been, I think, one of the best public processes I’ve been a part of for a street project,” planning director Matt Pielsticker said.
Through the public process, Design Workshop — the group bringing Beaver Creek Boulevard redesign blueprints to the council — determined that the increased frequency of pedestrian crossings and the shorter distances those pedestrians have to walk to get across the street were the big winners. “Bulb-outs,” or landscaped areas, contributed to the shorter crossing distance. While those areas were delineated using street paintings of aspen leaves last summer, they will become curb-style features upon completion.
“People could envision how that could become an aesthetic improvement,” Mike Albert, with Design Workshop, told the council after participating in the outreach efforts.
Town Manager Virginia Egger said no aspen leaf paintings are in the plans for this summer’s restriping.
NO ‘PROTECTED BIKE LANE’
Between the aspen leaves, the closing of the post office entryway and the back-in parking on West Beaver Creek Boulevard, last summer’s restriping drew some criticism. The Vail Daily received numerous letters on the issue and letter writers have again picked up the pen as word gets around that another restriping effort is underway.
Beaver Creek Boulevard user Michael Spaid, in an April 20 letter to the Vail Daily, asked if users will be “going back to the congestion on Beaver Creek Boulevard, where I don’t think I have ever seen a biker?”
Indeed, a safer passage for cyclists is among the major motivations for the redesign. While last year’s test period had parked cars in between the bike lane and the drive lane, in a so called “protected bike lane,” this year, and in the final design, the bike lane will be on the other side of the parked cars.
“One of the things we did learn was protected bike lanes really work well when there are few curb cuts,” Albert said.
Final construction on the redesigned road is expected to begin in late 2017 and be complete by this time next year.
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