Main Street changes coming to New Castle this year
Downtown New Castle is gearing up for some changes that are aimed at building up the local bicycle culture.
New Castle town officials hosted an information session for the community on Tuesday night for those who wanted to learn more about the impending lane changes to Main Street that will go into effect sometime this year.
The downtown street is set to be converted from four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) to two lanes, plus a turn lane and dedicated bike lanes.
“This could get done this spring if it moves forward,” Town Administrator Tom Baker told around a dozen residents at the meeting. “There are a lot more trail riding options than there were even five years ago, and we want to make it safer for people to come to town.”
Approved by town council last year, New Castle Public Works Director John Wenzel said the project will move forward once the final funding is in place and the town receives approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Main Street doubles as Highway 6 & 24.
Wenzel hopes to see it completed by the end of 2018 with the total cost expected to be between $26,000 and $28,000.
“First order of business will be to remove existing striping,” he explained. “You can’t just let it fade away and you can’t just paint over it. We will have to grind the existing striping off.”
He said most of the cost will be associated with the removal of the current traffic lines. Around 14,000 linear feet of line will need to be removed.
Once the lines are removed, crews will need to paint the new lines with epoxy reflective paint, which Wenzel said could be done in a matter of hours.
Finally, thermal plastic materials will be melted into the asphalt for the bike lanes.
Town Council member Graham Riddile expects this change to also make walking in downtown New Castle and crossing the street much safer for pedestrians.
“One issue we keep hearing is pedestrian-vehicle conflicts,” he said.
He explained that when people try to cross the road, one car may stop but the car in the other lane of traffic in the same direction will not, preventing the pedestrian from crossing.
“By reducing the amount of traffic lanes we will be able to cut those conflicts in half,” he said.
Ryan Wilch with the town’s downtown group said the safety aspect of this change is undeniable, but the potential economic impact is the real draw.
He added the town is shifting its focus to creating a safer downtown for walking, biking and driving in the future.
The changes to Main Street come following New Castle’s recent push to improve its trail network and make recreating throughout town easy and accessible. Earlier this year, the town received final funding for the design of the LoVa Trail east of town into South Canyon, and New Castle Trails has begun construction on new flow trails north of town dubbed the ‘Colorowflow Trails.’
A whole new network of new and improved trails has also been established on BLM land north of the Castle Valley Ranch neighborhood.
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The city of Glenwood Springs has proposed investing $5.76 million for street improvements in the 2020 budget.