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Town and school will partner for traffic and demolition projects

Traffic and track are issues

By Mark Reaman

By taking a step back from the idea of building a roundabout at the entrance to Crested Butte, the Town Council is teaming up with the Re1J school district to pay for another traffic study for the area. Town staff met with representatives of the Crested Butte Community School and school district to discuss a number of items that would impact the school site, including traffic alternatives and the demolition of the track around the soccer field.

In a May 21 report to the council, town manager Dara MacDonald wrote that the “school’s engineer recommends taking a fresh look at traffic flow solutions, both vehicular and pedestrian/bike. They have asked that the town postpone planning the right turn off Highway 135 for now and that instead we participate in a fresh traffic study.”

The estimated cost of such a new traffic study would be about $20,000, to be split between the town and the school. MacDonald told the council that with the elimination of roundabout planning that had been in the budget, the town had plenty of money available for such a request. The council was in favor of spending that money on a new study.

Re1J school district superintendent Doug Tredway said the study would begin shortly, with traffic counts being conducted before the end of this school year.

MacDonald also reported the school is in favor of town efforts to limit pedestrian/bike traffic at the Seventh Street and Red Lady Avenue intersection, by directing such traffic to Eighth Street. That effort is likely to be part of the new traffic study.

“In the near term, the school will continue to provide a crossing guard at the Eighth Street and Red Lady intersection as has been occurring the last two weeks, and not at Seventh and Red Lady,” MacDonald informed the council. “Safety for the crossing guard and kids at the Seventh and Red Lady intersection, as well as liability, have been ongoing concerns for some time.”

“We are looking to collaborate with the town and rework that traffic flow,” said Tredway.

Soccer field expansion

As for the track that circles the soccer field at the front of the school campus, MacDonald said the school district “is moving toward demolition of the track and subsequent re-vegetation this summer. This will alleviate an unsafe condition created by the track and allow for additional playing field space. In the updated versions of the draft CBCS master plan, this area could be utilized for a high school regulation soccer field in the future.”

Tredway said that project is another example of working collaboratively with the town. “We are still working out the details,” he said. “The track was a great idea at the time but it is not a full ring and it is unsafe. We are not able to use it as a track. We have some money set aside in our capital reserve fund to expedite moving forward with the track demolition.”

The Crested Butte public works department is expected to assist by performing the actual demolition and hauling away the asphalt track. MacDonald said the school district would handle irrigation and re-vegetation measures. “This is tentatively scheduled for July, depending on cost estimates for irrigation adjustments and revegetation and approval by the school board,” she said.

“We are in the process of gathering bids for vegetation and sprinklers,” said Tredway. “The goal is to keep as much green space as possible. We are still working on the master plan for the whole site and the board will look at a couple of alternatives. The master plan is still in progress.

“But we are trying to make this a good, solid playing field right now, not a premium high school field, continued Tredway. “That could come later. In the long run it will be better for us. Overall, we want to be good neighbors and work with the town.”

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