Summer Elk Avenue expected to see reduced speed limit

Going from 15 to 10 mph

[  By Mark Reaman  ]

The Crested Butte town council is moving toward implementing a 10 miles per hour speed limit on Elk Avenue this summer. A public hearing on the issue will be held at the April 4 council meeting.

Last summer town council implemented a one-way Elk Avenue configuration and included the 10 mph speed limit, which was down from the normal 15 mph limit. This coming summer starting in mid-June, Elk Avenue will be two-way but there will be parklet restaurant seating within the right-of-way so council hopes to lower the speed limit again between First and Sixth Streets.

Chief marshal Mike Reily said the reduced speed limit was a good addition to Elk Avenue last summer and with the return of two-way summer traffic on the thoroughfare, it should work again. 

Councilmember Chris Haver asked why not make the speed limit 10 mph year-round and Reily said that state regulations determine speed limits in part by what a majority of drivers are comfortable driving on a particular road.

“If we just pick a number and make changes to the speed limits that may not be defensible, we can be challenged in court,” he explained. “Having the parklets in the street is a good reason to reduce the speed limit.” 

Town manager Dara MacDonald said the town can perhaps explore how using speed limits fit into a broader plan addressing the town’s philosophy on traffic based on community values. That however, is a much bigger discussion and will somehow emerge from the Community Compass discussion currently taking place.

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