Here is the intersection where the now-defunct roundabout would have been located, Quincy Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Photo courtesy Google Maps
Cherry Hills Village City Council held its April 3 meeting at St. Mary’s Academy to accommodate the large crowd expected to attend to discuss traffic concerns. Mayor Laura Christman opened the meeting to a standing room only gathering of 150 worried residents, many of whom had brought prepared statements expressing their strong opposition to constructing a one-lane roundabout at Quincy Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.
City Manager Jim Thorsen explained that staff had received many complaints about morning and afternoon rush hour congestion at the intersection. That is consistent with the conclusions of a citywide traffic study completed late last year. Its findings include a statement that “Traffic on Quincy Avenue experiences an average delay of more than 50 seconds per vehicle during the peak hours.” Traffic study recommendations state that CHV can either do nothing at that intersection, “or construct a roundabout to reduce the delay on Quincy Avenue.”
Morning congestion is related to overlapping start times at CHV elementary and Kent Denver, combined with the normal flow of residents driving to work. Data developed in the study shows that the majority of traffic on Quincy Avenue in the afternoon rush hour is comprised of cars cutting through CHV to avoid congested major arterials.
Based on the findings and recommendations of the traffic study, council voted last month to invest $10,000 to $15,000 to complete surveys and produce renderings of a proposed roundabout in time for its April 3 meeting, “in order to provide accurate information on which the public could comment.” If, after review and consultation with the residents, it was decided to build the roundabout, construction would need to begin immediately after school is out, so as to be completed in the summer months. The process of bidding the contract would have to be initiated as soon as possible. For that reason, the council appropriated $750,000, the full estimated cost of construction, with a clear statement that it was not approving the construction by doing so.
City Manager Thorsen discussed the attributes of the roundabout. Curtis Rowe, a traffic engineer, said that data showed that a one-lane roundabout results in decreased speeds of vehicles. The residents were not persuaded, and the mayor soon announced that “We might have found a solution for which the village does not think there is a problem.” Council member Katy Brown agreed. Council member Mike Gallagher noted that people felt that having a roundabout would alter the character of CHV. Council member Randy Weil explained that council thought they were solving a problem, and they were glad to hear from and listen to the citizens.
In short order, council member Dan Sheldon moved to direct the city manager to discontinue all work on the design of the roundabout and return all monies set aside and not expended, to the funds from which they had been transferred for appropriation to this project. Council member Blum seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously 36 minutes after the mayor had called the meeting to order.
Standing room only at Cherry Hills Village City Council meeting to discuss roundabout. Photo by Tom White
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