Montrose, CO — The City of Montrose has been selected to receive $2 million in funds from the Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, to improve the safety, mobility, and economic development of Montrose's West Main Street corridor.
The focus area for the improvements spans from Cascade Avenue in downtown Montrose along Main Street to the West Main Trailhead at the Uncompahgre River. This project, entitled West Main Complete Streets, aims to create a safe corridor between the city's downtown business district and the Uncompahgre River, which is viewed as vital in terms of connecting downtown, recreational amenities along the river, and the growing residential neighborhoods of west Montrose.
The Colorado Department of Transportation awarded approximately $22 million for sixteen transportation projects across the state under the Revitalizing Main Streets Program Larger Safety Infrastructure Grant opportunity. It should be noted that Main Street running west from the intersection at Townsend Avenue is officially known as Colorado Highway 90, and is under the jurisdiction of CDOT.
"This funding will be used for a monumental project that will transform the West Main Street corridor. It aims to improve safety for all users, expand accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists, and create a welcoming environment that will spur further economic revitalization efforts in downtown Montrose," said Kendall Cramer, community program manager. "The City of Montrose extends our appreciation to the Colorado Department of Transportation for its investment in our community."
Improvements to the West Main Street corridor will include roadway conversion, ADA-compliant sidewalks, and new bike lanes in both directions for the full length of the project area on West Main Street to establish a much-needed connection for the residents of west Montrose. The final design for the project will be developed through a public process and in coordination with CDOT. These improvements will be based on traffic studies and data collected throughout the West Main Street corridor.
City staff began working with local residents and consultants in summer 2020 to create a detailed vision of improvements to the West Main Street corridor. A key conclusion from this process was the need for safe bike and pedestrian connections between the Uncompahgre River and downtown.
The city’s grant application stated that the project will add an exciting and necessary connection to a variety of Montrose neighborhoods and will improve the quality of life for a very diverse group of Montrose residents.
The existing street and sidewalk infrastructures do not meet ADA standards and are not safe for citizens in wheelchairs or on foot. Due to wide double lanes heading east and west, motorists often exceed the posted speed limit through an area that lacks turn lanes.
Comments from the public highlight the difficulty of crossing these wide streets and the overemphasis on vehicle traffic that cause many to choose not to bike or travel by foot in this area. Additionally, the potential for future housing on the west side of town will likely increase traffic and further exacerbate these issues.
In 2012, a report titled “Montrose Downtown Plan of Development” highlighted these concerns and labeled the area a "priority for revitalization."
Furthermore, the city's "Envision 2040" Comprehensive Plan, completed in 2020, underscored the need to prioritize multi-modal improvements along this corridor.
“The Montrose community is so thankful for our well-established relationships with the State of Colorado and statewide organizations such as CDOT. The great success that we are experiencing here in Montrose would not be possible without the support of these partners,” said City Manager Bill Bell. “It is exciting to see these major improvements coming to the West Main Corridor after many hours of planning and citizen participation through our recent Comprehensive Planning process.”
The grant calls for a financial match of 20%, or $400,000, from the city to complete the improvements. Aside from greatly improving safety and mobility for residents in the area, the city believes the project will provide a catalyst for more economic development in the West Main Street area.
These awards were made possible when Governor Jared Polis signed SB21-110 in March 2021, which provided an additional $30 million to support the Revitalizing Main Streets Program through two separate grant opportunities: Larger Safety Infrastructure Grants and Small Multimodal & Economic Resiliency Projects. Importantly, the passage of SB-260 further extends this highly successful program beyond the current grant cycle.
“CDOT is incredibly grateful for the tremendous partnerships and high level of support that has made the continuation of this innovative program possible,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “The selected projects support a transportation system that safely accommodates all modes of travel, providing safe access to opportunity and mobility for residents of all ages, incomes, and abilities. We can’t wait to see these projects come to life statewide. We are also thrilled that Senate Bill 260 provided more funding for this successful program, which means there will be more opportunities coming up. We had far more fantastic projects than we could fund through this round of the programs, and strongly encourage other applicants to resubmit their applications when future funding becomes available.”
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