Solutions from Citizen Input

Grand Junction, Colorado
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


First Street was a two-lane road with no curb, gutter, or sidewalks before it was improved.

As urban growth expanded, a quiet country road became a major north-south street, and residents became concerned about increased vehicle speeds and heavy truck traffic, difficulty entering and exiting driveways, and the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.


The improvements to First Street included curbs and sidewalks, gutters that are used as bicycle lanes, raised medians, and raised crosswalks.

The Grand Junction Public Works Department recognized several years ago that First Street, a rural two-lane road with no curb, gutter, or sidewalks, was beginning to develop speed and congestion problems. Though there was a posted speed limit of 35 mi/h, it was common for vehicles to travel at over 50 mi/h. A 1992 road use study suggested accommodating the increasing volume on the street by adding a center two-way left-turn lane to remove turning traffic from the through lanes.

Initially, the plans to redesign First Street by expanding the right-of-way for the road (most of which was already owned by the city) was strongly opposed by many of the residents. Although most residents recognized that the congestion and speeds were out of proportion with the road's capacity and that there was only a paved shoulder for pedestrian access, they did not want to encourage any more vehicles to use their residential street as a way into town. A black walnut tree, which stood in the right-of-way needed to widen the road, became the symbol of project opponents.


Medians, speed tables and raised crosswalks have been effective at reducing vehicle speeds.

Several public meetings were held and two newsletters were distributed describing the issues surrounding the city's plans for the First Street reconstruction. Through this process, traffic calming features were incorporated into the project. To reduce the project's impact on residents, the city offered to narrow the travel lanes to 11 ft, rebuild the stone walls in several residents' yards, build retaining walls, and move a driveway.

The final design involved the construction of two lanes plus a center two-way left-turn lane with raised medians in four locations to slow traffic and provide for safer pedestrian crossings along a 0.5 mi section of First Street. Curbs and 5 ft sidewalks were added adjacent to the road on both sides of the street, cutting back 3 ft at driveways to insure a level cross-grade. Gutters were added with a width of 5 ft to double as bicycle lanes. Three speed tables were installed, two of which function as crosswalks. These raised crosswalks pass diagonally through a median, forcing pedestrians to look toward oncoming vehicles before crossing the second half of the street. At the same time as the road reconstruction, all of the local utilities and irrigation systems were diverted underground and replaced by "historic" lighting fixtures.


The sidewalks, raised medians and raised crosswalks on First Street accommodate pedestrians effectively.

After the project's construction, traffic volume rose from 10,372 ADT to 12,313 average daily traffic. The roadway successfully accommodated this traffic increase, which was primarily due to the overall population growth of Grand Junction. Although vehicle crashes also increased slightly from five in the 22 months before the project to seven in the 20 months afterward, four of the post-project crashes occurred when a vehicle struck a median island and the project effectively reduced speeds. The 85th percentile speed decreased from 39 mi/h before the project to 34 mi/h afterwards. The total cost of the project was approximately $850,000.

Pedestrian and bicycle use of the roadway also increased. Before the project, one resident wondered, "Why are you putting in sidewalks? Nobody ever walks on this street." Now many pedestrians and bicyclists use the roadway to go to a middle school at the south end of the project, and many residents walk for recreation. According to a resident, the pedestrian and bicycle improvements inspired other residents to take more interest in walking around the neighborhood and maintaining their property. Not only had he observed significantly more pedestrians on the street, but he saw lifelong neighbors out walking for the first time.


Jody Kliska
City of Grand Junction
2551 River Street
Grand Junction, CO 81505
Phone: (970) 244-1591
Fax: (970) 256-4115

T. Kent Herbert, P.E.
City of Grand Junction
250 N. Fifth Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Phone: (970) 244-1445
Fax: (970) 256-4011

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