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Jeffco looks to improve Quincy Avenue

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By Corinne Westeman

Jefferson County is planning to revamp West Quincy Avenue between Tufts Avenue and Simms Street by adding bike lanes, improving roundabouts and crosswalks, and changing the four-lane roadway so that two of those lanes are left-hand turns.

If the plan is approved, county staff says the project likely will begin in 2019 with work through 2020. Total cost is estimated to be between $6 million to $8 million, said Steve Durian, the director of transportation and engineering for Jeffco.

The project's goals, Durian said, are to calm traffic and reduce speeding through the four-lane section between Eldridge Street and Arbutus Way; reduce the number of accidents at the roundabouts along Simms Street south of U.S. 285; and to improve general safety and aesthetics by adding sidewalks, bike lanes and landscaping.

The Department of Transportation and Engineering presented these ideas to residents at a public community meeting at D’Evelyn High School in July.

Durian estimated about two-thirds of the 170 attendees liked the idea of changing the four-lane section because they’ve noticed frequent speeding through the area. The speed limit along the stretch between Arbutus and Eldridge is 35 mph, but the average speed is 43 mph, he explained.

Additionally, the current and projected traffic volumes don’t justify four lanes, and two lanes with a left-hand turn lane is adequate, Durian added.

Other feedback included adding a stoplight rather than a roundabout at Quincy and Simms, and eliminating the proposed roundabout at Quincy and Union Street from the project plans, which the staff has done.

The plans also include reworking the roundabout at Quincy and Simms to be a single lane, and restriping the roundabout at Nassau and Simms, so that both are similar to the roundabout at Quincy and Belleview, which Durian said is less confusing and doesn’t see as many accidents.

According to Mike Vanatta, deputy director of transportation and engineering, Jeffco is hoping to start construction on the section between Eldridge and Youngfield streets in 2019, with an estimated cost of $3 million to $4 million.

Vanatta said that adding landscaping and traffic-calming medians will help provide a safer environment for bicyclists and motorists.

It will also improve the water quality by adding smaller water quality ponds rather than having to build one large regional pond at another site.

The county hopes to do the section between Youngfield and Simms in 2020 for about the same price, Vanatta said, although he added that staff may try to get the roundabouts done sooner, as it’s a safety issue.

Both Vanatta and Durian said there are no more community meetings expected on this project, but the public is welcome to attend the staff’s meeting with the planning commission on Sept. 13 to reclassify Quincy Avenue.

For information on this project, including conceptual designs of the proposed changes, visit http://jeffco.us/transportation-and-engineering/projects.