Plan for Parker Road seeks to map future needs

Town's 'economic spine' likely to see significant traffic increases

Posted 10/29/19

Parker Road is expected to see a 25% increase in traffic volume by 2040, town officials said, and town and state officials are working together to develop a plan to accommodate those future needs. …

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Plan for Parker Road seeks to map future needs

Town's 'economic spine' likely to see significant traffic increases

Posted

Parker Road is expected to see a 25% increase in traffic volume by 2040, town officials said, and town and state officials are working together to develop a plan to accommodate those future needs.

The town's planning department released the Parker Road Corridor Plan Oct. 18 mapping out the mobility and development guidelines for the future of Parker's “economic spine.” Parker Road, Colorado Highway 83, is a state road owned and maintained by CDOT. The introduction of the plan defines the road as Parker's “identifiable gateway corridor.”

Being one of two north-south corridors that goes through Douglas County from Denver to Colorado Springs, Parker Road is guilty of Parker's worst gridlock during rush hour. Grueling hours of sitting in traffic and daunting trips to cross the street were some of the issues the town and CDOT looked at when drafting the plan.

“CDOT's transportation investments in Parker Road have influenced the shape and economic performance of the different land uses along the corridor,” the plan reads. “Some of these investments have proven to be unsustainable. Similarly, land development patterns have influenced the function and capacity of Parker—some proving beneficial but impacting the efficiency and safety of the highway.”

Parker Road sees about 60,000 vehicles per day near E-470 and about 35,000 near Stroh Road, according to Tom Williams, Parker's public works director. By 2040, those numbers are expected to jump to 80,000 and 40,000, respectively.

The Parker Road Corridor Plan is a combined land use and transportation plan for the town and CDOT to “better manage growth and land development, improve travel safety and efficiency and prioritize future infrastructure projects." The introduction of the plan defines the road as Parker's “identifiable gateway corridor.” To view the full plan, visit letstalkparker.com.

Bryce Matthews, planning manager for the Town of Parker, said the Parker Road Corridor Plan is a more detailed look at Parker's highway, particularly the surrounding land use and mobility improvements.

“It's the town and CDOT partnering to look at the future of Parker Road and address some of those issues,” Matthews said.

The planning department worked with CDOT as well as representatives from the E-470 Board of Directors and the Regional Transportation District and held two community workshops before drafting the plan this year. The plan now needs to go before the planning commission and council for public hearings.

Along with mobility improvements, the Parker Road Corridor Plan provides guidelines for design of commercial structures along the corridor to align the aesthetics of certain buildings, some as old as 40 years, to the look of the town.

The plan looked at the corridor in three sections: The Northern, Central and Southern subareas. The Northern Subarea, from the northern edge of town to Parkglenn Way, sees the highest traffic volume due to the confluence of major roads like Lincoln Avenue, Pine Lane and the E-470 interchange.

There's no silver bullet to solving Parker Road's traffic woes, but three main intersections were identified as areas for improvements.

One day, maybe 20 years from now, the Lincoln Avenue intersection will need its own interchange, Williams said, for the amount of growth expected in Douglas County in the coming years. Commuters pour from E-470 and Lincoln Avenue daily, packing Parker Road through the north end of town.

The intersections at Pine Lane and Lincoln Avenue have been identified in the plan as sites for “contextual intersection improvements," meaning redesigns to the current intersection will be made to increase road capacity at those intersections. The Pine Lane and Lincoln Avenue intersections received a “failing” grade for efficiency, Williams said, meaning a person could get stuck at either intersection for as many as three light cycles.

Those areas are part of the Northern Subarea in the plan, which sees the highest traffic volume compared to the Central or Southern Subareas. The Central Subarea, though, is where the town wants to focus its mobility improvements for pedestrians as well.

The Central Subarea was the main focus of the Parker Road Corridor Plan, Matthews said.

“That's the part of the Parker Road corridor that has some land uses and roadway purposes that are most misaligned and it's also the place for transportation improvements that will make a difference in terms of Parker Road's ability to move traffic and people for the long term," Matthews said.

Creating a safe crosswalk is a priority for the downtown area as the vision for downtown looks west. The addition of an acceleration and deceleration lane at the Mainstreet intersection could increase vehicle capacity by up to 30%, Matthews said.

CDOT does not normally build sidewalks alongside its highways. Parker Council, said Chris Hudson, public works manager, has long sought providing safe walking access along and across Parker Road.

Hudson said the plan helped create an image of what Parker Road looks like today and in the future.

“It got us all starting to think of some of the long-term issues on Parker Road,” Hudson said.

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