THE city of Alamosa wants to take another step in building a pedestrian-friendly downtown by creating a Downtown Pedestrian Safety Zone and doubling fines for speed-related traffic violations on Main Street and the surrounding area.
“Without making another physical change downtown, increasing fines for speeding downtown is the most effective way to encourage motorists to slow down and pay more attention to pedestrians,” the city’s memo to the city council reads. “The power of this change will involve signage and public outreach warning motorists about the higher fines for speeding. This change is important to the success of our downtown revitalization by ensuring our pedestrians feel safe and welcome.”
The city council will hear the proposal on a first reading Wednesday. If it gains a majority of council support, a Downtown Pedestrian Safety Zone would go to a public hearing in two weeks.
Alamosa has been working to slow down traffic on Main Street and create a downtown that residents and tourists find inviting and safe. Last July it reduced lanes on Main Street to two lanes from three as part of a “road diet’ strategy to get motorists to slow through the core of the city. Resident complaints saw the city council adjust the “road diet” strategy by adjusting curb stops back one inch on each side of the street and striped six inches of buffer space between the driving lanes and the on-street parking.
City staff said those adjustments resulted in motorists picking up their speeds once again, and downtown merchants asked the city to look at other ways to reduce speeds and cater to pedestrians. Hence the doubling of fines and establishment of a Downtown Pedestrian Safety Zone.
Main Street sees an average daily traffic count of 8,400 vehicles, according to 2020 figures from the Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT has said it’s noticed an uptick in traffic volume on US 160 through Alamosa over the last two years.
The city is also installing beacon crossing lights downtown to assist with pedestrian crossings at Main Street and San Juan and Main and Hunt. Those crossing lights should be installed this year.
Read the city’s communication to the City Council on the issue here.
Listen to the recent The Valley Pod podcast episode with Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks and Development Services Director Rachel Baird.