A New Vision for the I-70 Business Route in Downtown Grand Junction
Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
Completed Date: Summer 2015
Lead Consultant: Charlier Associates
Client: City of Grand Junction, Colorado
Challenge: The small city of Grand Junction is the largest metropolitan area on the western slope of Colorado and serves as a regional destination for shopping and medical services. Grand Junction is easily accessed by Interstate 70, which has a business route that runs through the heart of downtown (I-70B). An environmental assessment (EA) that was completed in 2008 indicated that due to traffic projections, the downtown portion of I-70B needed to be widened from five to seven lanes. However, since the completion of the EA, traffic had not increased as much as previously forecasted. The City of Grand Junction and the Downtown Development Authority sought to engage with the Colorado Department of Transportation to revisit the EA’s recommendations and rethink the design of downtown I-70B to match actual demands and increase the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
The City of Grand Junction and the Downtown Development Authority asked for assistance in creating a new vision for the downtown portion of I-70B. To that end, New Mobility West hired Charlier Associates to lead a stakeholder engagement process that would result in recommendations that addressed both the new traffic projections and the City’s goals for creating a walkable and vibrant downtown. In April 2015, Charlier and NMW staff spent two days in Grand Junction to conduct a charrette that included creating design alternatives and facilitated stakeholder meetings.
NMW and Charlier worked closely with the Colorado Department of Transportation to ensure recommendations accommodated all modes of travel safely. The team also held meetings with stakeholders, including a business forum, to understand top needs and challenges. From this process, Charlier developed a poster report that outlines several improvements that were identified during the workshop, as well as next steps.
Recommendations for downtown I-70B were derived primarily from the stakeholder engagement process coupled with goals and objectives the community had outlined in its downtown plan. The recommended improvements would help balance throughput traffic with local access, livability and downtown connectivity.
Some key recommendations:
- Upgrade the streetscape to indicate an urban environment with landscaping and other design finishes.
- Provide safe pedestrian crossings at all intersections and key mid-block “hot spots.”
- Improve access to transit and the Amtrak Station.
- Convert 4th and 5th Streets back to two-way circulation.
- Improve access to Whitman Park with on-street parking.