City seeks local control on Victory Way

Members of the Craig City Council say they think one possible solution to the growing number of traffic problems on W. Victory Way lies in more local control.

Several City Council and city staff members met Tuesday with Colorado Department of Transportation employees to discuss traffic flow and the increase in accidents along the state-managed highway. One potential solution offered by CDOT traffic engineers is that the city enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the state that would give the city control of where curb cuts are placed on a street.

Chris Nichols, owner of McDonald's in Craig asked at the March 26 Craig City Council meeting if anything could be done, and Tuesday's meeting was the first step in finding a solution, Mayor Dave DeRose said.

"The bottom line is that we didn't resolve anything, but we did get the ball rolling,"he said.

According to Nichols, there are 10 curb cuts in the one block between Ledford Street and Finley Lane. Studies show, Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said, that accidents increase 10 percent for every off-highway access on a block.

The issue on W. Victory Way is not the traffic flow, but the number of accesses and drivers ignoring signage, he said.

DeRose agreed.

"We're really used to just driving where we want to drive because we're a small community," he said.

CDOT employees suggested the city take over access control for all of U.S. Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 13. In that case, the City Council would have the power to approve or deny applications for curb cuts along those stretches of road.

"That would help us squelch some of the real and perceived problems with traffic in this area and others," DeRose said. "I couldn't see any downside of us being taking over access control."

If the city controls access, it would become part of the site review process when a business submits its applications, City Building Inspector Dave Costa said. It would require the modification of some city ordinances to develop a plan and to set minimum standards. A group of city officials and representatives from affected businesses will meet again May 2 to continue discussing the issue.

Several other alternatives were considered, including closing the existing accesses to McDonald's and Pizza Hut and routing traffic through the Kmart parking lot. Derek Zuver, Kmart manager, said the store would be willing to work with the public on that idea. Another suggestion included closing the access to the mall immediately in front of Safeway or put "pork chop" medians in at some of the access points that would restrict exiting traffic to right turns only.

CDOT will not place a stop light on W. Victory Way between Ledford Street and Finley Lane.

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