If you think navigating the busy Sixth Avenue and Heritage Road intersection at rush hour is a headache in a car, try doing so on foot — or a bike. That’s the message many Golden residents have …
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If you think navigating the busy Sixth Avenue and Heritage Road intersection at rush hour is a headache in a car, try doing so on foot — or a bike.
That’s the message many Golden residents have repeatedly given to city officials as they make plans to redo the treacherous intersection.
Now, the officials involved in the project are saying walkers and bicyclists won’t have to share that stretch of road with swarms of cars for much longer as plans are now calling for pedestrian and bike traffic to be completely separated from car traffic in the rebuilt interchange. The only question that now remains is just how that separation will look and function.
On June 10, represents from Golden Public Works and the Muller Engineering firm the city has hired to design a new and improved interchange led a public meeting at which they tried to get at that question. During the meeting, they presented three possible options for how bikes and pedestrians could be separated from vehicle traffic.
Mueller Engineering engineer Nancy Lambertson said all three concepts could work with any of the four interchange designs (since narrowed down to two) presented at a meeting in February.
Here is a look at the three concepts and the feedback received during the meeting.
Concept 1: A bridge stack
This concept calls for the sidewalks along both sides of Heritage Road west of US 6 to lead into ramps that feed into an elevated promenade that will be raised about 22 feet above Heritage Road. Lambertson said the bridge is being called a promenade because it would feature “overlooks, plazas or other places where people can just stop and be in Golden.”
On the east side similar ramps would tie into the Sixth Avenue regional trail and the sidewalks offering access to the Jefferson County government center and points east.
Advantages of this design include that all crossings are grade separated and the possibility for “amazing views” from the promenade. Disadvantages include the need for long steep sidewalk connections on the north side and the need for more uphill climbing to the bridge, which could be a challenge to ADA accessibility.
Concept 2: Offset bridge
This concept calls for a separate bridge structure to be built on the same grade as the US 6 car interchange just to its north. Sidewalks on the north side of Heritage Road and Jefferson County Parkway would lead onto a ramp leading onto the bridge, which could also incorporate a plaza on the courthouse side.
Advantages of this design would include the use of simpler structural elements than the stacked bridge, a straight regional trail alignment with “clear through movements” and opportunities for amazing views from the promenade. Downsides would include the need for pedestrians on the south side of Heritage Road to cross to the north side at either Golden Ride or Illinois Street.
Concept 3: Under Heritage and ramps with offset lid
Rather than using a bridge structure, this design calls for the creation of a second “lid” over US 6. The idea is for the sidewalk to pass under the vehicle ramps that will lead between US 6 and Heritage Road by passing through underpasses that will lead onto the lid and allow for vehicle, auto and pedestrian traffic to travel at the same grade.
Positives of this design include flatter slopes for pedestrians and bikes than the other two and the opportunity for amenities to be added to the lid. Possible challenges include that Heritage Road would need to be raised from its current grade to allow the underpasses and the possibility that wildlife could be attracted to using the crossing (although a separate wildlife-specific crossing is also being planned nearby.
At the end of the presentation, participants were asked to pick their favorite alternative with the “Under Heritage and ramps with offset lid” option garnering the most support. That option was followed in popularity by the offset bridge and stacked bridge alternatives.
The city did not display how many votes each option received. However, about 5o members of the public participated in the meeting.
Golden Director of Public Works said the city will continue to solicit feedback on the three designs online. A meeting will then be scheduled for later this summer where the city will present a more finalized design for both the vehicular and cyclist/pedestrian portions of the project and seek final feedback on that.
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