May 13 2013

The Transportation Lifeline: US Highway 24

Buena Vista, Colorado has struggled in recent years with US Highway 24 – the primary transportation connection to other towns and cities. Highway 24 is one of the most well-known transportation corridors in south-central Colorado; it runs horizontally across Colorado connecting the western part of Interstate 70 to the eastern part, bypassing Denver to the south. It overlaps US 285 and the eastern side of Interstate 70. Originally, the route ran from Michigan to Colorado as one of the first US interstate highways.

The struggle in Buena Vista comes from drawing travelers off the highway and into BV’s downtown corridor – Main Street. The lack of a complete wayfinding system is a major hindrance; current signage points away from the ‘core’ or original town lots, (See Wayfinding in Buena Vista). The one stoplight in town would be the only clue as to where the transportation circulation patterns veer from Highway 24 to Main Street. Highway 24 is also not conducive to safe walkability + bicycling. There are few crosswalks and pedestrian crossing signage along the in-town Highway 24 corridor; however, there are plans to incorporate more attention drawing techniques, such as flashing signage, pedestrian crossing islands, and medians throughout the corridor.

US Highway 24 cutting through Buena Vista, Colorado.

US Highway 24 cutting through Buena Vista, Colorado

Buena Vista has started the process to revamp the arterial corridor within town bounds; the project will be phased, but no specific design has been chosen thus far. Small towns throughout America are struggling economically, (more specifically those dependent on tourism revenue) to continually increase traffic pull into their other business districts to support local businesses. Buena Vista is no exception; US Highway 24 is vital to town liveliness and unsustainable as it stands now.

The intersection of Main Street and Highway 24 is the focal point of traffic circulation in Buena Vista.

The intersection of Main Street and Highway 24 is the focal
point of traffic circulation in Buena Vista

Does your town rely heavily on one gateway for traffic flow and circulation?

Credits: Image by Katie Poppel. Data linked to sources.

Katie Poppel

Katie Poppel comes to The Grid as a student constantly on the go. Set to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in 2014, she is studying for a bachelor of urban planning with focuses in urban design and sustainability. Her program has allowed her to work for the City of Chicago and the Congress for New Urbanism this past year, as well as study abroad at the University of Amsterdam, College of Social Sciences. In her free time, you can find her exploring cities, playing soccer, or skiing. She has a serious case of wanderlust and enjoys the rush of cities over the countryside. Katie writes from Colorado, as she interns for the small town of Buena Vista south of Denver.

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 13th, 2013 at 9:38 am and is filed under Infrastructure, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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