July 14th, 2013 11:01 PM by Taydus Taydus
SUPERIOR -- Motorists on McCaslin Boulevard be warned: Your style is about to get crimped.
The 45-mph freestyle cruise through Superior -- from Colorado 128 to Rock Creek Parkway -- is about to shrink, as work gets set to begin on the installation of a new traffic signal at High Plains Drive.
The new light, which should be operational by December, is designed to give residents of the Ridge subdivision an easier turn onto McCaslin Boulevard while providing pedestrians from the neighborhood a safe way across a fast-moving highway that some consider to be a potential death trap.
"It's a wide crossing, it's a speed of 45 mph," said Roger Wilson, who has lived in the Ridge for eight years. "For the people crossing that road at night, it's an even hairier job."
Residents today have to hop over a guardrail or walk along the shoulder for a short distance to join up with the Rock Creek Trail system on the other side of McCaslin Boulevard, a particularly risky proposition for older residents, kids or mothers pushing strollers.
"The pedestrian issue was the driving force behind this," Wilson said.
Installing a traffic signal there is a matter of fairness, he said, given that the 70-home Ridge neighborhood is an enclave separated from the rest of town by McCaslin Boulevard.
"We've been paying our taxes all along but we've been isolated from the extensive trail system in Rock Creek," Wilson said. "And now with all the trails on the west side of McCaslin Boulevard, it makes sense to give the rest of Superior safe access to this side of the road, too."
Alex Ariniello, Superior's public works and utilities director, said the $300,000 project will begin next month with trail improvements on the east side of McCaslin Boulevard and the addition of an access point through the guardrail. The traffic signal equipment itself will be delivered in the fall, he said.
Ariniello said every effort is being made to keep disruptions to north-south flowing traffic on McCaslin Boulevard to a minimum, with the town using sophisticated sensor and timing devices that will keep traffic on the arterial as free-flowing as possible. The green light for northbound motorists exiting the Ridge neighborhood will only activate for eight to 10 seconds -- enough time for a left turn -- and will not be triggered for those taking a right onto southbound McCaslin.
Additionally, drivers on southbound McCaslin Boulevard approaching the intersection will see a warning sign that flashes whenever the light at High Plains Drive has turned red or is about to turn red, allowing cars time to slow down. Ariniello said 12,000 vehicles a day pass High Plains Drive on McCaslin Boulevard, while around 500 vehicles a day enter and exit the neighborhood.
"The possibility for a very severe accident is there right now, so we're trading off convenience on McCaslin for safety," Ariniello said.
Joslin Letourneau, a one-year resident of the Ridge, said she looks forward to the traffic light going in at the bottom of the hill.
"During rush hour, it gets pretty busy and a light there would be very helpful," she said.
As for motorists who will now have to pay closer attention and possibly halt their forward progress as they sail up and down McCaslin Boulevard, Wilson said that's not asking too much.
"If someone is operating on autopilot, they're not doing their job driving," he said.
This map shows where a new traffic signal is planned to improve safety at High Plains Drive and McCaslin Boulevard in Superior.Artical originally printed in the Daily Camera on 7/14/13