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Safe Routes to School funding to support improvements around Summit Cove Elementary; summer 2016 roadwork now ramping up
Contacts:Tom Gosiorowski, Road & Bridge Director: 970-668-4231, firstname.lastname@example.orgThad Noll, Assistant County Manager: 970-453-3438, email@example.comKate Berg, Senior Planner: 970-668-4204, firstname.lastname@example.org
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation has awarded Summit County a $350,000 Safe Routes to School grant to help fund bicycle/pedestrian lanes and sidewalk connections within the Summit Cove Elementary school zone. The improvements, slated for construction in summer 2017, are a subset of the larger, multiyear Summit Cove Loop Project, which is improving bicycle/pedestrian safety and road conditions throughout the neighborhood.
Summit County partnered with Summit School District to apply for the Safe Routes to School grant, which will fund 80 percent of the project cost for the school-zone improvements. Summit County is funding the remaining 20 percent, in addition to the costs associated with improvements outside the school zone.
“The safety of our kids getting to and from school is just as critical as their safety on school grounds,” Summit Cove Elementary School Principal Crystal Miller said. “We are extremely pleased to receive this grant from the CDOT Transportation Commission, and we’re grateful to all of our partners at Summit County. This project will be a huge benefit to our students.”
Colorado Safe Routes to School supports projects that make walking and bicycling to school safer and more accessible to children. CDOT distributes the funds through a highly competitive process; applications are evaluated by a committee of educators, parents, bicyclists, pedestrians, law enforcement experts and transportation planners. The Summit Cove project was ranked No. 1 among all 2016 applications statewide.
“We extend our sincere thanks to CDOT in recognizing what a tremendous difference this project will make in the daily lives of Summit Cove residents,” County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. “We fully expect that this project will result in more students walking and biking to school, more parents sharing in those activities with their children and an overall improvement in the quality of life in the Summit Cove neighborhood.”
Improvements slated for the school zone include 4-foot-wide bicycle/pedestrian lanes on Cove Boulevard, installation of parallel-parking spaces for student pickup and dropoff, sidewalk accessibility improvements for people with disabilities and reconfiguration of traffic flows to reduce conflicts among bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles. A portion of the Safe Routes to School funding will be used for an in-school educational program encouraging students and parents to walk and bike to school.
Summit Cove Elementary School is located near the back of Summit Cove, one of Summit County’s largest residential neighborhoods, totaling about 1,330 homes and 1,600 residents. About 74 percent (214 students) of the student population lives within 1 mile of the school, presenting a strong opportunity for walking and biking. However, because of the existing road conditions, Summit Cove Elementary is the only elementary school in the district that buses students living less than one-half mile from school.
Cove Boulevard is a wide road with no striping, sidewalks or designated bicycle-pedestrian lanes. As a result, heavy traffic and relatively high vehicles speeds create risks for walkers and bikers. Traffic counts from 2014 found 2,403 average daily vehicle trips at the Dylan Court – Cove Boulevard intersection. Of those, an average 240 vehicles per day were clocked speeding through the school zone, mostly during student dropoff and pickup times.
The larger Summit Cove Loop Project is currently in its second of multiple construction phases. Through the project, Summit County is installing bicycle/pedestrian lanes along a 2.4-mile loop of roadway that runs through the neighborhood. The project also includes repairs, resurfacing and drainage improvements on adjacent residential roads that connect to the loop. Phase 1, completed in summer 2015, included the installation of bicycle-pedestrian lanes along Summit Drive and resurfacing of five side roads.
Phase 2 construction, which began the week of May 9, includes a widening of the Soda Creek causeway on Cove Boulevard, near the intersection with Royal Coachman, to create more room for bicyclists and pedestrians. The causeway widening this summer will set the stage for the installation of bicycle/pedestrian lanes on Cove Boulevard in 2017. Road maintenance and resurfacing will take place this summer on Gingerquill Court, Soda Creek Court, Landon Lane and Whispering Pines Ranch Road. Construction activity is expected to last through mid-October, with occasional minor traffic delays and detours.
Goals of the Summit Cove Elementary School Zone ImprovementsIncrease the number of children walking and biking to schoolIncrease parents’ confidence in children walking and biking to schoolIncrease the number of parents walking and biking to school with their childrenReduce the number of parents driving their children to school and associated traffic and congestion and vehicle emissionsCreate a safer roadway environment in the vicinity of Summit Cove Elementary
For more information about the Summit Cove Loop Project, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/SummitCoveLoop.