Store owner: CDOT left-turn denial at Fillmore/Sinton hurting businessUpdate, Feb. 18: The meeting that was scheduled for today (Feb. 18), then cancelled, is reportedly back on. No details as yet, except that the time and location are as reported in the original story below.
Update, Feb. 14: The meeting that was announced in the story below regarding the Sinton Road access from Fillmore Street has been cancelled by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). CDOT engineer John Hall of CDOT told Sinton Road businessman Rick Uribe in an e-mail Feb. 12 that he had not planned for a meeting with a "large group of people" (the original location having been just a CDOT field office). He expressed a willingness to set a meeting further in the future, but no new date has been scheduled.
Original story: Rick Uribe, a Sinton Road business owner, knew the Fillmore/I-25 interchange replacement was under way, but he says no one from the city or state told him about the element of the project that would affect him most: the elimination last November of left turns from eastbound Fillmore Street onto Sinton.
His first inkling came last November when he noticed a big drop in visitors to his antiques/collectibles store, Another Man's Treasure, at 3970 Sinton Road, about
Since then he has been trying to figure out what happened and how to get it changed back to the way it was.
As part of that effort, he has organized - with the cooperation of officials from City Public Works and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) - a meeting Thursday, Feb. 18 in the clubhouse at Holiday Village Senior Mobile Home Park, 3405 Sinton Road.
Uribe said that the traffic change affects 540 people who live along Sinton (including about 135 at Holiday Village) for about a mile north of Fillmore and more than 50 business owners there. Worsening the problem is Chestnut Street having been closed between Vondelpark Drive and Ellston Street since last August because of a massive sinkhole, with October the earliest city prediction for a reopening.
He's hoping that many of his Sinton residential/business neighbors will attend the meeting. A recent e-mail from John Hall, a CDOT resident engineer, implies that new information will be provided. “Since we last met, CDOT has completed some further analysis [and] would like to provide our analysis to you and discuss the site in more detail,” the e-mail reads.
According to contracted studies that led up to CDOT's final design decision for Fillmore/I-25, the Sinton/Fillmore traffic change has been in the works for at least five years. CDOT had the final say on that, but its decision was clearly influenced by a city recommendation to reconfigure Sinton at Fillmore with a right-in/right- out (RIRO) layout, eliminating left turns at the intersection.
For example, one CDOT study (in November 2013) refers to the city's 2011 “Fillmore Street Traffic Study and Corridor Analysis," which supports the state's premise that the RIRO change “is essential for safety and good operations due to the close spacing between the Sinton Road intersection and the northbound I-25 on/off ramps.”
Uribe disagrees. He has looked up the traffic history at that location and found that it is low on the accident list. With appropriate signage and better use of the
He's also not happy with the state's/city's suggestion that, as an alternative, eastbound drivers can make u-turns at the next street (Mark Dabling Boulevard) and come back to Sinton that way. He questions if there's room for that at Mark Dabling.
That perception is shared by Don Knight, his district councilmember. “Having driven the route myself, I can understand his concerns,” Knight said in an e-mail. “There is also a mobile home park on Sinton that has lost its bus route because of the construction.”
Another alternative in the state studies suggests taking Chestnut to Ellston to Sinton, estimating that would add about two minutes to the previous drive time. This detour is currently not possible because of the Chestnut sinkhole; in any case, Uribe said complex directions are a turn-off for potential customers. “Some of them I can guide on a cell phone, but the older ladies don't like that, and they just don't come.”
But what really irritates Uribe is the lack of communication. Although he has been at his location for 12 years, he and others he's talked to were not personally notified that the Sinton/Fillmore changes were in the works, he said. In fact, he added, he wasn't even on the mailing list for the CDOT/city public open house in March 2014 that displayed the Fillmore/I-25 project plans… including the Sinton aspects.
The Westside Pioneer is seeking details from the city regarding the notification policy in such cases and will post that information when it's provided.
One interim possibility - based on what City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager said at a Holland Park neighborhood meeting in late January - would be to allow the Sinton lefts until the Chestnut project is done. But she said at the time she'd have to clear that idea with CDOT - and so far nothing has come of it.
During his fight on the issue, Uribe has contacted various elected officials at the state and local level, including Councilmember Knight, who said he plans to be at the Feb. 18 meeting.
Westside Pioneer article