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Left-turn denial to remain at Sinton/Fillmore, but CDOT, city say they'll explore options

       Locals dismayed by the left-turn closure at Fillmore Street and Sinton Road did not walk away utterly empty-handed from a neighborhood meeting with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Feb. 18.
       Although CDOT engineers Mark Andrew and John Hall made it clear that because of safety concerns the left turn is not coming back, Andrew offered to work with
Speaking at the Feb. 18 neighborhood meeting at the Holiday Village mobile home park, Mark Andrew of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the project engineer for the new Fillmore/I-25 interchange, uses a video presentation to help explain the reasons for CDOT denying left turns from eastbound Fillmore Street onto Sinton Road. Standing behind him (in a white shirt) is John Hall, a CDOT resident engineer.
Westside Pioneer photo
the the city on alternatives and to hold another meeting in a month or two.
       “Maybe we can find a solution, but I don't see it now,” Andrew told about 75 people who came to the meeting in a community room at the Holiday Village mobile home park.
       CDOT is involved because the closure - implemented last October and finalized recently with the installation of concrete islands - is part of its Fillmore/I-25 interchange project. Sinton parallels I-25 just north of Fillmore (and south as well, but only as a long cul-de-sac with two non-retail businesses).
       Previously, people could turn left from eastbound Fillmore onto Sinton and vice versa.
       One possibility that arose at the meeting is broadening Fillmore's next intersection to the east (about 100 yards away), at Mark Dabling Boulevard. This would make it easier for an eastbound Fillmore driver to make a u-turn onto the westbound side, then go right on northbound Sinton.
       Andrew and Travis Easton, the City Public Works director (also at the meeting), said they would look into that. Currently, they agreed, Fillmore/Mark Dabling is too tight
This graphic, showing the diverging-diamond layout for the new Fillmore/I-25 interchange, was presented by the Colorado Department of Transportation at a March 2014 public meeting at the El Paso County Citizens Center. The overlay includes the right-in/right-out plan for Sinton Road north and south of Fillmore Street, which was recently implemented.
Courtesy of HDR Consulting and Colorado Department of Transportation
for u-turns, even for smaller cars. Easton said afterward he does not know if there is any public right of way around that intersection that would allow it to be expanded.
       Attending the meeting to listen to the information was City Councilmember Don Knight, whose District 1 includes the Sinton area.
       Many of the meeting attendees had been contacted by Rick Uribe, a Sinton Road business owner who organized the get-together. Uribe is one of several business owners along Sinton who claim that they have experienced significant losses because of the left-turn denial. Uribe has said that the traffic change actually affects 540 people who live along Sinton (including about 135 at Holiday Village) a mile or so north of Fillmore and more than 50 business owners there.
       Two other meeting speakers, both representing businesses, agreed with this point. One was a woman from the long-time truck stop off Sinton, just north of Fillmore. Because northbound I-25 truckers can no longer conveniently access her business from the Fillmore interchange, it may have to close, the woman said.
       Asked afterward about the truck-stop situation, Hall said CDOT is not considering buying out that property.
       Andrew said that because the Fillmore/Sinton intersection is just 200 feet east of the northbound I-25 off-ramp, it is well short of CDOT guidelines saying that no left-turn street access should be allowed less than 550 feet from a ramp.
       However, Uribe argued that CDOT and the city should make an exception because left turns have been allowed there since the old intersection was
A recently installed concrete island defines the new right-in/right-out layout for southbound traffic on Sinton Road coming up to Fillmore Street. This also prevents left turns onto Sinton from eastbound traffic on Fillmore. The changes are related to the Fillmore/I-25 interchange project.
Westside Pioneer photo
built in 1960 and business people and residents on Sinton north of Fillmore “have a right to access.”
       He suggested a stoplight, but CDOT is concerned that with such a short distance between lights (Sinton is between the light at the interchange and the one at Mark Dabling), traffic would back up across intersections, Andrew said.
       He proposed that people wanting to access Sinton addresses north of Fillmore instead get off at Garden of the Gods Road (the next interchange to the north), which has a connection to Sinton. This would only add about two minutes to the travel time, he said.
       But Uribe scoffed at that, quoting city accident data that Garden of the Gods Road and I-25 has far more wrecks per year than Sinton/Fillmore and asserting that such a circuitous route is too complicated for many of his customers to bother with.
       Uribe also argued that the city did not provide adequate notice of the Sinton plans before the project started. Andrew said CDOT informed the media of any public meetings. (This was true for the Westside Pioneer. See the Pioneer's advance article on CDOT's March 2014 Fillmore/I-25 open house).
       Adding to the Sinton people's frustration is the temporary closure of Chestnut Street between Vondelpark Drive and Ellston Street because of a sinkhole issue last August. Once Chestnut reopens (as expected in October), eastbound Fillmore motorists will be able to access northerly Sinton by taking Chestnut to Ellston.
       Some at the meeting seemed unaware of the progress of the city's Chestnut repair effort. Easton said the design is finished and the city will be seeking contractor bids in early March. But Uribe then asked Andrew if CDOT could take over the project, to which Andrew said it could but it would probably slow things down if the state got involved now.
       One proposal, which came up at a Holland Park neighborhood meeting in January, was for the city and state to allow the Sinton lefts at least until the Chestnut work is done. City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager told people at that meeting she would ask CDOT about it (although with “no guarantees”).
       Ted Tjerandsen of Wilson & Co., a consultant to CDOT, told the Pioneer Feb. 18 that no such request ever came in from the city. Easton said after the Holiday Village meeting he would follow up on the idea.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 2/20/16; Transportation: (Fillmore/I-25)

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