Traffic analysis completed on Happy Canyon
by Terri Wiebold
A recent study prepared for Douglas County shines new light on travel between the Sedalia area and I-25. In February, the engineering firm of Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig presented its findings on the “Happy Canyon Road Travel Analysis,” which measured travel times for three routes that would provide connection between US 85 and I-25, as well as a License Plate Survey on Happy Canyon Road to determine the amount of through traffic.
“The interest in the study for the North Meadows Extension Project was specifically regarding the number of trips that would be added to the planned roadway [Atrium alignment] should that traffic not be allowed to use Happy Canyon any longer,” stated Town of Castle Rock Director of Public Works Bob Goebel. According to Goebel, the new roadway would be able to handle the added traffic. (Note: Goebel noted that the Happy Canyon traffic restriction issue is a County decision and is part of potential funding sources for the project.
Travel Time Analysis
The survey analyzed travel times from US 85 to I-25 via Happy Canyon Road, Daniels Park Road /Castle Pines Parkway, and the potential North Meadows Extension (including the connection from the Meadows subdivision to US 85 and I-25 – Atrium allignment).
The study found that currently the Daniels Park/Castle Pines Parkway route took from three to five minutes longer to travel than the Happy Canyon route. A projection of 2011 travel times (taking into consideration planned raodway improvements) indicated that the Daniels Park/Castle Pines Parkway route would still be around four to five minutes longer than the Happy Canyon route, while the new North Meadows Extension route would generally be about a minute to a minute and a half longer than the Happy Canyon route.
Further future projections into 2030 found the North Meadows Extnesion route would offer travel times that would be generally the same as the Happy Canyon Road route in the morning and off-peak periods, and about a minute to a minute and a half longer during the evening commute. The Castle Pines Parkwy route was still three to four minutes longer.
License Plate Survey
Additionally, the firm conducted a license plate survey at three locations on Happy Canyon Road to determine the volume of traffic using the road to connect between US 85 and I-25 (i.e. through traffic).
The data suggests that in the morning on Happy Canyon Road, approximately 45 percent (45%) of the traffic travelling to I-25 is from the Castle Pines area (local traffic), thirty percent (30%) is from US 85 north (Sedalia), and 25 percent (25%) is from US 85 south (Castle Rock). In the afternoon, approximately fifty-five percent (55%) of the traffic coming from I-25 was local traffic going to the Castle Pines area, thirty percent (30%) was headed to Castle Rock and the other areas to the south, and fifteen percent (15%) was headed to Sedalia and other areas to the north.
What does all this mean for local residents?
The research conducted is part of the information gathering process and could provide assistance to decision making entities involved.
Still underway are discussions with Union Pacific Railroad for relocation of tracks at the Atrium at-grade intersection and completion of the environmental assessment (EA).
According to Goebel, The EA is continuing to move forward. “The new alternative to the Atrium aligment will be presented at the open house. The final determination of the selected alignment will consider public comment from this upcoming meeting,” he stated. “US Fish and Wildlife is okay with this recommendation based on the Town’s and the County’s Habitat Conservation Plan, The US Army Corps of Engineers is okay with this recommendation with regard to wetlands, and the State Historic Preservation Office is reserving comment until such time as the impact of relocating the railroad on the historic nature of the existing rail bed is determined.”
The Town of Castle Rock is hosting a community meeting on April 2 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Castle View High School in Castle Rock to solicit citizen feedback. The format will be an open house with stations for people to peruse at their leisure. Staff will be available at each station to help answer questions, but there will not be a specific presentation. For a map to the High School go to www.castlepinesconnection.com/calendar and click on the April 2 event.
For more information regarding the North Meadows Extension project, go to www.castlepinesconnection.com “News” “The Year in Review” and search “North Meadows Alignment” or visit www.townofcastlerock.org “Tap Update.”