Mancos trustees talk traffic code

Speed limits should be dropped, marshal says

Mancos trustees discussed potential changes to speed limits along several roads in town, such as U.S. Highway 160, seen here. Enlargephoto

The Journal file

Mancos trustees discussed potential changes to speed limits along several roads in town, such as U.S. Highway 160, seen here.

Mancos officials discussed lowering the town’s speed limits at the Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.

Speed limits vary from 15-20 mph on town roads and go up to 45 mph on Colorado Department of Transportation roads such as the business loop and main stretch of U.S. Highway 160, according to town documents. Marshall Jason Spruell said at the meeting he would like to see the speeds lowered.

“I would like to see it dropped to 20 mph townwide,” he said.

Board members authorized a payment not to exceed $750 for engineering work from Durango firm SGM. Trustees Ed Hallam and Cindy Simpson were absent from the meeting.

In September, trustees directed town staff members to conduct a traffic study to gather data on driving speeds around town. SGM will review the data the town collected. The trustees will consider SGM’s analysis and make any change to the town’s traffic code they see fit.

Spruell reported that most drivers in town average speeds of 15-23 mph, even when the posted speed limit is higher than that. Town staff members think 20 mph is an appropriate townwide speed limit for all roads except those controlled by CDOT, according to town documents.

Spruell also said the speed limit should be lowered to 15 mph in the Mancos school zone along Grand Avenue, but he would need approval from the trustees to recommend the speed limit downgrade to CDOT. Grand Avenue, also known as the Highway 160 business loop, is controlled by the state.

Mayor Queenie Barz pointed out that some school zones in Cortez have enforced speed limits of 15 mph, such as along Montezuma Avenue by Kemper Elementary.

Trustees and town staff members also discussed stop signs in town. According to the town’s traffic code, stop signs should not be used to control driving speeds, Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said.

Staff members recommended the addition of stop signs at several intersections on the north side of town. They also recommended the removal of stop signs at several four-way stop intersections on the south side of town, along Bauer Avenue, Riverside Avenue and First Street.

Four-way stops can cause wear and tear to unpaved roads such as Bauer and Riverside, Spruell said. When cars must stop at almost every intersection, they can create an uneven surface on the road, he said. That creates more work for street department staff members, he said.

Phillips said some four-way stops may remain on those roads to keep drivers from going too fast.

“We don’t want it to be a drag race,” she said.

Also at the meeting, trustees discussed the town’s code enforcement process. Code enforcement is mostly driven by complaints from residents that are submitted to town hall, Phillips said.

Staff members are sent out to investigate the complaint, and if there is a violation they send the person two reminder letters 30 days apart, Phillips said. If the violation has not been taken care of after two letters, as many as three administrative citations may be issued with up to $499 in fines.

In 2016 there were 20 code investigations involving livestock, junk vehicles, trash, noise complaints and other issues, Phillips said. Only one citation was issued out of the 20 potential violations, she said.

Also at the meeting, Phillips reported that the proposed pedestrian crossing of U.S. Highway 160 at Beech Street is underway and the project is out to bid. The bids will be collected next week, she said.