Montrose businesses at odds with proposed roundabout

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO) - The City of Montrose says it has been working for nearly a year to fix traffic problems along the major roads near the downtown area -- and a piece of their proposed solution has some downtown businesses upset.

For more than 40 years, Budgetline Furniture & Appliances has stood at the corner of South 1st and Cascade. But store employee Ed Moreland says he's worried that might not be the case for much longer.

"It basically, I think, could possibly put us out of business," says Moreland.

He's talking about the city's proposal to replace the four-way intersection at South 1st and Cascade with a roundabout -- a move the store says will eliminate eight of its 12 parking spots and create problems for their and their suppliers' delivery trucks.

"It would probably be at least 50 to 75 feet to carry everything to our store," says Moreland.

The City of Montrose says the plan was never intended to create problems. "We're certainly looking to minimize the impacts to those people," says Jason Ullmann, city engineer for the City of Montrose.

The plan was to fix them. The City says traffic near the downtown area gets very backed up at certain points during the day. Officials point to several reasons for the delays: people are driving through downtown to access Highway 50, having to get through three traffic lights along Townsend from South 1st Street to North 1st Street, and waiting for long periods of time to turn left onto Townsend from downtown streets.

To alleviate the congestion, the City plans to move the traffic lights from North 1st and South 1st to North 2nd and South 2nd, and block off South 1st at Townsend. In doing that, they believe it will push a lot of that traffic onto Cascade as people try to access the downtown shops, City and County Offices, and the Post Office.

"The decision was made that we would need to make some improvements on Cascade so that we don't move a problem from one area to another," says Ullmann.

City engineers say they felt a roundabout, rather than a four way stop, would be the best way to keep that traffic flowing. Officials say they do realize the project will result in lost parking spaces, and they're working with impacted businesses to address their concerns.

"Our consultant is currently looking at making some changes to those plans to try to accommodate some of the comments," says Ullmann.

Budgetline employees say they hope that's the case.

"If [customers] can't come conveniently to your business, they're going to go elsewhere," says Moreland.

City officials say they will present their revised plans some time in January. They hope to begin construction on the project by next summer.

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